Just as the Jews used their talents to force the world to accede to their demands, so can the Igbo solve the problems of marginalisation, restructuring, and separatist agitations with their talents in technology, trade, and commerce.
Hope Uzodimma, the governor of Imo State, stated this on Saturday, December 11, 2021, in the state capital Owerri at the presentation of his book, “Reflections on the Igbo question”.
The governor reasoned that the model of democracy Nigeria currently practices does not seem to be offering the federating units “a holistic sense of belonging, seasoned by equality, justice and the rule of law.”
He added that “the original federal project secured by our founding fathers has fallen apart.”
He urged Ndigbo not to despair or be intimidated but to “insist on our inalienable birthright as citizens of Nigeria, who must coexist with other ethnic nationalities as equal partners.”
He noted two things about the Igbo existence in Nigeria; the first being that they “have not had a fair deal from project Nigeria since the end of the civil war. They have continued to cry to the high heavens over the sordid dilemma they face in their own country. I believe we have cried enough and it is time to wipe our tears. The second is that Igbos are citizens of Nigeria by birth. They should never allow themselves to be cajoled out of their father’s land and inheritance.”
The governor reasoned that the Igbo urgently need to rediscover their spirit of enterprise that helped them to survive the harsh socioeconomic environment after the civil war, including the “twenty pounds to every Igbo man” saga.
He said the Igbo, despite all the challenges, “are still better off staying in Nigeria,” because with their God-given talents and dominance of trade, commerce, real estate, they can excel in Nigeria.
“We also have a huge landmass to conquer, dominate and exploit. We have boundless markets to tap into. We have unassailable ingenuity and opportunities presented to us to explore to emerge leaders again in this land of Nigeria that we are equal owners,” Uzodimma said.
He urged young Igbo not to be discouraged by the artificial hurdles in their way.
Uzodimma said: “I also don’t want them to continue to be frustrated by the deliberate policies of exclusion. Instead, I want them to be focused on the larger picture of liberation through technology, trade, and commerce through which we can dominate Nigeria and dictate the pace of development.
“Indeed, when the Jews found themselves in a similar situation such as Igbos of Nigeria, they simply used their talents to force the world to accede to their legitimate demand. Through technology and the media, the Jews now call the shots in major countries of the world including, the United States of America,” he said.
Azubuike Ihejirika, a former Chief of Army Staff, who chaired the occasion, shared the governor’s view that a united Nigeria is to the Igbo’s benefit.
Ihejirika said: “My opinion is that the feeling of marginalisation is not peculiar to the Igbo race alone, but a national cry. It must therefore not be seen as a basis for separatist agitation.
“I’m therefore in agreement with the author that this innate desires of our people are better channelled to positive expressions such as technological advancement, industrialisation, and entrepreneurship development which are globally recognised as key strengths of Ndigbo.
“Our continuous desire for an Igbo president, or rather president of Igbo extraction, is a just and inalienable right but can only be realised through a strategic alliance with other zones and not by any hostile agitation as emphasised in this book,” he added.
Former governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim said the book had clearly shown where Uzodimma stands on the Igbo question.
He said the Igbo can exist with or without the presidency.
“The book has proved where the governor stands on the Igbo state,” Ohakim noted, adding that the Igbo question is JEF which stands for “Justice, Equity and Fairness, and the presidency is not everything.”
Nevertheless, the Igbo, he reasoned, must move forward. “We must continue to move forward whether we have it or not. For Ndigbo it is to insist to be equal partners in the society. This is my contribution to the Igbo question. This is our country and we will gracefully stay here to challenge our rights,” he added.
Also, the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Prof George Obiozor, said the issue of the Igbo presidency “is morally justifiable and politically debatable.”
Other personalities at the event included Imo Deputy Governor Prof. Placid Njoku, ex-Deputy Governor Ebere Udeagu, and Prof. Bennett Nwanguma, among others.
Source: The Nation