By Anayo Okoli
UMUAHIA—FOR three days, October 27th – 30th, 2016, prominent Igbo leaders gathered at the serene Gregory University located in the sleepy Uturu community, Abia State, to discuss ways to re-position Igbo Nation in Nigeria.
The gathering tagged World Igbo Summit attracted Igbo leaders from across the core five South East Igbo States of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo as well as Igbos from Delta and Rivers States.
With the theme “Igboka–Visioning the Igbo Nation in 2066”, the aim of the summit, according to the conveners was to reassert Ndigbo as “a supreme race, a unique people, an autochthonous race and a great people of destiny whom God imbued with the manifest destiny of becoming the pride of the black race through her ingenuity, industry, dispersion, resourcefulness, creativity, hard work, honesty, perseverance and fear of God”. Simply put the Jews of Nigeria.
The organizers also said that the summit was organized “to bring together the great minds of Ala-Igbo from across the globe to dialogue and give Igbo nation a strategic roadmap for growth and development going forward. The Summit heralded a 50-year Visioning Project initiated to strategize, document and design a roadmap for the sustainable development of Igbo nation to catalyze wealth repatriation and reinvestment in Igbo land by all Igbo sons and daughters in all parts of the world”.
Among those who attended the summit Co-chaired by General Ike Nwachukwu, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Col. Joe Achuzia, Chief Francis Oji and Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, were the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, Eze Eberechi Dick, chairman South East Council of monarchs and several other monarchs; Prof. Joe Irukwu, Prof. George Obiozor, Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Joe Nworgu, Prof. Ihechukwu Madubuike, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, Prof. Epiphany Azinge, Prof. Pat Utomi, Dr. Greg Ibe, Iyom Josephine Anenih, Chief Simon Okeke, Dr. Ifedi Okwenna, Prof. Maurice Iwu, and many other Igbo great intellectuals, professionals, businessmen, Civil society activists, gender advocates and other experts of Igbo extraction residing in different parts of the world.
After 3 days deliberations, the summit agreed among other things that Ndigbo have made the biggest sacrifice and contributions to the building of the modern Nigeria and insisted therefore, that henceforth, Ndigbo would work for a Nation where the Igbo are respected and allowed to live and operate as equal citizens without any discrimination, bias or intimidation.
The summit also demanded that the 1999 Constitution be repealed and a new one enacted which would recognize the inalienable right of each constituent group to self-determination and Regional autonomy as enshrined in the 1960 Independence Constitution and 1963 Republican Constitution and further called for the implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference report which they said would “enhance the unity, peace and stability of the country”.
Noting that waiting for Government alone would not solve the problem of development in Igbo land; the summit resolved that Ndigbo should take full responsibility of rebuilding the economy of the Igbo Nation and hereby shall adopt the digital economy as the organizing paradigm and implementation framework for the sustainable development of Alaigbo.
Igbo Leaders during the summit also discussed the destructive activities of herdsmen in Igbo land and condemned the threat by the Fulani herdsmen which constitute present and imminent danger to peace and security in Igbo land and therefore called on the Igbo Governors and the States Assemblies to immediately legislate against any form of open grazing in Igbo land. They called for the prohibition of nomadic grazing by herdsmen as well as establishment of grazing reserves and ranches with public funds and urged the National Assembly to oppose the grazing bill in both chambers.
On the issue of Biafra, the Summit said that Biafran agitation is not a threat to national security and called for the release of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu and others. “The Biafran spirit is the Igbo spirit of enterprise, hard work and excellence that seeks for justice, equity, and fairness for all. The current agitations are a cry for justice for Ndigbo. Thus the Biafran agitation is not a threat to national security. We therefore urge the Federal Government to release Nnamdi Kanu and all other prisoners of conscience in line with the rule of law”.
The summit also resolved that henceforth Igbo Political leadership (elected and appointed) must act in the best interest of Ndiigbo and be prepared to be held accountable by the people for all their actions and inactions and equally resolved to recognize the contributions of the NdiIgbo in the DIASPORA-Africa, Europe, the Americas, Asia etc. to the achievement of our vision and committed to sharing their aspirations and challenges and we encourage them to think home and invest home.
The Summit commended Chancellor and Management of Gregory University Uturu for their commitment to the reengineering of Igbo growth and development through her Igbo Renaissance Center.