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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

OHANEZE: Ohaneze must reposition

Written by Obi Nwakanma
~Vanguard Nigeria. Sunday, March 5, 2017.

In January, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, elected Mr. John Nnia Nwodo as its new President (never mind the tautology "President-General"). Not a few Igbo breathed a sigh of relief on account of the fact that Nwodo was the right sort of peg in the right sort of hole.

Let me recast a little background to the beginnings of Ohaneze as a group. But before then my source: as a young reporter in the 1990s, I visited Dr. Akanu Ibiam in Unwana, Afikpo - tracing my path from Enugu, where I'd first been directed to meet him.

He was a lean and Athletic man even then already in his 80s, and looked nothing like what I'd imagined, a "king," with all the paraphernalia of masqueradry I associated with such buffoonery in Igbo land. Dr. Ibiam wore a simple print shirt that day, and had on, not a crown, but a beret that made him look more like a French bohemian than an Igbo monarch.

And I did ask how an elder of the church of Scotland, a Presbyterian in fact, and former missionary doctor ended up as a king. It was Dr. Ibiam who first reminded me in fact that the word "Eze" did not necessarily mean "king" in the Igbo language.

"I am not a monarch in the imperial sense of the word. I am a justice of the peace, and keeper or trustee of the powers of my people in Unwana." It all began in 1970, when the old guard of Igbo political leadership, mostly former ministers of the government of the East met, first at the home of J.M. Echeruo in Enugu, in a meeting with the British Minister Lord Carrington, which set the tone for discussions on the strategic reconstruction of the East from the devastations of war.

But there was also in the background, the plans for a full political re-integration, which required that the old political guard, not long out of power return to the grassroots, regroup, and prevent the planned insertion of political subverts into the Igbo communities aimed at weakening Igbo political interests from the center.

These former political leaders of the East agreed to bid their time at their local community levels, and stand as bulwark against the political threats against the Igbo at the end of the war, in preparation for Gowon's political transition billed to commence in 1974.

Thus, they took on the role of Community leadership and became "Eze" - and this was how most of the old ministers of government became "Eze" - among the many, Ibiam, Echeruo, Okeke, and of course, John Nwodo, the father of the current president of Ohaneze. They also started Ohaneze as a Political Action group, with Dr. Akanu Ibiam as its first president. These political leaders met regularly as trustees of Igbo political interest, and kept the fires in the forges alight.

Ohaneze was largely inactive between 1979 and 1983, but by the late 1980s and 1990s, it became the clear fulcrum of Igbo political negotiations in the absence of any other viable political conduit. But one of the major criticisms about Ohaneze over the years is what its many critics have observed as its distance from the people whom it purports to represent.

There is a serious sense among a large segment of the Igbo that Ohaneze is far more than anything else it might claim, a mutual admiration society representing largely elite interests, and without a real grounding within the "Oha" - the Igbo public - which ought to be the bastion of its power. That the leaders of the organization have failed over the years to connect with an important segment of the Igbo society represents a critical disjuncture within the Igbo political world itself.

As a matter of fact, very serious Igbo political actors at some point saw Ohaneze as either too tepid or too compromised by its political affiliations, actions or even inaction, to offer the Igbo any serious umbrella for political action. People like the late Dr. Sam Mbakwe, for instance, refused to associate with Ohaneze because of what he believed to be its reactionary and complicit agenda. It did feel at one point in its history to be the tool of the "anti Zikist" forces in Igbo land.

At one point, the late Ikemba Odumegwu-Ojukwu rejected Ohaneze's program both for its tepidity and for its inconsistencies. Ojukwu once famously quipped that he had no business with an Igbo organization that was merely a "socio-cultural group" in the face of the political realities that confronted the Igbo in Nigeria.

Ohaneze has tended to be a centrist, and middling organization, and as far as negotiations go with the government of Nigeria, on behalf of the Igbo, have often been worsted, or have negotiated mostly from a positon of weakness. Ohaneze had long failed to take advantage of its potential to build power structures that could enhance it operationally and make it the shadow authority of the Igbo.

