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Can Buhari’s visit change South East’s perpetual cycles of hope, despair

3 months ago | 183



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By Anthony Isibor.

 

WITH the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Owerri, Imo State, on Thursday, September, 9, it is hoped that the tension and the animosity that has been perceived to exist between the South-East and the present federal administration will begin to disappear.

Professor George Obiozor, President General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide, while speaking during the visit also believed that it will mark the beginning of a new chapter of dialogue, cooperation and understanding between Ndigbo and Buhari’s administration.

Realnews recalls that the visit had earlier raised a lot of controversies, especially the threats from various groups, including IPOB, which had warned its members to stay away from it. The group had declared that Nigeria’s president is not “welcomed into Imo State, Biafra Land…”

According to Obiozor, Buhari’s visit and presence in Igboland and Owerri, Imo State in particular, has more than political significance. “In manner of symbolism, this visit has thrown light into the cloudiness and doubts surrounding the perception of the relations between the federal government and Ndigbo.

“Your presence reassures us that there is still reason for optimism for Nigeria and Nigerian unity. I feel very pleased in my capacity as President General Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide and on behalf of the galaxy of Ndigbo leaders gathered here today, and the entire Igbo Nation, to welcome Your Excellency wholeheartedly to Igboland.

“Mr. President, after all Nigeria has gone through in its nearly 60 years of chequered history of crises and continuity and the spectacular patriotic role of Ndigbo to ensure its unity and survival, the consistent perception that the Igbos are separatists and secessionists agitators is a historical fallacy.

While urging the president to disregard all the misconceptions about the Igbos as false, as the people of the zone are progressive and lovers of peace.

“This is who we are. Our Igbo adage says “Ojemba Enwe Iro”, literally translated - A traveler makes no enemies. 

“Indeed, if the truth must be told, Ndigbo are the most federating unit among all Nigerian citizens. Generally speaking, anywhere in Nigeria you don’t find the Igbos, run away something is wrong there. Igbos are market people and travel adventurers. Consequently, what defines the Igbo character is propensity for friendliness and harmonious peaceful coexistence and spirit of universalism of mankind.

“Also another misconception of Ndigbo is that Igbos cannot speak with one voice, ironically that is another fallacy. There are more things that unite Ndigbo than divide them. But the Igbo spirit defies conditions that are obstacles for the expression of their individual or group opinion.

“This sense of egalitarianism is what defines the Igbo system of governance based on liberal democracy and social justice,” he said.

“Mr. President, it is in this context, that we see a new dawn in your distinguished presence in Igboland and believe that on your return to Abuja the significance and substance of this visit will form a new foundation of a platform for meaningful dialogue on critical issues of concern to the Igbo Nation, he added..

He also called on President Buhari to ensure good governance based on equity, justice and fairness to all the citizens. As it is the means to ensure that Nigerians stay together as one united, indivisible entity.

“Mr. President, in spite of all the threats of secessionism or separatism facing the country, there is no doubt that no secessionist element can succeed in Nigeria provided there is good governance.

“Ndigbo are committed to Nigerian unity and there is news for those trying to push us out of Nigeria. Ndigbo in Nigeria are like fish in the ocean, no matter how rough the storm is, it cannot drive the fish out of the ocean.

“Mr. President, nothing is more important to the Igbos in Nigeria today, more than the restoration of serious sense of belonging and the spirit of Nigeria’s founding fathers based on one nation, one destiny. And we believe this is possible through devolution of power ensuring a sense of balance in our political system, he said.

Obiozor had also used the opportunity to draw the attention of President Buhari to the several challenges confronting the people of the zone.

“Your Excellency, the most urgent and imperative need of Ndigbo today is security. The security of Ndigbo in Nigeria and beyond has become a compelling primary responsibility of serious concern for Ndigbo.

Regrettably our South East Zone has recently become a theatre of conflict, negating the peace-loving nature of our people. In this context Ohanaeze Ndigbo calls for the establishment of a zonal and state police apparatus to support and complement the existing Federal Security architecture.

“It is in this same vein that Ohanaeze Ndigbo appeals to you, Mr. President, to see to the release of Igbo youths detained by various security agencies across the country,” he said. 

He appreciated Buhari for the infrastructural work being undertaken by the federal government in the South East, especially the 2nd Niger Bridge.

According to him, it symbolizes the unity and bridge across the various regions of the country. However, the South East zone is in dire need of more infrastructure sponsored by the federal government amongst these are roads, bridges, railways and ports. It is the considered view of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, one that is also shared by the Igbo people that federal investments in these critical areas will revitalize the economy and will have the tangential effect of dousing the youth restiveness and unemployment in the zone. 

- Sept, 10, 2021 @ 16:49 GMT |

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