The historic meeting of Igbo leaders held in Owerri was a success. Prominent Igbo sons and daughters arrived the Imo state capital for the meeting. If you missed it when it aired on National television, you can read what each leader said at the event.
HIS EXCELLENCY ALISON MADUEKE
Anything we put our minds and strength in as Igbos we can achieve it.
Igbos are the only people that built an airport on their own without federal government’s intervention.
We won’t complain of marginalization again.
COMMODORE EBITU UKIGWE
Today is an interesting day as topics treated today has the potentials of waking us up, gingering us up to face the issues.
I am particularly happy to be here today because when I look round Owerri, I see enough to inspire me. In other words, it is a case of inspiration and aspiration. Owerri is transformed, I know the town which is turning out to be a city well because during the civil war, I was here. I fought here.
Okorocha’s action is a message to all Igbos. We need not talk so much about our past because most Nigerians do know that if there is any group of Nigerians that can make a change in their life, that group is an Igbo. Therefore, there is nothing to complain about our pride. We are a proud people. If we were not a proud people, we would probably have been carrying our books in our hands going around to beg but begging is not in our culture. Those who came here after the civil war, if they come back in most cases they can’t recognize the place. This is because the Igbos are focused, hardworking and they can change any place to a better place.
We have met today and discuss, we are not playing politics, we are facing issues. Issues that concern us as a people and the nation at large. What I will tell every Igbo man or youth is to be focused. We cannot plead or beg. Every Igbo must change his status, change what others may think is a terrible thing for us, we must not be intimidated by anybody. We are not going to beg, we will persevere and change our lives.
This is an Igbo affair and therefore many of our traders, industrialist and academicians are not in the east here. They are in all parts of the country, developing their lands at the detriment of theirs. We have to attract our sons and daughters back home, we have to transform this place as it is part of our traditional home. We should confront the difficulties facing us than talking about it. Concentration must be in industrializing the Igbo region. And it appears that God wants to use Governor Okorocha to pass a message to the igbos. We won’t talk about marginalization again.
CHIEF DR CHUKWUEMEKA EZEIFE
I greet Governor Okorocha for being the founder of the new Igbo nation. We the Igbo are a people of destiny and no human being born by man can change our faith and destiny. We depend on the almighty God for everything we do. This is only the beginning, I will call on the governors of Abia, Enugu, Anambra and Ebonyi to help with precious time for us to redefine the Igbo leadership that will dramatically develop the Igbo homeland so that a migration form here will not be as a matter of economic necessity.
CHIEF JIM NWOBODO
What we are doing today is very important, it is what English people call “rediscover yourself”. He that is rejected cannot reject himself. We have to rediscover ourselves. We have come to make a statement that we are major stakeholders in this country. If you go to Lagos, Alaba for instance is being occupied by the Igbos, anywhere you go to in Nigeria has Igbos dwelling and occupying the place. Even in America the presidential candidate Trump said that they Igbos should go because we have enough in our land.
We Igbos have enough in our land, during the era of Michael Okpara it was palm kernel or palm oil that was our major source of income and it was sufficient. I tell you my people, we should be proud of ourselves, we should be proud of what we have, we are equipped as a people. What we ask ourselves is why are we developing other places and leaving our place. The time has come for us to develop our land. This is why I am thanking Rochas Okorocha, if you go to other places and look around, when you come to Imo you will be amazed with the infrastructural development in the place. When I came here during the Christmas period, I wondered if this was really the Owerri that I used to know. Welcome governor Okorocha. We are the light of the nation, and so, we should be proud of ourselves as Igbos contributed 60% of the development of both Lagos and Abuja.
DR. PASCHAL DOZIE
Good thing is Good, what sweetens a child equally makes him foolish. This is a trying time and we must change with time. For me what has become important after the Ime obi meeting where we x-rayed ourselves is that it reminds me of a sentence and this is what I believe must have happened today. After several years of despondency, a nation in Latin America came together to look at themselves and decided to take their future into their hands and the man who made the speech almost like what Prof Anya told us he said. “The present has overcome, the past shall never return. The future is here”… Our future is here. Why do I say that, because the leadership of the Igbos not only has decided that the past shall never return, the past of despondency, the past of self re-ordination and pity. We are now moving forward forgetting the past and looking forward to the future.
