By Dennis Agbo
ENUGU—A former Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Richard Ozobu has said that the Igbo are not restricting allies, but are making friendships across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, through their Handshake Across the Niger conference.
Speaking during an interview with Vanguard, Ozobu said that many handshakes between the Igbo and the Yoruba nationalities had taken place in the past, starting from the Nnamdi Azikwe era to Justice Eze Ozobu as President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
He further recalled that even handshakes from the Igbo across Benue and the Arewa had also taken place in the recent times, all in a bid for the Igbo to express their appreciation of a united Nigeria.
Ozobu who picked holes in the January 11, 2018 Handshake Across the Niger parley in Enugu, said that in as much as the event was laudable, the Igbo were not very prepared for the meeting.
He wondered how the former minister for Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode could have received loud ovation in Enugu despite his insult on Ndigbo not long ago.
According to Ozobu, the agenda for the handshake was supposed to have been tabled before the Imeobi-Ohanaeze, which he said is the Igbo Senate, prior to the Enugu parley.
“In that instance, the Igbo would have been more prepared to make more tangible contributions, reflecting on history to understand what is missing in the present time.
“The Igbo handshakes of today is federating across the six geopolitical zones of the country and not just between the Igbo and Yoruba,” Ozobu noted.
The Ohanaeze chieftain claimed that no such discussion held among members of Imeobi Ohanaeze and urged the leadership of the apex Igbo body to always make adequate consultations before taking Ndigbo into strategic thinking.
He also said the Fulani herdsmen menace had become a national embarrassment, which deserves urgent attention to checkmate the growing killings in the country.
Ozobu suggested that both chambers of the national assembly and all the political appointees, particularly the ministers should be involved in resolving the Fulani impasse.
He described as a wrong trend, the rampant budgetary allocations across states and Federal governments where 85 per cent of the annual budgets were devoted to recurrent expenditures and 15 per cent for capital expenditure.