YOU CAN'T INTIMIDATE IGBO-OBI, OHANEZE LEADER TELLS RIOTERS
Following the carnage in some northern states in the aftermath of the recent presidential election, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, the apex socio-cultural organization of the South East said the Igbo who have always been at the receiving end of all ethnic-cum-sectarian killings in the North should not be forced to protect themselves.?
Its chairman in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, Mr Nwabueze Obi, told Daily Sun that his people had been pushed to the wall. He warned that the trend, if not urgently checked, could lead to a crisis of more calamitous magnitude. He challenged President Jonathan to ensure all Nigerians are guaranteed their security wherever they are:
'We are saying that the Nigerian nation must protect the Igbo man. We call on Jonathans to protect the Igbo man. It appears that the Igbo man has become an endangered specie. We protest passionately that the President should protect the Igbo man who is doing his lawful duty wherever he finds himself. Otherwise, we might be forced to protect ourselves.
'No sane nation will stand hands akimbo and watch the destruction of human lives. People react differently to situations of this nature. We can't rule it (civil war) out. The law says that you can go to any length to protect your life if it is in serious danger. So, we are not ruling it (civil war) out but we are prayerful that it doesn't lead to that. No nation survives a second civil war.'
Nwabueze denied the alleged reprisal attacks against northerners in Onitsha. He said he was never aware that any northerner lost his life either in Onitsha or elsewhere in the East because people made concerted effort to ferry them to safety: He said: 'Our people were very much involved in taking them across the River Niger to Asaba because we believe in the sanctity of human lives. Our elders and leaders are appealing to our people to be calm but I don't know how we can continue to tell them to be calm when our people are losing their lives in the North. He also spoke on some other issues. Excerpts:
Igbo are developing Abuja
The facts are there. For instance, 70 percentage and hotels, are owned by the Ibo. These hotels were not officially allocated to them, but were bought from the original allottees. They invested here because they believe in one Nigeria. Top Rank Hotels, Agura Hotel, New Chelsea Hotel, Bolingo Hotel, Harmonia Hotel, Petrus Hotel, Crystal Palace Hotel, Onyx Hotel, Protea Hotels and lots more, are all owned by the Igbo. We have substantial investments.
You don't have such investments if you don't believe in the city and in one Nigeria. Without mincing words, we are the people that are practicising one Nigeria. We cannot, after investing so much be intimidated. Nobody will run us out but we are promising other fellow Nigerians that we will live with them within the provisions and the ambits of the law.?
The elite apathy in Ohaneze ?
We are going to tell them to drive the Igbo programme so that we can articulate and capture the essence of the Igbo man. The elite cannot exist in isolation. There is no way they can function without the entirety of the Igbo nation, the so-called downtrodden and ordinary people.. We are using this opportunity to tell them to allow this apathy end except if they want us to go into extinction as a nation. If they don't act now it will catch up with their children. Whatever comfort they think they have now will be lost because their children will suffer the effect of this apathy. We are appealing to them to come out because we need them and everybody else. Everybody is important in this business of driving the Ibo cause.
Factionalization of Ohaneze
There is no faction that I know of that is in existence. It is only individuals within Ohaneze who have one problem or the other with fellow Ohaneze. It is the people, not the body. We don't have any faction. We are one. There is no other body here in the FCT that is operating a parallel executive with the Ohaneze Ndi'Igbo.
The apathy is just typical of the modern day Ibo man and is not in our character or culture. People want to live individually and independently in a nation where nationals are beginning to come together to articulate and drive their agenda so as to get whatever is their entitlement within their national economy.