…Hints on his annual IrijiFestival
Eze (Dr) Christian Uchechukwu Nwachukwu, the Eze Ndigbo ofLagos and Chairman Igbo Council of Ndieze; in this Interview with CYRIACUSNNAJI at his palace in Okota, commented on the issue of Apex leader of theIgbos in APC, his contributions to peace and tranquility between Igbos andIndigenes; and his annual Iriji Festival. Excerpts:
How do you respond to Joe Igbokwe’s rhetorical questions queryingwhere Idimogu was when he (Igbokwe) was working for the Igbos in Lagos?
You must not count on what hesaid; Igbokwe is entitled to his opinions. The traditional leaders of Ndigbo inLagos State and all the Igbo communities have stamped that Jude should be theone to represent the interest of all. He has been there for long. The questionis, what has he done, is the community faring better or disfranchised? Hisleadership is that he sidelined the middle class, and local class, that is whywe are losing election.
Now we have called Jude, wecalled Jude; it is not like Jude came on his own, no. We are the ones thatinvited Jude after all the appraisal of the situation of the problems Ndigboare having in APC, and the feeling of suspicion from the party leaders thatNdigbo are not complying with them with their support and trust. So Jude is theonly person we called and invited and endorsed, issued a certificate for him togo and do the job there and give us justice on what we should do before the electionso that party leaders will not complain.
It is not the issue ofcompetition, in comparison Jude was in school when Joe was in party. He left school,became a chartered, and a trained marketer. So you can’t compare a trainedmarketer and chartered. So now we have called him, we are the ones working inLagos State, we are the ones that do the job, all the Eze Ndigbo in Lagos Stateand Igbo communities are the ones doing the job.
He should forget the interestof money; he should forget about that, what we want now is the genuineleadership of Ndigbo that can reflect people’s orientation; that is what we areafter.
We have given the part thehumble and gentleman that will be able to do that and carry Ndigbo to themasses, masses have given him the mandate; he will go there and carry Ndigbo backto the masses; that is the authority giving to him.
Address the issue of age and experience between the two
Age is about tradition but inpolitics, any man who has intelligence or superior argument can go there and lead.
The last check I did, I saw APC Chairman holding theirhands together, talking about reconciliation, where are we now have theyreconciled?
We have not reconciled,reconciliation continued. We also met ourselves at the birthday of the Chief ofStaff, as part of the reconciliation, so we have not reconciled. It is onlytruth can prevail, we want truth to prevail, we want truth to prevail.
Generally speaking, what is the place of Ndigbo in APC,apart from the issue of Apex leadership, what is the political direction of Igbosin APC, election is approaching, whether you like it or not, how are youmobilizing the Igbos for this exercise?
Election is still far away from now, if you look at it, but it is verynear, so it is the preparation Jude is making. Where others are chasing money, Judehas gone back to the masses in every local government sensitizing the masses inevery local government, he is visiting the whole local governments, wards tosensitize them, for preparation when that time comes, so that is the mandategiving to him by the Igbo community leaders in APC, that is what he is doingfor now.
But we all are aware, those who felt injured are pacified and have agreedto work together and also we have gotten majority of people who want to declaretheir intention of belonging to the party. So that is what Jude is doing, it isa very big work; we have a good number of leaders who want to come and join. Soif he doesn’t go out, he wouldn’t have known that there is a serious problemthat many people felt bad about the management of Ndigbo in APC, bad people,they have been there for so long, they see it as a business, so any money that comethere, they share it, it is not done that way. We don’t want to lose anybodywho has his own zeal to work for this party, that is what we are sensitizing, Igbosare in every other political part, but this one in APC, it is the leading partyin Lagos State and we should be able to know who is supporting and who is not fromnow till 2023.
Your advice to Ndigbo that have not joined APC in Lagos,if you look at where Igbos are predominantly residing, they tend to beneglected; they lose some of the dividends of democracy, what are you advisingmajority of Ndigbo so that they can join?
We are doing what we know howto do best, those people are just blind there because nobody has approachedthem, but Jude has gone to them, for the first time some of them are hearingthat an Igbo man is in Alausa and they have been suffering from whom tocomplain to. But this movement now has given them the opportunity to know thatthey have somebody in Alausa that cares whom they can run to if there isproblem.
So this is what these leaderswere not doing, they were sharing money. So that era of doing work, never pay, haveto stop, must stop. That is what we are fighting for, go to the people, becausethe authority of the people must prevail.
Now Jude is an individual, has he built a structure toachieve this grassroots mobilization and sensitization assignment?
I have been following him toplaces because every Eze Ndigbo there is a key leader in those localgovernments, they are the people that bring these people out where they are. Soevery Eze that has a palace is a structure for Jude in every local government.That is the way, so we do not want to do the wrong thing that we accused theformer leaders of doing. So the mobilization continues by Jude, sensitizationcontinues by him, so going to the people is the key thing.
On your jurisdiction now, if you check, there is peace inLagos especially between the Igbos and their hosts. What roles have you playedto ensure this peace?
My name is Christian UchechukwuNwachukwu, God, God, God. It started with God, continued with God and endedwith God. So peace is paramount. But a situation some people, few people wantto create crisis, you don’t need to fear to go to war to change the situationfor the good of the people. I am not doing it for myself, If for myself I can sithere and not go anywhere, but people cannot run to me and ask me why are youkeeping quiet and things are degenerating and it is true, because peoplecomplained heavily, you see it there,so, I have to come out to bring peace to Ndigbo in Lagos State, and that peacehas come, and the government knows my interest in peace, and support ofgovernment and giving indigenes assuranceof the future, party leaders assurance for the future, that is what I am doing.
You would like to appreciate some people
We appreciate all Ndigbo invarious places we have visited, especially Ibeju Lekki, Alimosho, Otawoyi,Alaba International, among others, we thank them for having received thelawmaker very very well. We assure them, the promise made will be promise kept.The issue of the ones we have not reached, keep waiting for us, we will meet youthere. We are thankful for you, and ask you not to relent in your effort insupporting and mobilizing your people in various local governments for the lawmaker.
Tell us about your annual new yam Festival
Now the issue of annual yamfestival, it is fast approaching, hopefully, Gods willing, sometime in Octoberwe will be able to have our annual ceremony, iriji ceremony, and alsocommission the newly built Igbo community centre which is the palace of EzeNdigbo Lagos State.