January 3, 2018

Battle facing Igbo nation requires diplomacy, not gun, street protests – Nwodo, others

Battle facing Igbo nation requires diplomacy, not gun, street protests – Nwodo, others

President Buhari conferred with the title of Ochioha NdiIgbo 1 by South East traditional council of rulers led by Eze Eberechi Dick during his visit to Ebonyi State on 14th Nov 2017

By Vincent Ujumadu
Awka- NOTABLE Igbo people, including the President General of the apex Igbo socio –political organization, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, former coordinator of Ohaneze chairmen in the seven Igbo speaking states, Dr. Chris Eluemunoh and others, have again reminded Igbo that the battle facing them in Nigeria required application of diplomacy and not through gun or by protesting on the streets.

They spoke at the 2018 Igbo International Leadership and Good Governance Retreat organized by the World Igbo Leadership Council and the World Igbo Information and Communication Network at Abagana in Njikoka local government area of Anambra State.

The Abagana event, which was third in the series, was attended by renowned Igbo scholars from Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers states. It was hosted by the president of World Igbo Assembly, Dr. Nwachukwu Anakwenze, who is the traditional prime minister of Abagana.

The first retreat was hosted at Ibusa, Delta State by Professor Pat Utomi in 2016, while the second was hosted by Professor Ogbonnaya Onu last year at Uburu in Ebonyi State.

Nwodo, who commended the organizers of the annual retreat, said though it was not in doubt that Igbo were facing large scale marginalization in Nigeria, the way to overcome it was not through fighting another war requiring killing of people at the war fronts, but by adopting peaceful means and dialogue with the opposition.

He cited the issue of states and local governments creation in Nigeria in which, he observed, Igbo were grossly shortchanged, noting that such anomalies could only be corrected through dialogue and making other Nigerians to see the need for equity and justice in the Nigeria project.

He said: “The military created states and local governments and gave the North the highest numbers, not because our population was smallest, but just part of the marginalization. But we should be patient and continue to do what we have already started, knowing that the battle is no longer the type that will be fought with guns, but using intelligence.

“We have suffered so much and that is why we should apply diplomacy. One of such diplomatic moves is the planned handshake across the Niger in which Igbo leaders will be dialoguing with Yoruba leaders in Enugu in the coming week.”

Former president of Onaneze in Anambra State, Eluemunor, in his address said that as someone who fought in the Nigeria –Biafra war, he would not like another generation of Igbo to experience such war, adding that what the people should be fighting for is the restructuring of Nigeria in such a way that everybody would be happy.

According to Eluemunor, Ohaneze had nothing against the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, but was not comfortable with its approach to the issue of Biafra, recalling that the leadership of Ohaneze invited IPOB leader on several occasions for dialogue, but he failed to use his brain and rather resorted to insulting everybody.

He said: “What the Igbo people want is restructuring because if you restructure properly, it is as good as being independent in your country. You cannot declare independent in an enemy territory and expect him to allow you to go just like that.

“What Ohaneze is saying is that it is restructuring that will give us what we want. Our people are doing business in all parts of the country and in a restructured Nigeria, Igbo will have a good base. We learnt our lessons during and after the civil war and we would not like our people to make another mistake.”

Special adviser to the Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State on Igbo affairs, Professor J. I.Okonkwo said Igbo have so much to do to get to their desired destination.

“We embrace education, but we lack knowledge. We are not following the right steps that will help our cause and until we do that, we will continue to complain in Nigeria,” he said.