Again, one of the things that really also interested me was that in that meeting we redefined the concept of Igbo leadership, taking it back to what it used to be, even our governor re-echoed the refrain that the original concept of the Igbo leadership has to be maintained and the value system needs to be rekindle into our system or else we go nowhere. Therefore, today is just the beginning of a new dawn.
PROF ANYA O. ANYA
We have come because our people say that it is when the flood threaten to watch us that we look for the tall men among us, this is such a time. This is the time for the sons of Isaka, your assignment is clear, to help our people chart a new course in this very dangerous times. According to a Chinese America culture, Ndigbo is one of the three old tribes, the other two being the Jews and the Chinese. They are all unique people but they are not a lovable people. Our task is to be the pathfinder who will raise the eagle generation that will lead our people in this 21st century. Afterall prank pranol said that each generation will out of relative obscurity discover their mission. We are here to help our younger ones to discover their missions in this 21st century. Maybe we should start with the story before the story, what is called prologue. It is a viewpoint that most ndi Igbo will accept that at no time in modern times have ndi Igbo be faced with huge challenges and problems as confront us in this decade of 21st century.
We are faced by uncertainty, we are faced by doubts and even fear. It is not surprising then that in this doubt and uncertainty we could lose our focus, we could lose our confidence in ourselves and we can now pursue new and emerging ideas… re awakening from our past, hence we need to have a quick thank into our history, ancient and modern. In other to understand and reposition ourselves to confront this Chevrolet. Let me say that it is clear that we are amongst the earliest inhabitants to this part of Apula, the Niger area. Archaeological finds from the Nsuka area, Okigwe area and from the Afikpo area all indicates that we have been in this area for perhaps over the last 500 years verifiable and archaeological evidence suggest that the Yoruba’s worried to meet us in this area 200 yrs later, the evidence of Igbukwu suggest that by 968 AD a sophisticated archaeological culture had already flowered and flourish in this area. It is noteworthy then that the quality of the bronze certified from Igboukwu are not only older but there are also superior in quality to the life and bronzing that would come nearly 500 yrs later.
When the British encountered ndi Igbo in the colonial eastern Nigeria, they had encountered before individual Igbos in the slave time at the North Americans (Carribeam). This slaves in those strange countries were industrious, strong willed, intelligent and hardworking, they were often born leaders. One unforgettable one unforgettable benchmark I will like to remind us, the first Igbo graduates Azikiwe, Mbanaso Onwu, Ibiam etc came on the scene in the early to middle years of the 1930’s, their classmates and contemporaries were the grand children of the first yorubas who graduated in 1880s, yet 30 years later the measure of educated Nigeria was the Igbo. The measure of the successful businessmen were Igbos like Ojukwu (snr) Greg Mbadiwe etc. The top military officers of Nigeria origin were predominantly Igbo, the first perm secretary was Igbo, Nwokedi Anele, that year 1964 marks another watershed Eastern Nigeria was the fastest growing industrialized economy in the world. Ndigbo in other words had magnificent energy overtaking all the obstacles to reach the mountain top of Nigeria. At that very point in 1964, the slow match into darkness of Nigeria and for the Igbos has started but we did not know. How come we did not see it for everything we had worked for, so strenuously for since 1914 were at risk. The reason was simple, we were blind sided and we did not have the sons of Isaka amongst us, I quote from the bible, 1st chronicles 12:32 “the sons of Isaka were those who had understanding of the time to know what Israel this time Igbo land ought to do. Why do I say so? It is a usual for a society at the apex of its powers and influence as it were in 1964 to put all it had worked for in jeopardy in an all or nothing gamble, it was a complex situation we must admit which we need to interrogatively at so point to learn all the lessons that need to be learnt for the sake of our children, do these times 2015, 2016 contain the echoes of those days of 1965, 1966, what of 2017 does it suggest any resemblance to 1976. We need to know and understand why ultimately Biafra failed for the sake of future and sake of our children. At the back of all the controversies, one question refuses to go away “why is our leaders of those days opt for a strategy that could lead to war or violent resistance at the point that we were at the height of our influence and advantages in Nigeria.
