The Igbo apex socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has described as untrue the statement credited to the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi, that the Igbo cannot be entrusted with the office of the Nigerian presidency.
Ohanaeze noted that Akanbi’s attack on the Igbo was not based on verifiable evidence but rather self-serving.
Oba Akanbi had in a statement issued through his Chief Press Secretary, Alli Ibraheem, stated, “No Nigerian will feel secure in the hands of a leader whose ethnic attachment deprived other Nigerians of their rights.”
He further accused the Igbo of preventing people from other parts of the country from acquiring property in their domain, adding that the style by the people of the South-East region was barbaric.
But reacting to the allegations on Tuesday, President-General of Ohanaeze, Prof George Obiozor, described them as untrue and advised Oba Akanbi to “undergo some tutelage under some more experienced cosmopolitan urbane intelligent monarchs,” stating that a well-adjusted traditional ruler is known by being open-minded towards all, especially people of other ethnic groups that may be found in his domain.
Obiozor, in a statement issued through the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, stated, “It is self-evident that Nigeria is a beleaguered country that urgently needs nation building; inflammatory and incendiary remarks from monarchs and the highly placed are antithetical to the peace and unity of Nigeria.”
The Ohanaeze boss, however, explained that one of the reasons the traditional rulers were insulated from partisan politics was to avoid an overdrive or the kind of overzealousness exhibited by Oba Akanbi in an effort to retire a gift from his candidate for the presidency in 2023.
The statement read in part, “In promoting his preferred candidate, he has committed a fallacy of hasty generalisation when he stated that the style by South-Easterners was barbaric; the Igbo couldn’t be trusted with power, among others.
“Surely, such prejudice, innuendo and vitriolic group vilifications against the entire Igbo nation is most unreflective of a royal father whose primary duty is to sow seeds of unity in his kingdom and beyond.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Igbo are adventurous nation builders; they are found in all parts of Nigeria and beyond.
“They make friends easily and also feel at home with their children in all parts of the world. Record across the world indicates that the Igbo are branded in Midas touch. They quickly learn the language and culture of the host community, with a view to contribute towards the socio-economic growth of the community. The people of other ethnic groups that had their National Service in Igbo Land can always attest to the friendliness and hospitality of the Igbo people during their service years; some ended up marrying people of the Igbo tribe.”
“The wild claims that the Igbo prevent people from the other parts of the country from acquiring properties in their domain or have an obnoxious policy of depriving other Nigerians of their rights cannot be substantiated. On the other hand, it is inconceivable that a group that builds modern houses in all parts of the country will prevent other ethnics from building in their homestead.
“One would think that the morbid fabrication of falsehood is a terrible mischief, only for the uninitiated. What else? Oba Akanbi is drawn to his paradox, where he acknowledged the damage done to the Igbo during the Nigerian civil war, and at the same time condemned the agitation by Igbo youth, such as the ESN, for their clamour for inclusiveness based on equity and justice after about 53 years of the Nigerian Civil War.
“The former President of Nigeria and one of the foremost detribalised Nigerian statesmen, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has admonished that for peace to reign in Nigeria, the South-East region should be given a sense of belonging by allowing it to produce a President for Nigeria.
“The President-General of the Afenifere, an umbrella organisation for the Yoruba ethnic group, has also explained that going by the rotation and zoning principle which has been in practice in the country, it is only fair that the South-East region be given a chance to produce the President. Several other eminent Yoruba icons are also in the advocacy for the presidency to be zoned to the South-East region of Nigeria.
“Interestingly, the credentials of the presidential aspirants from the South-East region are not only impressive but very intimidating. These are well-accomplished, brilliant, robust, creative thinkers who have won elections at various levels; some even held offices as ministers and discharged their duties most creditably without blemish.
“In them is a convergence of both integrity and ingenuity. Furthermore, the very area that Nigerians and indeed the global community can easily come to a consensus is that the Igbo are ingenious, transformative, wealth creators, cosmopolitan, hardworking and tenacious game changers.
“Some of the benefits that Nigeria stands to gain by a Nigerian President of the Igbo extraction are that Nigeria will exit poverty, unemployment, insecurity and calamitous fragile state status. Second, justice will be seen to have been served.
“Emphatically, it is an assertion guided by reason and experience that any country that glamorises injustice can never progress. So, the choices before Nigeria, for our unborn generations, are very clear: either on the path of sustainable national development or on an irretrievable abysmal tailspin.”
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