BY OSWALD AGWU
All Igbo Socio-cultural groups have been called upon to eschew unnecessary competitions and unite formidably to advance the unity and welfare of the Igbo nation.
The chairman, Southeast Governors Forum and governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Umahi made this call on Friday, October 18, at Ebonyi State Government House, Abakaliki, when he received in audience a group known as the Igbo Leaders of Thought, led by Professor Ben Nwabueze.
Umahi who extolled the personalities of the members of the group, urged them to work in harmony with the apex Igbo Socio-Cultural group, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo and others to create a common front for promoting Igbo identity and survival.
He noted that mutual bickering, confrontations and castigation of leaders only constitute a clog in the wheel of progress of the people while depriving the zone of its rightful place in the general affairs of the country.
While commending the group for its selfless and Non-partisan stance, he challenged it to employ its intellectual character to formulate a roadmap towards encouraging Igbo entrepreneurs to invest homewards for the interest of the people.
He however, noted that differences were inevitable in any human relationship, but advocated the application of wisdom and love in handling disagreements at all quarters.
Umahi emphasized: “I said to Mr President that Ohaneze cannot outlaw other organizations in the Igboland. It’s not possible.
“We cannot compete with one another, but Ohaneze must get involved.
“I feel that what they cannot see immediately, you will see; what you can’t see the Ikenga can see, and what you can’t see, Nzuko Umunna may see.
“But the most important thing is that we have a single objective, which is to help our people.
“This idea of confrontation ‘I no dey for it’.
“If you are a very good leader, it is for a limited time and if you are a bad leader, it’s also for a limited time. Leaders are made by God and God alone.
“Any group I’m going to host that will castigate any governor or Mr President, I will switch off the microphone. I’m not saying it and hiding.
“I tell my people if you castigate any governor, you leave my cabinet because we are so marginalised in the past
“They say in the past our poverty index is the highest.
“So, what has this castigation of other governors helped us to achieve?
“Different cultural groups in Igboland should be able to interact with one another.
“I believe that this level of intellectuals should provide different roadmap in terms of providing what should be the need of our people in southeast; in terms of talking to our very wealthy brothers and sisters whose 99.9 per cent wealth are outside Igboland.
“These cultural groups should be able to intervene in disputes because nothing is greater than peace. Even in our homes we have differences with our wives.
“How do we expect not to have differences with our brothers, but it is by wisdom that we will progress.
“In every of our hate speech, we must note that we have 12 million Igbos outside our land.
“These hate speeches are like igniting another coup, so we must be patient. What we don’t get can’t be gotten from fight or castigation.”
Presenting their mission statement, the deputy chairman of the group, Prof. Ejike Chinweite, representing the chairman, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, explained that the group came into existence in the fourth quarter of 2013, with the objective of actively contributing to the dimensional fight, to add value to the collective effort to uplift the Igbo nation.
He added that the group was aimed at providing intellectual perspective to Igbo people’s participation and competitions with other nation group in project-Nigeria.
While he paid tribute to Ohaneze as the apex socio cultural group in the Igbo nation that have served the thought of Igbo land for over four decades with degree of competency, he noted that the group has excellently distinguished itself well and made undisputed effort in moulding the nation, adding that the Igbos cannot accept the position of last in the queue in affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Chinweite who disagreed with the saying that the Igbos have no competent and conducive leadership, said the group was poised to correcting the unsatisfactory state of affairs, insisting that the agitation for Igbo identity must be a multi-faceted one.
While congratulating the governor for his second term election, he commended his developmental strides, leadership ingenuity in Ebonyi State in particular, and the Southeast in general.
He said they were in the state to interface with the governor on matters of importance to the zone as well as encourage his innovative ideas in governance.