By Tony Edike
ENUGU – THE pan Igbo socio-cultural organization and 16 pan Igbo organizations across the globe have concluded arrangements to hold the first international colloquium on Igbo question in Nigeria where the enormous challenges confronting the ethnic group both in the country and in the contemporary world would be extensively discussed.
The three-day event holding in Enugu from March 11, was conceived to address the absence of internal cohesion within the Igbo nation, lack of national focus, as well as the future and survival of Ndigbo.
Briefing newsmen in Enugu, Chairman, Planning Committee of the Colloquium, Prof Uzodinma Nwala, said that the event would examine the historical roots of contemporary Igbo predicament over which all and sundry in Igbo land have groaned year after year.
He said that the forum would consider the impact of the Biafra experience on the Igbo nation presently, as well as provide a platform for Igbo intelligentsia to commune collectively over the economic, political and socio-cultural challenges facing the Igbo nation both in Nigeria and in the world.
Nwala said, “it will examine ways and means of overcoming the contemporary Igbo predicament so that her citizens can live a life of dignity, co-exist and at peace with their neighbor, capable of protecting their collective and individual interests, apply their God -given talents and endowments for the betterment of themselves and the entire human race, do honour to the spirits of their ancestors and their God without let or hindrance.”
Speaking on the theme: “Igbo question in Nigeria; Before, During and After Biafra’, Nwala said that with the emergence of Islamic insurgencies in Nigeria and the campaign to Islamise Nigeria, the Igbo have been the major victims in the Boko Haram attacks on churches, markets, motor parks and other public institutions.
He added, “The economic derivations of Igbo citizens and region have given rise to kidnappings and other social vices which compound the economic and social problems in the region. What is referred to Igbo question in Nigeria is about the cumulative horrendous experiences of the Igbo nation and the present ‘second class’ status for her membership of the Nigerian federation.
“The Igbo nation incurred the wrath of the British colonial authorities because her citizens led the struggle for emancipation of Nigeria from colonial rule.
“There is acute feeling of loss of self-confidence and national pride among the Igbo. This is aggravated mainly by the Biafran experience and the continued peripheral role of the Igbo nation in the scheme of things in Nigeria.”
Professor Nwala said that the event would be chaired by Prof. Chukwudi Okonjo, while eminent Igbos including Prof. Barth Nnaji, Oby Ezekwesili, Kalu Idika Kalu, Eddie Iroh, Prof. Peter Ejiofor, Ralph Obioha, Prof. Nolue Emenajo, Sam Ohuabunwa, Mark Odu and Dozie Ikedife among others will address participants.