Ndigbo are Nigerians and based on their God given talents expect to be the best they can be, in present day Nigeria. Unfortunately, a few of their kith and kin, who consider themselves to be their acclaimed leaders have consciously or unconsciously taken actions that now appear detrimental to the progress of Ndigbo. A comparative analysis of the pre-war Nigeria Igbo leadership and the presumed leadership of today, leaves no one in doubt on the current state of affairs of Ndigbo.
The current generation of Igbo leadership, appears to have turned the principles of leadership of a people to leadership of the self. The consequences of their actions have become obvious.The great Zik of Africa, through visionary and strategic actions, emerged as the political leader of Ndigbo. A role he played creditably, in his active years. He mentored leaders and successors with the mission to serve and promote Igbo interest. With the Igbo leadership project concluded, he moved on to the National scene where he achieved great success for Nigeria.
So, who are those playing the Zik-like roles for Ndigbo and working unashamedly to protect Igbo interest rather than pursuing self promoting goals.Ndigbo use the analogy of a broom stick and a bunch of broom sticks to explain the advantages of operating as a group, rather than, as individuals. We know how easy it is to break a broom stick which is akin to dispensing with an individual and the consequences of attempting to subvert group interests. This is the missing link, discovered by Ndigbo, while coping with the demands of a new Nigeria, without the active participation of Zik.
It compelled them, to come together, to form Ohanaeze. Their motivating inspiration is captured in the meaning of the word Ohanaeze which means the people and their king. When the leaders and the led, have a common goal and work together to achieve it, who can stop them, from accomplishing their set targets?If the Igbo must recover as a people in Nigeria, they must rise and restore Ohanaeze to its original goals as set out in its constitution.
The implications of handpicked officers from a unity list to become National Executive Officers has proved to be detrimental to the future and progress of Ndigbo. The undemocratic procedure that led to the emergence of Ohanaeze officers, goes against the Igbo core value of apprenticeship and grain of our democracy. You cannot give what you don’t have. If the current leadership of Ohanaeze is allowed to continue to sideline Ndigbo, it may inflict the greatest damage to Ndigbo at a most critical time in the history of Nigeria.
A case in point is the new concept of holding Ohanaeze meetings in the banquet hall of Imo State Government with handpicked participants purporting to represent Ndigbo. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the key issue canvassed in the banquet hall meeting was the decision not to accept the recommendations of the Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops. Ndigbo are therefore, challenging them to point at one single accomplishment for Ndigbo or Ohanaeze since the commencement of their tenure.What has become of Imeobi meetings, which served as the bedrock of Ohanaeze. It is on record that not a single Imeobi meeting has taken place under Prof Obiozor’s tenure as President-General.
Imeobi is the single most important organ of Ohanaeze. It is the rapid response group, it approves recommendations from Ohanaeze National Executive Committee (NEC), for final adoption by the General Assembly. Imeobi provides the platform for all Igbo politicians , irrespective of party affiliations, Igbo leaders from various social and economic sectors, professionals, technocrats and diaspora leaders, to come together, to discuss critical matters of Igbo interest and take appropriate decisions which become binding on all. If Imeobi has been rendered non existent, what could be Obiozor’s motives?
On a different note, we bring to remembrance the promised support to the Prof Osita Ogbu-led Alaigbo Development Fund (ADF). The South East Governors promised a take off fund of 500 million as seed money, furnished office in Owerri and other forms of support. Information available shows that non of these promises has been honoured. The Obiozor-led NEC of Ohanaeze will be doing Ndigbo, a lot of good, if they could focus their attention on ADF.
One of the greatest embarrassments is the ongoing activity, seemingly by Ohanaeze, to ensure the emergence of an Onye Igbo as President of Nigeria. Has this project become an Imo State Government project or an Igbo affair. What has Ohanaeze leadership done other than to divert attention and create confusion in the minds of Ndigbo. The quest remains, “who are they really working with? what strategies have they adopted? Who beyond Ala-Igbo, are they talking to? Who have they consulted in Igbo land to achieve any buy-in and collective action? How are they relating with Igbo leading politicians who have declared interest to contest for the Presidency of Nigeria? and what intelligence do they have on those we know may declare interest? There are too many questions yearning for answers.Whichever way, an Imeobi meeting with the confluence of minds would have very easily resolved this matter and proffered our best line of action in our quest to present our best candidates for the position of the Presidency of Nigeria.Prof Obiozor owes Ndigbo good leadership of Ohanaeze. The Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops have provided him with a template for success . Further delay in the convening of Imeobi meeting may adversely affect the fortunes of Ohanaeze and Ndigbo in Nigeria and Prof Obiozor will be held responsible.