*insists Nigeria needs restructuring,renegotiation, devolution of powers,etc
*Cautions IPOB Leader Nnamdi Kanu to mellow down on Biafra
*Visits Ekweremadu, Chief Nnia Nwodo.
From Maurice Okafor,Enugu
The new President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide, Prof. George Obiozor has described insecurity as the greatest challenge confronting the Igbo race and assured that his administration will do the needful in tackling the problem.
Professor Obiozor who dropped this hints in his maiden press conference held at Ohanaeze secretariat in Enugu also said that Nigeria need to be restructured or re negotiated and there should be devolution of power, if the nation must come out of it’s present socio economic and political quagmire.
On the agitation for an independent state of Biafra, He cautioned Mazi Nnamdi Kanu,the IPOB leader to control his tongues and actions on the quest for an independent state of Biafra. He said that the Igbo nation is not at war with Nigeria and that the Biafran project is beyond the scope of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Prof Obiozor stated, ‘After 40 years of participation in government, the greatest problem of Ndigbo today is insecurity. The security of Ndigbo is a priority to my administration’. He called all Igbos even those in diaspora to join hands with him in chatting a new cause for the Igbo nation.
His words, It is time for reality in Igbo land. I have idea of our pains and needs.Together we can change the narratives’.
Obiozor, who was a former Nigerian Ambassador to the United States of America (USA) and Israel as well as former Director General of Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), said that Ndigbo would continue to place high premium on security, restructuring of Nigeria, economic development of the zone and excellence in education.According to him, the irreducible minimum demand of Ndigbo in Nigeria today are justice, equity and fairness, stressing that “that was exactly what we wish to achieve by RESTRUCTURING the Nigeria Political system, by bringing governance to a level playing field to all its citizens.”
Obiozor stated that his desire to contest for the position of President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo was not based on self aggrandizement, personal ambition or self promotion, noting that since he had outgrown those, his compelling reasons were critical service at one of the most critical time in Nigerian history with dire consequences, particularly for Ndigbo as a national entity.
“Generally, not only has governance become both difficult and complex in Nigeria but downright an EXISTENTIAL THREAT TO NDIGBO in particular.
“The Igbo dilemma in Nigeria has finally come home at last and we must take critical, even delicate decisions and those problems need pragmatic solutions and quickly too. And the time requires careful and delicate skilled manager in the relationships between Ndigbo among themselves and other Nigerian nationalities especially the national power elites,” he said.
He said the security of Ndigbo in Nigeria and beyond as exemplified in Ghana and South Africa, has become a compelling primary responsibility and of serious concern for Ndigbo, as they have become the most vulnerable and victims of violence throughout Nigeria.
“Principally, the goal of this Administration is aggregating our individual success into common action that will lead to a collective success. Nothing unites a people more quickly than prospects for success and with a well-known Igbo spirit; this seemingly difficult task can be done…
“Our position should therefore begin with efforts to effectively re-integrate NDIGBO into Nigerian political process effectively, significantly and relevantly.
“This requires a serious diplomacy and not confrontation or conflicts. Diplomacy’s great asset is to teach how to make your enemy your friend for specific objective. In fact, in politics and Diplomacy, it is the identity of interests that are the surest of bonds between state and individuals in critical circumstances and moments as we are now.“Nigeria needs Re-alignment, Restructuring, Renegotiation, Decentralization or Devolution of power, choose the one you like. It must be done to save Nigeria and we are ready to navigate the Igbo destiny through this precarious time of uncertainty, doubt and general insecurity’.
Throwing more caution on the excesses of the IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, Obiozor stated, ‘He is one of us and he must listen to some of us for several reasons. The fact and reality are that the issues of Biafra are above and beyond his capacity to decide’.
“He must listen because he is one of us and we are all in this dilemma together. And our mutual and collective responsibilities are sacred and must be respected…“We must also understand what Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu meant by ‘the bones shall rise’. He didn’t mean conflict, violence and war. Definitely the bones have arisen, re-incarnated or resurrected but in Ojukwu’s idea the mission is creative and constructive. Ndigbo are builders and not nation wreckers/destroyers,” he counseled.
Prior to the press conference on Wednesday,January 20, Obiozor and members of his cabinet had on Tuesday evening,January 19,paid courtesy visit to former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu at his Enugu residence and his predecessor,Chief Nnia Nwodo.
Speaking at Ekweremadu;s house, he urged Ndigbo to be united and work together for collective interest of the zone, recalling his long service to the people and Nigeria in general which he said spanned more than 5o years.
While expressing gratitude to Ekweremadu for his support during the Ohanaeze Election. He said it is the wish of God that the first person he visited after his emergence as President General of Ohanaeze is Senator Ike Ekweremadu.His words, “Since I’m Augustinian Catholic we believe in the doctrine of predestination. I believe that God plans everything and it happens in accordance with God’s time. Now, it is not surprise to me that the first place that I will come to receive blessing for this office is Ekweremadu.
“I want to tell you something about my own feeling about the Igbos. We are a people of destiny, the similarity between Igbo spirit and that of the Jews is amazing to me; as an academician I wrote about it, read about it and as an Ambassador in Israel, I saw it happen. The greatest revenge against injustice is success,” he said.In his response, Ekweremadu congratulated Obiozor and his new executive, stressing that with Obiozor, “Ndigbo is safe… you are a man of history and you came at the right point”.
The former Senate President challenged Obiozor to see the greatest task of his administration as that of delivering a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction, saying that if that is the only legacy he would leave behind he would have achieved everything for the people.At a brief dinner at Chief Nnia Nwodo’s house thereafter, Obiozor expressed gratitude to his predecessor for taking Ohanaeze Ndigbo as am institution to laudable heights, amidst the challenges which many a times came from within.Nwodo commended the election of Obiozor as his successor as most worthy at this critical time in Nigerian history. He expressed confidence that Obiozor will bring his wealth of experience to bear in piloting the affairs of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and prayed for God’s guidance and wisdom for his executive.
Nwodo stated,“Those challenging your election, non of them has the exposure and diplomatic experience you have. I know you are going to go through murky waters but I will stand behind you”.