EZE-IGBO INSTITUTION WAS OJUKWU'S IDEA -OHAZULIKE
• Late Ojukwu
Eze Ndigbo of Lagos State and President General Ndi Eze Ndigbo in Diaspora, Eze Nwabueze Ohazulike bares his mind on the successor to late Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu. He speaks also on Boko Haram, Sovereign National Conference, President of Igbo origin, agenda for President Goodluck Jonathan and the way forward for Nigeria among others
Oghenekevwe Laba brings the excerpts:
Really, everyone saw what happened and I believe they passed. If previous elections went this way, at least, the world might have known that we are getting mature in politics. Although, there is no way an election would hold that there will not be. But, no doubt, INEC Chairman Professor Attahiru Jega distinguished himself controversies.
Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu
Ojukwu is my mentor. The setting up of Eze - Ndigbo was Ojukwu's idea. The idea is to unite Ndigbo both in Nigeria and Diaspora. Ndigbo is an ethnic group governed by Igbo Union. It was in existence before the Nigeria Civil War. It was however abolished by Late General Aguiyi Ironsi. After the abolition, there was no instrument of uniting the Igbos. When Ojukwu came to lime light, he resuscitated Ndigbo.
He became the Eze Ndigbo Gburu Gburu. We use it to call our people to order. If there is any problem, we call them together through Ndigbo where they are advise on the need to be upright in whatever they are doing. When an Igbo man feels cheated, he can go to Ndigbo of his local government to lay down the complaint and they would come down to help solve the problem instead of generating great trouble.
We all love him. It was a shock to the Igbo nation that we have lost a rare gem. But one cannot fight the Almighty God. And we have all put our solace in Him. Once one is born, the next thing is the day one would join his ancestors. There is no running away from it. It is a debt everyone owes. That is why when death occurs, it is being taken in good faith because nobody can query God.
Successor to Ojukwu
The successor of Eze Ndigbo Gburu Gburu would be manifested by the Almighty God. If one should come out to say he is electing a leader, that would be termed as political. Among the five Eastern States and their brothers in Rivers, Akwa-Iborm and Cross- Rivers States, God would definitely bring one person among them to take his place. Why Ojukwu is different is because he does not take bribe. He believes on the cause he knows is the best. He has no time to do what he believes that is not right. People were calling him warlord. That he led his people to war.
Those who know what happened in 1966 before the war started in 1967 must agree with me that Ojukwu did not just come out one morning to declare State of Biafra. He declared Biafra because of the failure of Aburi Accord. And the declaration of Biafra is not Ojukwu's making. It is a collective decision of Ndigbo that since the Aburi Accord failed, they have no alternative than to go. If you remember what Ojukwu said in 1966, if you can agree with me and calculate what Ojukwu agitated for and what came out of that Aburi Accord, you would find out in Nigeria today that if Nigeria goes the other way, it would have been better. We would have been better, with good economy and higher standards of living. So, Ojukwu being head of Biafra was not his own making. He did it because the people wanted to go since there was a lot of cheating.
Governance in Nigeria
I give kudos to President Goodluck Jonathan despite what people may say about him. A President in his first tenure in office with bombs were exploding here and there and he still has the courage to continue tackling the economy of this nation. I believe he is doing marvelously. Rome was not built in a day. If Nigerians want President Goodluck Jonathan to achieve the objectives they are seeking, he would do it. But if they don't want it and he fails, that may be the end of Nigeria. I don't see any other person that can have the courage that he has; thinking of Nigeria first before any other thing. Nigerians are urging him to do this and that. But he is not a military man.
He is a career president, whom I believe that as a lecturer in the university has a way to lead the people. He cannot just give orders like a military man. Jonathan has tried in the area of power for this nation. Power sector reform was initiated by former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, but the saboteurs of this country did not allow him to achieve his objective. Also former President, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua came in and the same thing happened. And now, President Jonathan came in and insisted that we must have constant electricity. I must tell the truth. We are enjoying electricity in this part of Lagos that I am. Unlike before, where did you see light? They may bring it for just two to three hours a day and that is all for the whole day.
I believe that he has really tried in that area. This issue of power is what is disturbing our economy. A lot of companies have run away because there is no constant power supply. But now, we are getting to it. I am warning all the advisers of Mr. President to be very careful with the kind of advice they give to him. All the sycophants who believe that everybody would go to Aso Rock and share money should forget about that. Let us think of Nigeria first before ourselves aggrandizement or self interests. So, let us advise President Jonathan in the right ways. He is a listening President, and I believe that he is going to deliver.
Creation of states
Some Igbo groups came here agitating that we, the Igbos were marginalized. And I asked to know what they meant by we were marginalized. And they retorted that I should look at Nigeria and find out whether there is any presence of government infrastructures in any part of Igbo land. And I came to find out a lot of things when I looked into it. No presence of government infrastructure in Igbo land. Even if it is there, it is not more than one or two. The rest are peoples efforts.
The worst part of it is that when they are creating regions, zones, the Igbo are always left behind. Now we have four regions in this country: Northern Regions, Western Region, Eastern Region and Mid- Western Region: Among these regions, we have six- zones in them. All the zones have six states and it is only in Igbo land that you have five. I quite agree that the successive federal leadership are marginalizing Igbo. They do not want us to measure up with other zones. An additional state is inevitable.
I believe in the Nigerian state! If I were the President's Advisers, I will tell him to focus on other things that would improve our economy other than oil. Let's focus on other things like Agriculture and industries that must be properly looked-into. Companies that cannot feed themselves are not worthy to be there and we need made in Nigeria products that can compare with other developed world. There is need to challenge ourselves. We need challenge in this country.
The challenge is that each zone should concentrate on what they specialize on or know best. For instance, the Northerners should concentrate on cottons and groundnuts which are their major exports that can improve the Nigerian economy. As for the Easterners, they should go after their kernels and Palm-oil. In fact, it was from the South-East that the Malaysians took palm-oil palm that made them to be the largest producers in the whole world at the moment.
Then, the Western region specializes in Timber and Cocoa . The premier of Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo used produce of Timber and Cocoa to the betterment of the region. And for the Eastern Region, Michael Okpara who was the premier of the Eastern Region equally used products like Abakaliki Rice and Yams, Palm-kernels and Palm-oil. But presently, everybody is focusing on oil. But it should never be so. There is no need to diversify our economy for us to maintain a balance. So, there is need to focus our attention on food production, industries and enough of exports.
The removal of fuel subsidy
Removal of the oil subsidy should be the best for Nigeria . But I would advise that our refineries should be thoroughly overhauled and new ones put in place so as to overcome all the problems that are besieging us.
Political future of Igbos
This nation is owned by all of us. At least, the South-East should be given a chance to also produce a president that would rule this country.
If only that would solve our problems, I am in support of it. There are a lots of lapses here and there. So, if that would give the best solution for this country to remain as one Nigeria, it is acceptable.
What are those lapses?
As I was saying earlier about this zoning, if the zoning goes into the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and signed by the President, nobody would be talking about Sovereign National Conference or whatever. And nobody would feel cheated. But when you feel cheated, you would be agitating over this and that. There are some zones that have never produced a president and these zones would not like the way we are doing it now. And that is why some people are calling for the Sovereign National Conference. If the zoning were to be in the constitution, nobody would be clamouring for the Sovereign National Conference. It would only be left for you to wait for your turn; when it reaches your turn, you produce your best. That should be the way to rule this country.