Ohaneze has for instance, watched without intervention, the decimation of the Town Union governments in Igbo land, which could have been its direct source of political power among the Igbo who do not do well with the rule of kings. Ohaneze has failed to fully integrate Igbo city Town Union organizations across Nigeria and even West Africa, which could have been an important source of its political program.

Ohaneze has failed to step fully into the shoes of the old Igbo Union, and expand its program, which would have assured it of wider support and offered it its most relevant mission, or raison d'etre, and connected it directly to the Igbo public. Ohaneze's failure to provide true leadership; its many failed opportunities to organize the Igbo have led ultimately to the rise of contending organizations, including of course, IPOB among a new generation.

The fact that IPOB depends on its funding from the subscriptions wholeheartedly paid by those who believe in its mission should underscore Ohaneze's slippery place within the Igbo world, and the possibilities it has failed to utilize in creating "Utu Ndi Igbo" worldwide - a subscription system that would have given it the liquidity to run its political, social, and economic programs, for as long as the Igbo buy-in to an Ohaneze they could believe in.

But although it has the opportunity, Ohaneze has been unable to build real political capacity in Igbo land, or a real following or support, and remains very vulnerable because it is now competing with a new political discourse among the Igbo - the discourse of separation and autonomy championed by a resurgent Biafra movement.

Given its challenges, Ohaneze must quickly recalibrate, and that is why many see the emergence of John Nnia Nwodo as a good first step. John Nwodo has the kind of training, preparation, and political experience that should stand him in great stead in this unique task, and at this unique moment when the Igbo need a rallying force in negotiating its future political and economic place in contemporary Nigeria.

Trained as an Economist and a Lawyer, both at Ibadan and the University of London; Nwodo, former Students Union President of the University of Ibadan in the 1970s, is a profoundly eloquent man; a man made for the political balustrades. As the youngest Political Adviser to the president of the second republic, and later minister of Aviation, Nwodo clearly cut his teeth very early in public service.

His later experience in the transitional military government as Minister for information, gives him added lustre, and yes, he comes from a family where public service seems ingrained. He seems right for Ohaneze at the moment. His advocacy so far, in speaking directly about the Igbo situation has been without the usual tendency by people in the same position, for biting their tongues to maintain faux-neutrality in the matters of nation.

Nwodo has initiated a number of bridge-building moves with his parley with the Afenifere; and his meetings last week with the group of the South-South in the SE-SS conference. He is reaching out to the middle belt and to the North, and it is all good.

Nnia Nwodo has said quite clearly that the Igbo must stop talking about "marginalization" and get on with it. I agree. The Igbo have made that point, and it has not earned them any significant reprieve. Igbo must now turn in-ward, and muster every fibre to rebuild. John Nnia.

Nwodo must lead the Igbo to the great Igbo renaissance, but it must start with repositioning of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo. Ohaneze must develop a political program; build an efficient organization, situate itself firmly in the Igbo mind, and acquire real power and mandate. It must seek the best Igbo talents widely dispersed across the world, and build this organization.

No comments:


I am an Igbo, I was born an Igbo, I live the life of an Igbo, I come from Igbo, I speak Igbo, I like to be Igbo, I like to dress in Igbo, I eat Igbo food, my heritage, culture and tradition is Igbo, my parents are Igbo.

Am sorry I cannot help it if you hate my lineage. Am sorry I cannot help it if you detest Igbo, am sorry I cannot help it if you hate me because am Igbo. Igbo is who I am, my name is Igbo and I must die an Igbo.

You see Igbo as a threat, why? You call Igbo rapist, criminals, ritualist, prostitutes, kidnappers. You attribute all negative vices to represent Igbo? Why do you do that? You do because you feel threatened that Igbo might outrun the rest of the tribes. Why do you hate Igbo and despise us? You do that because we are creative, enlightened, hardworking, industrious, genius, intelligent, smart, rich, beautiful and amazing. But its difficult for you to admit it because you feel jealous of my race.

