Alhaji Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi state, has praised the election of the new Ohaneze president general, calling Ndigbo one of Nigeria’s most valuable players.
The governor said the republican nature of Ndigbo was again on display in the election of a “renowned diplomat” George Obiozor, to lead the “apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo”.
Bello noted that with the election of the professor of international relations to pilot the affairs of their people, “Ndigbo are sending a strong message to the rest of the country, and indeed the world, that they remain willing to find common grounds with any other group ready to reciprocate their gesture”.
He said the only thing left for Obiozor, a former Nigerian ambassador to Cyprus, Israel and the United States to do is to “chart a progressive path for Ohanaeze which accommodates Nigeria’s diversity and democracy and he would find that all people of goodwill stand ready to cooperate with him”.
Noting that charity begins at home, Bello explained that more important than any outside support is the support that the new Ohanaeze leadership will get from her own people.
He, therefore, called on all Igbo sons and daughters to rally round their new leaders even as he promised to visit him physically soon in the spirit of true brotherliness.
Bello, who said that the struggle to entrench democracy deeper into the fabric of Nigerian society is a team sport noted that Ndigbo remains one of the Most Valuable Players (MVP) on the field.
“Ndigbo needs Nigeria as much as Nigeria needs Ndigbo,” he said.
Bello pledged the support of his administration for the new Ohanaeze Ndigbo leadership pointing out that Kogi State shares many similarities with Ndigbo including contiguous territories, language and culture.
He also pointed out that a significant population of Ndigbo live and do business across Kogi State, with one of them, Moses Okezie-Okafor from Ukpor, Nnewi South LGA of Anambra state occupying a seat in the Kogi State executive council over which he presides.
“Kogi State has benefited from her relationship with the peace-loving and mercantile Igbo nation and has built a symbiosis with them over the centuries which we will like to expand in the days and years ahead in partnership with Prof. Obiozor and his team,” he said.
Bello, therefore, advised the new Ohanaeze leader and a former Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, to invest his considerable experience and contacts, both within and outside Nigeria, to make sure Igboland in particular and Nigeria, in general, enjoy unity, peace, and progress during his tenure.
Bello also saluted the outgoing president-general of Ohanaeze, John Nwodo, for a successful tenure.