By Tony Edike, Enugu
Concerned Igbo Leaders of Thought led by eminent constitutional lawyer, Prof Ben Nwabueze rose from their fourth meeting in Enugu yesterday, re-affirming their position that representation to the proposed national conference be based on ethnic nationalities.
The leaders expressed happiness that their position, which is contrary to the recommendations of the Senator Femi Okurounmu-led Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC), is enjoying the support of other interest and regional groups.
The fourth assembly of the Igbo leaders witnessed even more prominent Igbos in attendance, including former Central Bank Governor (CBN), Prof. Charles Soludo, a Biafran war veteran Col. Emma Nwobosi, Prof. Felix Oragwu, Chief H.B.C. Ogboko, HRH Prof Vincent Chukwuemeka Ike and Engr. Obi Thomson of World Igbo Congress, USA.
Also, present at the meeting were Prof. Uche Azikiwe, Prof. Ben Obumselu, Arc Bishop Anikwenwa, Prince Emeka Onyeso, Sen Anyim Ude, Sen Offia Nwali, Prof Nwabueze, Prof. Enechi Onyia, Dr. Chu S. P Okongwu among others.
Briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, the secretary of the group, Prof Elochukwu Amaucheazi said, they hold and will continue to hold in high esteem, President Goodluck Jonathan.
”He will go down in history as really the founder of modern Nigeria if the national conference works out very well.
”So far, we have been concerned with modalities about the national conference. If he gets it right, every other thing will follow.
”If you look at the papers, you will find that South Peoples Assembly headed by Ekwueme, Arc Bishop Gbonigi and Chief Edwin Clerk, has endorsed the views of Igbo Leaders of Thought. The Middle Belt under Prof Jerry Gana has endorsed our position. The Yorubas, Odumakins and the rest of them are all saying the same thing.
”We want a national conference of ethnic nationalities that will produce a new constitution which will be approved by the people through a referendum.
We are not in competition with any person. These are the things Ndigbo stand out for. So, it is surprising that with all these endorsements, you’ll find somebody, who has criticized this. The Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, said it clearly that they don’t want this conference. They are all frightened about Prof Nwabueze. They believe that once he is there and can convince the President and Nigerians that what we want is renegotiated Nigeria, they will lose out.
”It is surprising if you look at the papers where Ohanaeze now described Prof. Nwabueze as misguided and totally wrong. Can you imagine this? That is what is written by Ohanaeze, their Publicity Secretary when others are endorsing our position”.
Amaucheazi maintained that the present leadership of Ohanaeze is illegal but his group will not like to join issues with anybody at this moment.