From Magnus Eze, Enugu
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday, took a swipe at Igbo leaders for not being in touch with the people.
It said the hangover of the every Monday sit-at-home called by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) even long after the group had suspended the call, showed that South East leaders were not in control of the region.
National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Alex Ogbonnia, made the assertion in a speech titled: “If Zik were alive,” which he delivered at the second Igbo Nsukka Zik Annual Merit Award 2021, with the theme: “Preserving Zik’s legacies for national unity;” at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.
The event was organised by the Igbo Nsukka United Front in honour of the foremost nationalist and first President of Nigeria. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe.
Ogbonnia extolled the virtuous of Azikiwe describing him as the greatest Nigerian with national appeal that has ever lived. He noted that Zik’s greatness derived from how he deployed his intellect and knowledge to redirect the thought process and orientation of not only the people of Nigeria but the entire African continent.
He said Azikiwe was not an ideological bigot but a change agent “animated by pragmatism of an eclectic nature.”
Pointing out that the most intricate and complex challenge to the Igbo at present was the case of the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, Ogbonnia said if Zik were alive, he would have counselled for political solution to the issue.
He called Kanu a persuasive visionary charismatic leader whose followership was catholic, saying that the agitation for Biafra which he leads has inadvertently become the opium of the Igbo masses.
Ogbonnia further stated that “If Zik were alive, he would have impressed it on Mr. President that the case of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has far gone beyond the Judiciary and that political solution is the most realistic potent option for the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“If Zik were alive, he would have invited all the serving governors, senators, national assembly members, ministers, the clergy, the business moguls, youth leaders, women groups and other social movements in the South East with a view to addressing the Igbo needs in Nigeria. Unfortunately, the political leaders have for long delinked themselves from the masses thereby creating enormous legitimacy crises in the South East. For instance, the observance of sit-at-home in the South East is to the defiance of the relevant States and local governments. Obviously, a Zik is needed to fill the gap and to reinstate the confidence of the masses in government.”