By HENRY AKUBUIRO
A publication celebrating accomplished Igbo sons and daughters, Pillars of Igboland, is set to make a debut this Christmas season, published by Enuma Okoli, a veteran journalist.
The 60-page magazine contains interviews, profiles of past and present heroes, articles on challenges of Igboland and deconstructing Igboland, as well as Igbo leaders’ scorecards and the chronicles of breakthroughs recorded in southeast Nigeria.
In its editorial, the publisher said the conceptualisation of the magazine was predicated on the need to project, advocate and also create a platform for the showcasing of the achievements of the Igbo nation, which has been one of the tripods Nigeria rested.
Pillars of Igboland also stands for community development that hopes to encourage the Igbo to participate in the rural development of their communities. The magazine also hopes to encourage the concept of and philosophy of ‘Think Home’ or ‘Reconnecting with your Roots’.
There is more to the publication. Okoli writes: “The magazine hopes to positively and uncritically relay the outstanding achievements of the Igbo both within and outside Igboland.
“The magazine also espouses the theme of a ‘Pillar’ as one who has either impacted his community positively or one, who has held a prominent or worthy office in Nigeria, or a non Igbo whose activity has positively helped the Igbo race.”
Some of the distinguished Igbos and Nigerian featured in this edition are drawn from different walks of life: clergy, academia, politics commerce, royalty, and what not. They include Archbishop Anikwena, Professor Uche Azikiwe, Alvan Ikoku, Sir Loius Odumegwu Ojukwu, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Chief Achike Udenwa, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, and Prof. Berth Nnaji.
The list also includes Chief Gregory Ibe, Chibuike Amaechi, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Peter Obi, Dr. Ike Ekweremmadu, Chief Mbazuluike Amaechi, Prof. Francis Igboji Idike, Dame Virgy Etiaba, Obiora Chukwuka (Innoson), Aliko Dangote (a non-Igbo), among others.
In an interview with Zik’s wife, Prof Uche Azikiwe recounted how romantic her husband was: “Zik was a romantic husband. You know he was a poet; he wrote many poems about me. You can imagine Zik of Africa writing poems about me, a twenty-six year-old [then]. Zik was very caring. He never joked with his family. He had time for his family.”
Tracing the travails of Igboland in Nigeria, former Imo State governor, Chief Achike Udenwa, a Biafran veteran, said in an interview with the magazine: “In the 1st Republic, there was a fight for the control of the Federal Governement, but that fight was not so bitter because Nigerian was more autonomous.
“The Igbo rose in all directions: in commerce, academics, politics, civil service and in all segments of the economy. The Igbo rose to the pinnacle in Nigeria. This created a lot of jealousy and envy. I remember when the war started, Zik said something, ‘Perhaps, besides the Jews no other linguistic in the world has suffered more persecution than the Igbo have suffered in Nigeria’. This tells us that the jealousy didn’t start today, and that was part of the cause of the civil war.”
This exciting magazine, informed the Editor-in-Chief, Enuma Okoli, during a visit to The Sun corporate office in Lagos, would be unveiled to the public before this Christmas.