By Luminous Jannamike – Abuja
Apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has said the commitment of late Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd) to the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, struggle demonstrates his desire for fairness, justice and a return to true federalism in Nigeria.
Kanu, who was former military governor of Imo and Lagos States between 1977 and 1979, died on January 13, 2021 at the age of 77.
On a night of tribute organised by Pan-Igbo Movement Initiative (PIMI) to celebrate late Kanu’s life and legacies in Abuja weekend, the Secretary-General, Ime Obi caucus of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. Charles Nwekeaku, commended his contributions to Nigeria’s democracy.
He, therefore, said that electing an Igbo President in 2023 will fulfill Kanu’s last wish for Nigeria.
Nwekeaku said, “Today, if Kanu were to be alive, what would be his desire? He fought for MKO Abiola’s mandate to be reactivated because he believed in equity, justice and fairness. That is why he also believed in the restoration of fiscal federalism in Nigeria, part of which is what Ndigbo is clamouring for today.
“As a believer in equity, justice and fairness, Ndubuisi Kanu would have said that the next president of Nigeria should come from the South-East.
“So, the lessons we are taking from this gathering is to see how to expand the frontiers of the struggles and legacies he left behind. That is why we have been saying, without mincing words, that come 2023, the ideals of Ndubuisi Kanu and his likes must be reinstated.
“It should be the turn of Ndigbo to produce the president irrespective of the political party. If he (Kanu) were alive, that is exactly what he would have wished for. Continuing the fight for justice, fairness and equity not arrogantly, but with strategy, calculation and wisdom will make him happy wherever he is.”
Similarly, other dignitaries from different walks of life across the country, who attended the event, heaped praises on late Rear Admiral, Ndubuisi Kanu.
They include the Minister of Science, Technology, and innovation, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu; erstwhile Director of Planning, Defence Headquarters, Rear Admiral Victor Adedipe (rtd); former Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika (rtd), Dr Ejike Orji, Senator Emma Nwaka, amongst many others.
In his tribute, Onu described him as a great Nigerian who did great things for the nation.
According to him, Kanu was a very intelligent man who always distinguished himself through his character, good moral disposition, and personal principles.
“What is special about him (Kanu) is that many intelligent people very often are seen to be arrogant, but the late Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu was so humble. He loved excellence and wherever he found excellence, he stood by it. He was a man of character,” the Minister said.
He, therefore, called for the reorientation of the youths to emulate his life and values.
Onu added, “It was important that a man like late Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu’s life history should be made known all over the country, because we want our younger people to know that character, good behaviour, standing on principles are very important and can make a lot of difference.
“Our nation, at independence, the whole world said Nigeria was going to be one of the greatest nations on earth. But there are certain values that made our fathers very great. Regrettably, those values are no more taken as seriously as they were in the past. Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu represents those values. These are the values we need to inculcate in our young people and they will lay the foundation for Nigeria to quickly get to where all of us want it to be.”
On his part, Rear Admiral Adedipe (rtd) described Kanu as his mentor and boss who took me in as a younger brother and nurtured me from the cradle of career to the crest.
“For everything that happened to me in life since I knew him in 1987, he had always been there for me and with me. He was a patriot to the core, a very humane person, and a highly disciplined and principled man.
“He got involved with the quest by NADECO to restore the annulled election of 1993 not because he was a partisan politician but it was simply based on principle.
“What he told me personally was that an election was held, somebody won and the person must be sworn in. I feel free to tell you today that late Admiral Kanu was not a friend of late chief Abiola. His involvement in NADECO was strictly based on principles.”
Speaking also, Ihejirika said the late Kanu was a community leader of great repute whose detribalised nature and selfless disposition has impacted positively on the society.
“Kanu was an Iroko tree that provides shelter for many in his community and in places where he was privileged to serve,” he said.
The event also featured musical rendition and the presentation of a documentary on the life and times of the late Kanu.