Why Nnia Nwodo’s a courageous, daring leader of Ohaneze
By Obinwa Nnaji.
USAfrica Executive Editor [Nigeria and West Africa].
With just few weeks away, it will be six months since the new leader piloting the affairs of this all important socio-cultural body of a most audacious, brave, industrious and homogeneous people that speak Igbo in Nigeria and the Diaspora – the Ohaneze, came aboard.
The hopefulness that greeted the election of Chief John Nnia Nwodo Jnr., two-time Federal Minister of Transport (Aviation), later Information and one who had been in the race for the presidential ticket of one of the political parties, could not have been a mere fluke. The reverberations could be felt in far flung places away from the Ohaneze Secretariat in Enugu.
It was a night of long knives, horse trading , compromise and final elections which saw Chief Nnia defeating a renowned Professor in a landslide victory to become the President-General of Ohaneze.
Chief Nwodo has been vocal in pushing against the deprivations and marginalization from the 1970s and the maze of problems confronting the Igbo within the polity of Nigeria since 1999 and currently under President Buhari in 2017.
He has proven to be a leader with grit; someone who has the heart of a bull, intellect, courage, industry and acceptability; a leader who will seek solutions to the harsh evidences of marginalization of the Igbo and the old East in all Federal appointments, agencies and parastatals.
Who can challenge and speak out without fear or favour against the domineering policy. Who will challenge oligarchy. Who would look the mafia whether in Kaduna or Abuja in the face and say enough is enough. The alleged wanton killings of innocent Igbos by Federal security agencies, during peaceful protests aggitating for their rights as covered by the Geneva United Nations Rights of protests and demonstrations, should no longer go unpunished and must be made a criminal case of murder and genocide before world bodies and their aliases.
The horror and the consequences of abandoned Federal roads in the east that have become death traps sending hundreds of Igbos and other road users to their untimely death. Must Igbo land continue to quiver and remain cowed because it bravely fought a civil war decades ago to defend its people from total annihilation. If we keep capitulating , what future holds out for our children and generation yet unborn.
How do we meaningfully engage other Federating blocs in peaceful and positive dialogue to resolve the myriad of contentious issues and now is time to get cracking. For so long have we been deceived with white elephant projects – the ever tale talk on building second Niger Bridge including several eye-popping gigantic projects that have remained on the drawing board for ages.
The Igbo needed a man of Nnia Nwodo’s stature that commands respect, universally and has friends cutting across ethnic groups and religious divide of the country. A man who then at University of Ibadan trounced other students including Yorubas ‘sons of the soil’ to emerge President of the Students Union. Worthy of note that Nnia since assuming leadership of Ohaneze has begun the bark and bite — to give the Igbo a stronger voice.
Suffice it to say we must not only concentrate in asking and demanding for our rights, but adopt a policy of looking inwards to develop Igbo land. In looking inwards, there is the urgent need to establish an all purpose Igbo Village, east of the Niger, which would be all encompassing; developing and showcasing the best of the Igbo in science, information technology, tradesmen and artisans, iron and metalic craftsmen, music, sports, literature, agriculture and other areas. The potentials are better imagined. The Igbo should partner with more overseas investors to turn Igbo land to prime investment havens and tourist centres in West Africa.
Goods and materials from the Igbo villages would find ready markets in Europe, America, Canada, Asia and the Far East including Africa, thus earning for our people the much sought after foreign currencies.
A people endowed by nature with muscular energy and knowledge of industry, self reliance and never say die spirit cannot continue to play second fiddle nay second hand citizens. No never! One can say without any fear of contradiction that Igbo businessmen and women worldwide remain one of Nigeria’s treasure base in terms of individual wealth made genuinely through dint of hard work. All they need is a man they can trust and the rest will be history. There must be a synergy with our multi billionaires to begin to show more interest back home. Of course, a transparent and well focused Ohaneze should be able to attract the best of our intelligentsia overseas, doctors and paramedics, engineers, educationists and industrialists to return home and develop Iboland urgently.
It would thereafter checkmate our chaps who run helter skelter after moving cars to sell their wares on the streets of Lagos and Abuja under severe risks of being arrested or being knocked down by vehicles.
The challenge therefore is enormous . The Ohaneze mantle on Nnia could be optimized. My reminiscences record same Nnia Nwodo, Ike Ukehe, as having told this writer about the motto of the British Security agency, approximately, that “Only those who dare, win.” This motto has inspired the Ohaneze leader, all along. The stake is so high. So if you dare, you win. A food for thought for all Igbo east of the Niger, Delta, Rivers and the Diaspora.