It is important that the redemption and rebuilding of ala Igbo will not come from outside Igbo land, it will not come from Abuja, it will not come from Lagos, it will however need a paradigm shift in our approach to the problems of Nigeria. Our past experience as a people should be our guide. Ndi Igbo will not flourish in the Nigeria pseudo federation until federalism with mandate resolution of power is restored. With this our initiative can become unchanged for the benefit of our country and our compatriots. This is why we need to support the ways of democratic opinion insisting on restructuring Nigeria.
AMBASSADOR GEORGE OBIOZOR
I will use my little chance to give you what I termed state of the nation. I am particularly happy by the spirit that is resurrected in Igbo land today. It justifies many reasons for optimism in Igbo land.
We have seen many things and survived it. As a matter of fact, what kind of country do we have? Nigeria is a country full of optimism but living in uncertainty and doubts. There must be reasons for this, whether you like it or not any nation that disregards ideals can never do well. The secret is that ideals run nations. I want to tell you if you remember countries that had independence around 1960, Brazil was one of them and the rest of them, compare them to us, why are we lagging behind? It’s simple. Just recently some Nigeria leaders discovered that Nigeria unity is non-negotiable. Well I have an answer. The reality is after so many years, inspite of all efforts, past and present, Nigeria’s unity has not been guaranteed, at best it has been an aspiration not an achievement. Let me be frank with you, throughout the history of this country, no generation of Nigeria leaders civilian or military had created an atmosphere of credibility to ensure Nigeria’s claim to political future of oneness.
What do Nigeria elites do? None of the Nigeria political groups was able to involve a unified national ideology that other people accepted. This is true. What we see is ethnic nationalism which is not about to disappear certainly not in Nigeria no matter how we may want to wish it away.
Ethnic nationalism is still a potent force. The period or era if government by intimidation, coercive integration is over. No one group again can own the nation. Those denied justice may have no interest in peace.
CHIEF ENWO IGARIWEY
We have come here today in a rare situation. For a very long time Ohaneze has been doing its bits to be the mouth piece of the Igbo nation.
Today is a special day because as a people we have decided to close ranks and address our problems by ourselves. For a long time we have never had this kind of meeting. We have had meetings of governors coming together, traditional rulers coming together and Igbo groups coming together, to try to proffer solution to Igbo problems. Today I am excited to welcome all of you here.
First, you may have noticed that for sometime now, Ohaneze and Igbo people have been speaking with one voice. This is because peace has been midwifed and that was done in this very state, Imo State. The governor of Imo state midwifed that peace. So today Ohaneze speaks with one voice. Some people have been complaining rightly, but that is not why we are here today. I will tell you a simple story that reflects why we are here today. When the civil war ended nearly forty years ago, it was not a magic that we recovered with the pace with which we did, when the red cross, canters were sending relief materials to our people again in the refugee camp because our people by their adventurous nature had gone to fetch for themselves, that is the Igbo spirit, that is the can do it spirit.
Gentlemen & ladies, I want us to emphasis our story sides. As a people you will agree with me that we are very very adventurous people, we are achievers, look round you, we have made more gains than loses. Our strength is in the fact that as individuals we are great achievers and we hope that when we are direct this strength of ours we will be able to address the problems of our people. Today will mark the beginning of a new Ohaneze, a new Ohaneze that has full support of our governors, of our traditional rulers so that when we make a statement or speech the world will know we have come. We are going to bring hope to our people, our people will no longer cry because as a people we can solve our problems. There is nothing we put our minds to that we cannot solve, when you see Lagos the way it is, highly developed environment, the Igbos contributed about 30% of that development, the same in Abuja that means that if we redirect our energies we can build Abuja in Igboland. That means we can build Lagos in Igboland, and that is our new direction now. What we want that our people should not see any person as being responsible for any situation we find ourselves in. We will only be there if we accept it. We will put our feet down and put our heads up, we will rise to the occasion to solve our problems. Hope has come, that is the message we are bringing. Today, Ohaneze is having an ultra modern complex courtesy of the governor of Imo State and we thank him for that. We call on other governors to follow suit so as to equip Ohaneze to be a formidable voice in the nation.
Why is it that our people are investing in everywhere but home? Wealth is not wealth until it gets home says an Igbo adage. The governments in Igboland must come together to create that environment to attract our people. Those things they do out there, let them come and do it here so that our young people will have employment and we won’t be needing to beg anybody for employment, we can do it for ourselves.
