By Charles Kumolu
THE place of the Igbo race in the present dispensation was yesterday bemoaned by prominent Nigerians of Igbo extraction, with the consensus that the Igbo were being unfairly treated in Nigeria.
They also urged the South East people to desist from lamenting over what was described as their plight in the socio-political configuration of the country, noting that it was important they focused on their areas of strength.
These positions were taken in Lagos by most leaders of the Igbo nation at the public presentation of a book entitled: The Land of My Birth which was authored by a legal practitioner, Mr. Abraham Nnadi.
Those at the event include a former Chief of General Staff(Vice President in the military era) Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, retd; ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia; Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu,retd; founding Chairman of Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Prof Anya Anya; former President of Nigerian Bar Association,NBA, Chief Olisa Agbakoba; Chief Alex Oti; Prof Pat Utomi, and Ms Onyeka Onwenu among others.
At the forum, it was unanimously stated that Nigeria was overdue for restructuring in order to put an end to the alleged marginalisation of most ethnic groupings in the country.
In his remarks, Ukiwe said: ‘’Igbo people are great people, it is unfortunate that they are being hated. But I am urging them to stop lamenting. This is not the time for lamentation. Igbo people should get up and move on because hatred is not always a bad thing. Ndigbo have good manners. Let them practice good manners and move on. We are not known for being idle. Igbo people will succeed in this country.”
On his part, Anya said: ‘’Ndigbo should stop lamenting over their position in the country. Nigeria needs restructuring. Ndigbo should assist in building the reputation of Nigeria by being united. It is only with unity that Ndigbo would achieve their goals in Nigeria. But Ndigbo must stop the habit of lamentation.”
Also speaking, Onwenu said: ‘’Ndigbo have done well despite the civil war. We like to work hard. At the end of the war, we had nothing but we are everywhere today. That shows that we would have done well with Biafra. Biafra was producing and refining petroleum and weapons. But since the war ended, none of them were sustained by the Federal Government.
The government destroyed the capacity of the Igbo people to produce the things they were producing then. We lost everything and the Igbo were downgraded. Igbo women are also being downgraded. You can never waste money training a girl. Igbo women should stand tall in their Igboness. We have Igbo women who are holding political positions but when they contest for positions, they find it difficult excelling. I contested for local government chairmanship for eight years but never won because I was not supported.”