Apex Igbo sociocultural organisation, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, on Wednesday pleaded with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to reconsider the seven- day sit-at-home order it issued in the Southeast from November 5 to November 11.
This, Ohanaeze explained, is to enable the governorship election for Anambra State scheduled for November 6 hold.
In a statement by its spokesman, Alex Ogbonnia, Ohanaeze noted that Anambra State is the economic live wire of the Southeast with an impressive steady growth trajectory and should not be destroyed with the planned disruption of its election
The organisation also appealed to Southeast Governors through their chairman Dave Umahi to convene an emergency meeting of Igbo stakeholders and youth leaders for the purpose of addressing the legitimacy crisis in the Southeast, especially as it relates to Anambra State election and the political solution for the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“For instance, Anambra State showcases the best rural road network and rural community development in the South East if not in the entire Nigeria. Anambra is home to the greatest number of small, medium and large scale industries in the South East. Most recently, Anambra has added a cargo airport to its resource base.
“Above all, Onitsha is the largest market in West Africa. The implication of the above illustration is that Anambra State is the melting pot of Igbo traders and artisans. It stands to reason that Anambra is the big Iroko tree that provides a shade for most Igbos.
“Apart from the shade, it also hosts the numerous birds that perch on the branches. Therefore any harm to the Iroko tree will create untold disastrous chain reactions and catastrophe for the Igbo”, the statement read in part.
While pleading with the IPOB to rescind the lock down plan, Ohanaeze Ndigbo called on Umahi to convene an emergency meeting of Igbo stake holders and the youth leaders for the purpose of addressing the legitimacy crisis in the Southeast, especially as it relates to Anambra State election and the political solution for the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Ogbonnia said: “It is important to point out that one of the causes of the crisis of confidence in the Southeast is because of the yawning gap between the youths and indeed the masses, on one side and the political leaders on the other.
“Therefore, the leadership of the various youth groups should not be excluded in any meeting aimed at resolving the current crises in Igbo land. In other words, the youths want to be fully convinced of our commitment to their plight”.
The organisation also reiterated its solidarity with any group that protests the Igbo alienation in the project Nigeria with a caution for restraint, maturity and wisdom.
“It is based on the foregoing that Ohanaeze adopts the philosophy of dialogue, negotiations in coalition with other concerned groups that comprise the Southern and Middle Belt Leadership Forum led by Chief E K Clarke.
“It is also lamentable that the burial ceremony for the Afara Ukwu born Chief Mrs Victoria Aguiyi Ironsi, slated for November 5 in Umuahia, Abia State may be drastically affected by the prevailing Igbo social climate. General JTU Aguiyi Ironsi represents so many things to the Igbo and we owe his soul a duty”, Ogbonnia said.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo also urged the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willy Obiano to convene a joint meeting of the Anambra State chapter of Ohanaeze Ndigbo led by Chief Emeka Udodeme and the Association of Town Union (ASATU) led by Barr. Titus Akpudo with a view to activating meetings in all the 181 towns of Anambra State.
It further called on traditional rulers and religious leaders to brace up in their roles as the cultural and spiritual leaders of society, expressing worry that the serenity, tranquility and aggressive entrepreneurship for which the Igbo were known were gradually yielding to the unknown dark forces.
“Ambassador Prof. George Obiozor, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, is more perturbed when the Anambra ordeal is juxtaposed with the calibre of personages for which the State is known; some of them include Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Dr. Alex. Ekwueme, Professor Chinua Achebe, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Professor Chike Obi, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Cardinal Francis Arinze, Professor Dora Akunyili, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, Dr. Nwafor Orizu, Professor Keneth Dike, Peter Obi, Professor ABC Nwosu, Engr. Arthur Eze, Dr. Chris Ngige, Igwe Alfred Achebe, etc and numerous young and old billionaires.
“In many respects, Anambra is the engine that propels the Igbo entreprise. As elders we should not fold our arms while the goat dies in the tether.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo is of the conviction that the disruption of the Anambra State election and the adverse consequences are a major setback to the Igbo civilisation”.