CHIEF SIMEON OKEKE – Fmr Chairman Police Service Commission
“It is only in Imo State that the APC change mantra is effective in a very positive way through the total turnaround of the state by Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
LOLO CECILIA EZEILO (Deputy Gov Enugu State)
When we put together all the things we have been told today, what we are telling ourselves is that our future is in our hands. What we are telling ourselves is that we did it before during the time of M.I. Okpara and we can do it again. Igbo people are known for entrepreneurship, and hardworking spirit, a patient people.
Finally, I thank all the people of ndi Igbo for their support during the Nimbo Massacre especially governor Rochas who visited with APC Governors.
GOVERNOR OKEZIE IKPEAZU
Love for the Igbo nation must be encouraged as any tribe that does not unite will lose its rights, we must unite to get our rights.
This a new dawn in Igbo land as Ohaneze through the magical vision of Owelle Rochas Okorocha has united us as one and we will henceforth speak with the full backing of the governors and leaders of the Igbo nation.
GOVERNOR ROCHAS OKOROCHA
A nation or people that are faced with extreme danger like ndi Igbo should seek the wisest course of action and not of sentiments and complains. Thank God that the Igbos are now complying and not complaining.
We must act quickly and now too under the present ugly situation which our terrible condition points out to us, if not, we might be destroying the psyche of generation of Ndi Igbo yet unborn. There is no better time for us to unite than now.
Few years ago, we sang the song of grief, marginalization, and we were looking frustrated looking for who can help us, but thank God we have realized that no amount of complain against the marginalization if ndi Igbo will bring succor to our children rather we shall all rise and take our rightful position and sing a new song.
Before we join the bandwagon of complaining, little do we realize that Igbos are different and distinguished in both conduct and character, hence passion for success like no other tribe in the world… we are unique and the only privileged people in this part of the world that come from the same womb with Jesus Christ. We were told by our Lord Jesus Christ that even when they said there is a casting down, Igbos must say there is a lifting up.
Many ethnic groups had fought their ways into recognition. Many had used militancy to get attention to themselves but those are the other ethnic groups. This is not the way of Ndi Igbo. What others had done that has gained them accolades, the Igbos will do it and they will be insulted because we are unique. Let us sing a new song different from the songs of war and the song of complain because the more we complain, the more the world does not listen to us. My brothers and leaders the time has come for us to look inwards because he that is rejected does not reject himself (onye ajuru aju anaghi aju onwe ya).
I am excited that today H.E Ebitu Ukigwe, Jim Nwobodo, Alison Mmadueke, Col Achuzia, Paschal Dozie, Igariwe, Prof. Anya and other leaders here have now embraced themselves for unity, I have seen the promise land.
No one nation even the entire world can marginalize Ndi Igbo. The Igbo’s marginalization is an apparent marginalization which does not reflect any practical reality. Take an Igbo man, leave him in the desert, give him nothing and give him two years he will make something out of nothing… Why then must we depend on help, from where? This is the time for us to think outside the box. This is the time for us to encourage our youths and give them hope.
Let us break the jinx of disunity caused by politics because what unites us is far more than the political parties that divide us. We shall know the points to speak in politics and time to speak as ndi Igbo. Let us know when to play politics and when to be ndi Igbo… This is the wisdom that underlines us.
To the leaders … you have done well. We commend you all, even the late Ojukwu, Agukwe, Okpala etc may their souls rest in peace, and may the labours of our heroes past not be in vain.
You are handing over to us quickly a new baton and it is incumbent in us to prepare for subsequent generation. Now that we are together the world will hear us.
My dream is to see that day when Igbos economically will be sound, that we as a people can develop the resources of our land and make a Dubai and China out of Igbo land. We can do it without help.
This we can achieve if we are united without any outside help. The problem of ndi Igbo is not marginalization but the inability of coming together. This we must all fight to achieve as leaders of the land.
I have talked with my brother governors, we have agreed to set up an Igbo economic forum and we are thinking of getting huge parcel of land where all the governors will come together and develop a new economic hub for ndi Igbo.
For those of you who have lost hope or confused, living in a complete moral bankruptcy I urge you to rise because Igbo has risen. What we have been waiting for is for this leaders to come in the manner they have come now. That they have come together the world will hear us. I know that one day in the course of history of this nation, Igbo nation will rise to such a height that they will begin to donate goods and items, food, money to other nations.
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