Igbo do not own politics, Igbo do not control the economy neither do we control the natural resources and the common wealth of the nation. You do, we don't and yet, despite the fact that you own everything, we still remain one indispensable race that has outshined the other race in all ramifications.

You fear us because you want to exterminate and annihilate our race, you deny us many things and yet we are stronger, richer and mightier. You fear us because we are everywhere. You fear us because no matter how rural a place might be, when Igbo steps in, they turn it into a Paradise. We have our own resources, which lies in resourcefulness, we do not bother you and your control over the polity, but yet when we cough you and the other race begin to shiver.

Am proud being an Igbo, am proud of my heritage and culture. Igbo means high class, Igbo means independence, Igbo means hard work and strength, Igbo means riches, Igbo means resourcefulness, Igbo means self belonging, Igbo means self esteem, Igbo means pride, Igbo means swag.

Udo diri unu umunnem.
# IgboAmaka
# AnyiBuNdiMmeri

Michael Ezeaka

This is beautiful poetry ...

In response to Alaba Ajibola, the Babcock Lecturer Hate Speech against Igbos.


In Igboland women live apart from their husbands and neither cook for them nor enter their husband's quarters when they are in their period. They are seen as unclean. Even up till today such practice is still applicable in some parts of Igboland especially by the traditionalists. Before a woman can enter the palace of Obi of Onitsha, she will be asked if she is in her period, if yes, she will be asked to stay out.

Leviticus 15: 19-20
When a woman has her monthly period, she remains unclean, anyone who touches her or anything she has sat on becomes unclean.

An Igbo man's ancestral heritage, called “Ana Obi” is not sellable, elders will not permit this. If this is somehow done due to the influence of the West the person is considered a fool and is ostracized by the community.

1 Kings 21:3
I inherited this vineyard from my ancestors, and the Lord forbid that I should sell it, said Naboth.

Igbos have practiced the taking of a late brother's wife into marriage after she had been widowed until the white men came. Now it is rarely done but except in very rural villages.

Deuteronomy 25:5
A widow of a dead man is not to be married outside the family; it is the duty of the dead man's brother to marry her.

In Igboland, there is a unique form of apprenticeship in which either a male family member or a community member will spend six (6) years (usually in their teens to their adulthood) working for another family. And on the seventh year, the head of the host household, who is usually the older man who brought the apprentice into his household, will establish (Igbo: idu uno) the apprentice
by either setting up a business for him or giving money or tools by which to make a living.

Exodus 21:2
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve you for six years. In the seventh year he is to be set free without having to pay you anything.

In Igboland , the yam is very important as it is their staple crop. There are celebrations such as the New yam festival (Igbo: Iri Ji) which are held for the harvesting of the yam. New Yam festival (Igbo: Iri ji) is celebrated annually to secure a good harvest of the staple crop. In the olden days it is an abomination for one to eat a new harvest before the festival. It's a tradition that you give the gods of the land first as a thanksgiving.

Deuteronomy 16:9
Count 7 weeks from the time that you begin to harvest the crops, and celebrate the harvest festival to honor the lord your God, by bringing him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing he has given you. Celebrate in the Lord's presence together with your children, servants, foreigners. Be sure that you obey my command, said the Lord.

In Igboland it's a tradition that the male children are circumcised on the 8th day. This tradition is still practiced till date.

Leviticus 12:3
On the eighth day, the child shall be circumcised.

In Igboland, there is a practice known as "ile omugwo ". After a woman has given birth to a child, a very close and experienced relative of hers, in most cases her mother is required by tradition to come spend time with her and her husband. During which she is to do all the work of the wife, while the new mom's only assignment to the baby will be to breastfeed. This goes on for a month or more. In the Igbo old tradition, at this time, the new mom lives apart from her husband, would not cook or enter his quarters.

Leviticus 12:1-4
For seven days after a woman gives birth, she is ritually unclean as she is during her monthly period. It will be 33 days until she is ritually clean from the loss of blood; she is not to touch anything that is holy.


