By Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
… As South-East govs, others shun Igbo Day
Apex Igbo organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo yesterday vowed that the South East would produce the next leader of the country after President Gooodluck Jonathan’s second term.
Ohanaeze’s position came just as governors of the South-East geo-political zone and other prominent sons and daughters of Igbo land both in government and private business shunned the Igbo Day 2014 celebration in Awka, Anambra State.
President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Gary Enwo-Igariwey, who made the pronouncement at the Igbo Day 2014 celebration held at Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka, said an Igbo succeeding Jonathan was the only way to ensure equity and justice in the country.
He said: “My fellow Ndigbo, there is no social order without a political process. We reiterate that for equity and justice, Ndigbo will seek the office of president of this country at the expiration of the tenure of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. This has been Ohanaeze’s position since 2010 and it remains unchanged.
“We will continue to build bridges with other ethnic nationalities towards this cause. Participation in the ongoing voters registration exercise should be mandatory where we reside. Our strength should come from our demographic weight spread all over the country.”
He added: “Very soon, after consultations, our people will be called upon to speak with one voice on the issue of president. We did it before and we can do it again.”
Speaking on the theme of this year’s celebration, “Ojemba, Chetakwa Ala-Igbo,” Enwo-Igariwey said it was imperative for our people to repatriate their working wealth and invest it at home (Ala-Igbo). Let me quickly point out that those of us who make this call do so from a deep sense of responsibility and patriotism both to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and too our Igboland.
“Our call is not in any shape or form the product of parochialism or sectionalism or informed by a hatred of one united Nigeria, far from it. In fact, it is an action, if heeded that shall even go a long way in sustaining the fragile fabric of a united and virile Federal Republic.
“The specter of being a landlord in Lagos, Abuja or Kano, but reside in hotels in Enugu, Awka or Owerri is shocking, ludicrous and contrary to all logical considerations.”
Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), which was represented by Revd Samuel Audu, called for the unity of the country, adding that all the groups in the country should join hands for a better society.
The Ijaw National Congress (INC) was represented by its Vice President, Ebieridei Ambacowei, who hailed the Igbo for their resourcefulness.
Secretary to Anambra State Government, Mr. Oseloka Obaze was, however, the only top government official present at the ceremony. But some traditional rulers from Anambra, Imo, Abia, Enugu and Ebonyi states, as well as some women groups and Igbo in the Diaspora attended the event.
Apparently because of poor attendance, the ceremony which was scheduled to commence at 10 a.m. only kicked off at about 12.45p.m. as the organisers waited endlessly for the special guests, including the advertised chairman of the occasion and oil mogul, Prince Arthur Eze to arrive.
Eze’s absence forced Ohanaeze to ask its former President, Dr. Dozie Ikedife to act as chairman of the occasion.
By Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka