Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
President Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, has said Igbo people would not fight again through armed struggle to achieve a Biafra republic.
Nwodo, who spoke while delivering the 9th Convocation lecture of the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University at the Igbariam campus, Anambra State, on Thursday, described the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War as the most devastating experience of Igbos with the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Speaking on the topic: ‘The Igbos in the Building of the Nigerian Nation-the unrealised dreams’, Nwodo noted that the war claimed lives of millions of the Igbo while figures quoted by various reports on the war victims were totally unreliable due to the inaccessibility of data among Biafra.
Nwodo also recalled that several Igbo lost contact with their race and kinsmen during the war when some of them were flown across some African countries while running for their lives but never returned home again when the war ended.
He said that despite the setbacks which the civil war brought to the Igbo, it was not all disappointment and dismay too because the suffering and deprivation brought out the best in the Igbo people.
He said it has become necessary that Universities in Igbo land like the COOU to recall the “ingenuity, inventiveness and the sheer determination that led to scientific breakthrough in Biafra and replicate them”.
While talking about the current challenges to viable nationhood in Nigeria, Nwodo said the current Nigerian constitution does not owe its validity and authority to local legal factors such as a referendum or an approval vote.
He said that because of the flawed constitution which Nigeria operates, revenue allocation is shared using a parameter with a weighted proportion that respects equality of all states while mineral and oil resources are exclusively domiciled in the federal exclusive legislative list contrary to the agreements of the forefathers in the Lyttleton Constitution and the 1963 constitution.
The Ohanaeze President also noted that despite so many unrealised dreams of the Igbo in Nigeria, the issue of restructuring is still the way to go because under a restructured Nigeria, marginalisation would be over while the sky would be the limit for the regions.
He summarised by saying that through restructuring, the unrealised dreams of the Igbo can be achieved by “ legislative independence to the federating unites, sovereignty of mineral and oil resources to the federating units, a radical revision of curriculum from primary to university education to help us integrate into the new world order in human capital development , a painstaking resolve to support all electoral processes and candidates that bring about this change and a sustained campaign through workshops, conferences and classroom discussions that will democratize this knowledge and sustain the feeling of a national emergency to bring about the needed change.”
Earlier in an address, the acting Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Greg Nwakoby said the theme of the convocation lecture was thought provoking saying no other theme could be more expository in the present dispensation.
Nwakoby said the convocation lectures would help to x-ray the efforts and challenges of Ndigbo while disclosing that over 4000 graduands from various disciplines would be conferred with various degrees of the university this weekend during the convocation.
He appealed for more infrastructural facilities and manpower for the 62 programmes in the university to meet up with the benchmark of Nigerian Universities Commission.
Chairman of the Occasion, Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe in a remark called on Nigerians to seek for what will unite each other instead of divisive tendencies.
He hailed Nwodo for his great delivery and also commended him for his leadership roles so far among the Igbo.