Nigeria

Anambra election: Ohanaeze asks IPOB to shelve planned lockdown of South-east

The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has appealed to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to reconsider its decision to lock down the South-East for seven days.

The group said the appeal became necessary to enable the Anambra state governorship election scheduled for November 6 to hold.

IPOB had threatened to lock down the South-East for seven days from November 5, 2021, if its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is not released from detention on or before November 4, 2021.

Ohanaeze, in a statement issued on Wednesday by its national publicity secretary, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, said, “It is important to note that Anambra State is the economic live wire of the South East with an impressive steady growth trajectory. For instance, Anambra State showcases the best rural road network and rural community development in the South East if not in 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.”

While pleading with IPOB to rescind the lockdown plan, Ohanaeze Ndigbo requested that the chairman of the South-East Governors Forum, Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi should convene an emergency meeting of Igbo stakeholders and youth leaders for the purpose of addressing the legitimacy crisis in the South-East, especially as it relates to the Anambra state election and the political solution for the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

The statement partly read: “It is important to point out that one of the causes of the crisis of confidence in the South East 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.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo reiterates its solidarity with any group that protests the Igbo alienation in the project Nigeria with 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.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo urges 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. The traditional rulers, Archbishops, Bishops and the Clergy are also requested to brace up in their roles as the cultural and spiritual leaders of society.

“Ambassador Professor George Obiozor, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide is very perturbed that the serenity, tranquillity and aggressive entrepreneurship for which the Igbo are known are gradually yielding to the unknown dark forces. He 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 enterprise. As elders, we should not fold our arms while the goat dies in the tether.”

Ohanaeze, however, warned that the disruption of the Anambra state election and the adverse consequences would be a major setback for the Igbos.

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