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Re: “This nonsense must stop” by Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia

Prof. George Obiozor
Major General Lucky Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)
Ambassador Raph Uwechue

My attention has been drawn to a recent publication titled as above and written by Professor Echefuna R. G. Onyebadi.

After reading through the article, I simply concluded that the erudite Professor needed some tutoring.  My duty as a teacher is to continue to teach until the desired result is achieved.

The erudite Professor raised several allegations against  Ndigbo in the South-East of Nigeria, which bothered on the following areas:

  1. Allegation of sidelining Anioma in Iri-ji Ohanaeze Ndigbo: This allegation is unfounded and must have been made out of ignorance.  Let me make it abundantly clear that Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide led by Professor Obiozor did not by any stretch of imagination contemplate Iriji Ceremony in 2021. If Iri-ji was not on Ohanaeze calendar in 2021, how did Prof. Onyebadi come to this unfortunate conclusion? I am persuaded that Prof. Onyebadi is an erudite scholar; and one fundamental ingredient of scholarship is that facts must be crosschecked before going public.
  2. The Ohanaeze Ndigbo; and indeed the Igbo in general  have never relegated the Anioma people to the background in any way. Prof. Onyebadi may not know how Chief Dennis Osadebey, from the Midwest minority ethnic group, became the Opposition Leader in the Mid Western Regional House of Assembly; President of the Senate and subsequently the  Premier of the Midwestern Region, under the platform of NCNC – National Council of Nigerian Citizens, led by the Owelle of Onitsha, Rt Hon. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, GCFR. Time and space may not permit us to enumerate the psychological and material benefits the Anioma derived from the Osadebey political leadership in the Midwestern   government and as the President of the Senate.
  3. The erudite Professor may verify that Ohanaeze Ndigbo shares and rotates its elective positions amongst the 7 Igbo-speaking states of which Anioma/Delta is one. Others include Rivers, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Abia and Imo States. It is based on the equity sharing, zoning and rotation principle that Anioma personages such as  Ambassador Raph Uwechue and Col. Joe Achuzia were at various times elected as the President-General and Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo respectively; and so on. This is Ndigbo for you.
  4. At present, the National Woman Leader of Ohanaeze Ndigbo is Hon. Chief Mrs. Rita Daniels  Chukwuji from Ogwashi Ukwu, Aniocha-South LGA in Delta State. The current President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Delta State is Prince Frank Nwandu.
  5. On the Igbo Day Celebration as cited by Prof. Onyebadi, the Igbo Day was articulated by the headquarters of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.  The above members of the National Executive Committee (Chuwuji and Nwandu) from Anioma will attest that they took part in all the planning until the traditional rulers of Igboland advised against an elaborate cultural extravaganza, because of the mood of the nation. The Igbo Day was therefore fully sublimed to prayers.
  6. As for factions of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Abuja: Ohanaeze Ndigbo is aware that Igbos are enamored with the name Ohanaeze such that some Igbo deviants have chosen to use the name Ohanaeze for commercial purposes. Our consolation is that Igbos are literate enough to discern or distinguish between the legitimate Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide led by Ambassador Professor George Obiozor on one hand and a few renegades on the other.  It is therefore inconceivable that Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, FCT Chapter, led by Elder Barr. Onwu O. Arua will ever sideline the Anioma factor  in its activities.
  7. On his reference to the Asaba Massacre;  It is possible that Professor Onyebadi did not participate in the 50 years Anniversary of the Asaba Massacre in 2020, which he referred to in his write up. Prof. would have recollected the contents of speeches made by Chief Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Chief Nnia Nwodo and other eminent Igbos that gathered to express solidarity with our kit and kin. I was present at the occasion.
  8. It is important to point out that with respect to the January 16, 1966 military coup and the consequent Nigerian Revolution, there was no time the core-Igbo denied the Igbo name – Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu.
  9. On his allegation that Igbos denied the Igbo roots of General LEO Irabor on his appointment as the Chief of Defence Staff: When General Lucky Eluonye Onyenuchea Irabor was appointed the Chief of Defence Staff, what flashed first was General LEO Irabor, his full names were not contained. Chief Nnia Nwodo erroneously ascribed the name Irabor to Edo State. Nwodo, in his characteristic patriotic defence of all Igbo, East, West, North and South, expressed his mind about the orchestrated marginalization of the Igbo in the scheme of things in Nigeria. Shortly after, details emerged that Irabor is our son. The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Ambassador Professor George Obiozor sent a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari thanking him for the appointment to our illustrious son. The letter was made available to the press. Prof. Onyebadi can Google the internet for the letter.
  10. For obvious reasons, Prof. Onyebadi is obsessed with the remarks made by Nwodo but has deliberately ignored the ones made by the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Professor Obiozor.
  11.  My advice goes to Professor Onyebadi. We must use our God-given talent and intellect to make peace and not to fan unnecessary embers of  animosity amongst the Igbo nation. Prof knows that fact is as sacred as it takes some research to locate. As a professor, research is key.
  12. The signs of ambivalence and identity crises that rear ugly heads in the Anioma extraction of Igbo are enough to cause the likes of Chief Dennis Osadebey, Chukwuma Nzeogwu, Joe Achuzia, Ralph Uwechue, etc to turn in their graves.
  13. I have tried to be as plaintive and persuasive as possible without raising issues that will generate Internet debate between the Anioma and core Igbo Internet tigers.

However, the threat by the erudite professor that “if the negative trends highlighted above among so many others are not immediately and properly addressed, arrested, reversed and/or corrected even with open apologies, my people, shall not hesitate to make a retreat and withdraw from anything that has anything to do with Ndigbo of South East extraction forthwith!…. this is a sure promise we shall keep if our South East brethren fail, neglect and/or refuse to retrace their steps and redress the anomalies immediately!..” is to say the least very hasty, unreflective,  uncharitable and misleading.

  1. Finally, we the Igbo elite owe it a duty to educate our followers that Ndigbo are by fate constrained to emphasise the core values that enhance our unity, much more than the fault lines that accentuate our negligible differences.

Chief Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, former Special Adviser (Public Affairs) to former Deputy President of the Senate, is the National Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide

 

 

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