By BASHIR ADEFAKA
“I can only advise the five governors, ministers, national and states’ assembly members as well as all traditional and community leaders in Igbo Land to come together under one purpose. Only by this they can have access to development and only by forgiving and having respect for one another, especially their leaders, and seeing other tribes as partners in development they can achieve it.”
When on Monday 15 March 2021 I was presented a letter in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city as Media and Publicity Consultant to the Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly Wordwide, I told myself that it happened for a reason, if not, where is dog slaughtered in the mosque that the thigh becomes the share of an Imam?
I later woke up from my slumber and saw that it was real. I then shook my head and said “my Igbo people of Nigeria” truly deserve their peace. To bring this about is reason for the Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly Wordwide and it is going about it cross-ethnicity/religion. I can only wish them well.
During my first media visit to Enugu in 2011, I returned to Lagos and made a post on my Facebook timeline to say “My people, the Igbo at home are not what you tell us they are and that transporters load and drop passengers without disturbances of the agbero like we have in Yoruba Land as a result of which prices of connected items have skyrocketed.” Before night, I received a phone call from a fellow and respected tribe’s man who said, “You cannot praise other tribes living your own and so you have to go and drop the post.”
The day we move above ethnic and religious sentiment but view life on the ground of truth and national integrity, we will begin to see development coming handy with progress. The Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly Wordwide, under the leadership of Barr. Basil Onyeachonam Onuorah, his Director General, Ambassador Obizoba Chiemelu Tony, and BOT Secretary, Chief Chimzobam Kingsley Nnalue, has come to lead the way and here we are. Otherwise, what would a Yoruba man be doing in the Igbo centre of decisions?
I know some Fulani leaders particularly the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar CFR, mni, LL.D, and Governor of Sokoto State, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, made full appointments who are non-Northerners. I know a particular aide of Sultan, without him having tasted prepared food at some point, Sultan would not eat of it. He is a Yoruba man from Abeokuta, Ogun State in South West Nigeria. I am aware of an Igbo in his palace, who has access (if not the only one that does after his family) to the room of the Sariki Musulumi of Nigeria. So is Tambuwal’s distribution of political appointments across the tribes: Igbo, Yoruba, Igala, Ebira, others.
I am also aware it happened under Bola Ahmed Tinubu as governor of Lagos State, when he consistently maintained an Igbo Commissioner to the extent in a whole ministry today in Alausa Ikeja, Igbo is virtually the official language and his boys who succeeded him maintained same legacy until recently. As this is going on, someone reminded us that while Tinubu was doing that to Igbo in Lagos as governor, Orji Uzor Kalu did same in Abia as governor to Yoruba in his government. This is the Nigeria that should be the dream of every citizen.
Many rains have dropped that the soil has soaked in. We have had Nigeria where some foreign conspirators believe that because amalgamation had reached a century old and so must break. These elements, who are largely West, have not, however, told us why America after two centuries old has not broken and heaven has not fallen.
These elements have their plans for development of their own country and continent. They are at it. What they want to achieve in 50 years time they start now and they are not deterred by distractions neither do they allow any act of derailment from external forces affect their focus. This is the way to grow and it is the way to go. They know it. They do it and so they grow regardless of challenges and will never cry or blame one another over their challenges.
They pray for their nation daily and their nation blesses and favours them. Sad, however, they jubilate to see us, Nigerians digging the hole of collapse for our own God’s Own Country, Nigeria. It should make us sad, if we have some of us jumping at whatever advances – foreign aids – they make in effort to collapse our own country to kill our joy to their own happiness.
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly Wordwide says time to start the building of a better Nigeria from the South East and reconstruct an undoubtable trust in other tribes about the Igbo is now. They have stretched the olive branch across the regional borders and I consider it a great effort that should be embraced by all. First and foremost realising that a group that will embark on such a duty of national cohesion needs to be recognised by law, they started by registering the agelong unregistered socio-cultural group with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and now the coast is clear and the sky can only be the limit for the patriotic regional organisation.
The expectation is that they will speak and galvanize for the Igbo in Nigeria and across the world and then join hands with other regional socio-cultural organizations, which are out for better, peaceful and united Nigeria, to move the country forward politically, economically and industrially for the good of all. They are out to say that Nigeria is One and that no Nigerian shall be treated as enemy except he or she that is criminally so and shall be enemy of all. This is the Ohanaeze Ndigbo that is projected by the Onuorah-led General Assembly.
They consider the development of Igbo Land as paramount and want to associate and cooperate with anyone in government, who distributes the largesse and make development evenly shared across the regions. They believe that since the return of democracy in 1999 there has been no attention towards or attempt to develop the South East region like now under President Muhammadu Buhari. They say it will be unfair to deny the good things that have happened, are happening and will still happen to South East by the government regardless of whether it is headed by Fulani, Yoruba or Igbo. So, they call on others to stop ethnic, religious and selfish politics and play politics for the good of Nigeria, particularly Igbo.
Who would see a group of Nigerian tribe’s people standing for this philosophy and will not be readily available for them when they seek him for support? This is the secret of my tie with Ohanaeze Ndigbo and it is a natural one that has come to stay, even beyond the four years tenure that I have to serve as their Media and Publicity Consultant.
I can only advise the five governors, ministers, national and states’ assembly members as well as all traditional and community leaders in Igbo Land to come together under one purpose. Only by this they can have access to development and only by forgiving and having respect for one another, especially their leaders, and seeing other tribes as partners in development they can achieve it.
*Bashir Adefaka is media practitioner and Media and Publicity Consultant to the Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly Wordwide.