By Vincent UJUMADU, Awka
PRESIDENTâ€“General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Ralph Uwechue said yesterday in Awka that Igbos have not enjoyed better understanding and demonstrable appreciation from their fellow Nigerians on their role as nation builders and committed custodians of Nigerian unity despite their rich sacrifices to the growth of the country.
In a paper titled â€œThe Role of Ndigbo in Nigeriaâ€™s Socio-political and Economic Developmentâ€ at the 2010 Faculty of Arts conference of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Uwechue observed that Igbos have given a great deal and are still giving, for the sustenance of the Nigeria project, adding that they deserve better treatment than they are getting.
â€œIgbos played and are still playing a leading role in the promotion of national integration. Today, there are several millions of Igbo people living, working and helping to develop significantly parts of Nigeria outside Igboland. They are in remote villages and towns nationwide and in commercial cities which shows their belief and commitment to Pan â€“Nigerian nationhood. For the Igbos, anywhere in Nigeria is home.”
â€œSometimes, too much is being simplistically made of the random appointment of talented Igbo technocrats to high profile positions, where demonstrable competence is usually required to tackle certain specific and difficult national tasks.
What has been critically absent for decades and still missing today, is fair and effective Igbo participation in the national decision â€“making process, which is entirely political.
â€œIt is therefore clear that since the British colonial administration put together this vast country, the evident role of Igbo people in the political, economic and social history of Nigeria has been that of bridge builders and nation builders. The Igbo political role in Nigeria has been consistent in the pursuit of national unity and inter â€“ethnic cooperation,â€ Uwechue said.
He observed that despite the contributions of the Igbos to national unity, there is the feeling that, as a people, Igbos are deliberately being sidelined, especially in the sphere of political leadership of the country, regretting that no Igbo person has been deemed suitable to be put at the helm of affairs at the apex management position in Nigeria.