Prof. George Obiozor, PG, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide – Credentials of presidential aspirants from South- East impressive, intimidating.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, on Tuesday cautioned traditional rulers across the country to desist from making inflamatory statements capable of causing strife, saying Nigeria needs peace and unity to achieve socio-economic development.
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, and made availble to SummitNews, stated that the comment credited to the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi, “to the effect that the Igbo cannot be entrusted with the Nigerian Presidency, is antithetical to the peace and unity of the country.”
Ohanaeze advised Oba Akanbi to undergo training “under some more experienced cosmopolitan urbane intelligent monarchs such as his neighbor, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ife.”
According to the statement, “one of the qualities of a well-adjusted traditional ruler is to be open minded towards all, especially people of other ethnic groups that may be found in his domain.”
Ohanaeze further stated that the claims that the Igbo prevent people from the other parts of the country from acquiring properties in their domain, or have an obnoxious policy of depriving other Nigerians of their rights cannot be substantiated.
The association also stated that it is unthinkable that a group that builds modern houses in all parts of the country will prevent other ethnic groups from building in their homestead, adding that the “morbid fabrication of falsehood is a terrible mischief, only for the uninitiated.”
The statement reads: “The attention of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has been drawn to a comment by the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi, to the effect that the Igbo cannot be entrusted with the office of the Nigerian presidency.
“In a statement released by his Chief Press Secretary, Alli Ibraheem, the traditional ruler added that “no Nigerian will feel secure in the hands of a leader whose ethnic attachment deprived other Nigerians of their rights”.
“While acknowledging the damage done to the Igbo by the Nigerian civil war, he lashed the Igbo for the sit-at-home order issued by the Eastern Security Network (ESN). He went further to accuse the Igbo of “preventing people from the other parts of the country from acquiring properties in their domain”. He then categorized the entire South Easterners in a statement: “The style by the South easterners is barbaric”.
“The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide led by Ambassador Professor George Obiozor, is a civilized cultural organization and by its prospectus, Ohanaeze has profound respect for culture and traditional rulers.
“We will, therefore, restrain from hoisting the monarch with his own petard, rather we advise that he should undergo some tutelage under some more experienced cosmopolitan urbane intelligent monarchs such as his neighbor, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ife.
“This is because, it is self-evident that Nigeria is a beleaguered country that urgently needs nation-building; inflammatory and incendiary remarks from monarchs and the highly placed are antithetical to peace and unity of Nigeria.
“One of the reasons the traditional rulers are insulated from partisan politics is to avoid an overdrive or the kind of overzealousness exhibited by Oba Akanbi, in an effort to retire a gift from his candidate for the presidency in 2023.
“ In promoting his preferred candidate, he has committed a fallacy of hasty generalization when he stated that “the style by south easterners is barbaric’; the Igbo cannot be trusted with power, etc. Surely, such prejudice, innuendo and vitriolic group vilifications against the entire Igbo nation is most un-reflective of a royal father whose primary duty is to sow seeds of unity in his kingdom and beyond.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Igbo are adventurous nation builders; they are found in all parts of Nigeria and beyond. They make friends easily and also feel at home with their children in all parts of world.
“ Records across the world indicate that the Igbo are branded in Midas touch. They quickly learn the language and culture of the host community with a view to contribute towards the socio-economic growth of the community. The people of other ethnic groups that had their National Service in Igbo Land can always attest to the Igbo friendliness and hospitality during their service years; some ended up marrying Igbo.
“The wild claims that the Igbo prevent people from the other parts of the country from acquiring properties in their domain or have an obnoxious policy of depriving other Nigerians of their rights cannot be substantiated.
“On the other hand, it is inconceivable that a group that builds modern houses in all parts of the country will prevent other ethnics from building in their homestead. One would think that the morbid fabrication of falsehood is a terrible mischief, only for the uninitiated.
“Oba Akanbi is drawn to his paradox, where he acknowledged the damage done to the Igbo during the Nigerian civil war and at the same time condemning the agitation by Igbo youth, such as the ESN for their clamour for inclusiveness based on equity and justice after about 53 years of the Nigerian Civil War.
“The former president of Nigeria and one of the foremost detribalized Nigerian statesmen, Chief Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo, a retired General, has admonished that for peace to reign in Nigeria, the South-East should be given a sense of belonging by allowing them to produce a president for Nigeria.
“The President General of the Afenifere, an umbrella organization for the Yoruba ethnic group, has also explained that going by the rotation and zoning principle which has been in practice in the country, it is only fair that the South-East be given a chance for the presidency. Several other eminent Yoruba icons are also in the advocacy for the presidency to be zoned to the South East of Nigeria.
“Interestingly, the credentials of the presidential aspirants from the South-East are not only impressive but very intimidating. These are well accomplished brilliant, robust creative thinkers who have won elections at various levels, some even held offices as ministers and discharged their duties most creditably without blemish or baggage.
“ In them is a convergence of both integrity and ingenuity. Furthermore, the very area that Nigerians and indeed the global community can easily come to a consensus is that the Igbo are ingenious, transformative, wealth creators, cosmopolitan, hardworking and tenacious game changers.
“Some of the benefits that Nigeria stands to gain by a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction is that Nigeria will exit poverty, unemployment, insecurity and calamitous fragile state status.
“Second, justice will be seen to have been served. Emphatically, it is an assertion guided by reason and experience that any country that glamourizes injustice can never, never progress.
“So, the choices before Nigeria, for our unborn generations are very clear: either on the path of sustainable national development or on an irretrievable abysmal tailspin.”