The Igbo tribe is in a serious problem and danger of extinction for the following reasons:

50% of Igbos are born outside Igbo land. Meaning that those children are not likely to live and work in Igbo land and cannot speak Igbo language but foreign language (Yoruba, Hausa, French, English).

40% of Igbos girls between the age of 25 & 45 are single with no hope of marriage because 35% of Igbo boys live overseas and they have all married white ladies.

75% of Igbo youths leave Igbo land every year in search of opportunities in Yoruba, Hausa land or overseas.

85 % of Igbos have family houses and own investments outside Igbo land. They strongly believe in one Nigeria but failed to know that NO Yoruba or Hausa man has a family house or investment in Igbo land.

Igbos are the only people who believe that living outside their land is an achievement.

Igbos are the only tribe that celebrate their tradition outside their land e.g. Eze Ndi Igbo, Igbo Village in America and this is because they have family homes in foreign lands.

Igbos have failed to know that the children you have outside Igbo land especially overseas will never think of living in Igbo land. So what happens to the properties you are building for them when you are gone?

Igbos are the only tribe who see their land as a place to visit or a tourist site than a place to work and live.

Igbos are the only tribe who instead of promoting and appreciating their culture through movies and documentaries they have sought to ridicule it by portraying rituals, killings, wickedness, love for money and other social vices which were not originally inherent in our culture thereby cursing more harm than actually promoting their culture.

Igbos are the only people who without hesitation believe their history and description when it is told or written by an enemy or a foreigner. E.g. that you do not love yourselves or that you love money.

Igbos are the ONLY largest tribe on earth who fought for their independence and failed to achieve their freedom after 40 years.

Igbos are the only tribe who fails to honour their brave heroes and heroines especially the innocent children starved to death during the Biafran war.

Igbos are the only tribe who embraced their enemy after a bloody civil war and subsequently become slaves.

Igbos do not find it necessary to teach their own version of history to their children.

Igbos fight for marginalisation in Nigeria but has no collective strength or teeth to bite.

Igbos how long are you going to fight for your relevance in Nigeria?

How long are you going to fight for a functional airport, rail networks and other structural establishments that underpin sustainable development?

How long are you prepared to wait for your enemy to guide you to your destiny?

Oh Igbos!
Where are your leaders?

Unfortunately, none of them live and work in Igbo land. If you wish to save the future of your children, your identity, your generation and your race then you need freedom and that freedom is Biafra.

Ukpana Okpoko gburu bu nti chiri ya!

By Chime Eze

The Igbo: We die for causes, not for personalities

Written by Emeka Maduewesi

~on fb. 28th September, 2016.

The Igbo will never die for anyone. We will not even riot for anyone. But the Igbo will die for any cause they believe in because the Igbo have a true sense of justice and a determination to obtain it.

The Igbo will not riot because one of their own lost an election. Operation Wetie was the Western response to a massively rigged 1965 election. The Yoruba doused fellow Yorubas in petrol and burnt them alife. Properties were burnt with occupants. The Igbo will never do this.

In 1983, the Yoruba went on a rampage again over the massive rigging by NPN. Lifes were lost and properties destroyed. The riots were over personalities.

Contrast that with Anambra State where Chief Emeka Ojukwu was rigged out by his own NPN, who also rigged out Chief Jim Nwobodo. The Igbo did not protest because the goat's head is still in the goat's bag.

In the North, ba muso was the battle cry when Sultan Dasuki was imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate. The riot and protest lasted for days and crippled economic activities.

The Igbo will riot over issues and causes. The Aba Women Riot was over Tax. The Enugu coal mine riot was about conditions of service. The Ekumeku Uprising was over British colonialization.

Those of "Ekumeku" ancestry - Umu Eze Chima and Umu Nri - were at the forefront of the struggles for Nigerian independence, with people like Dr. A A Nwafor Orizu and Chief Osita Agwuna serving prison terms. Any struggles the parents could not conclude is continued by the children by other means.

The Biafran war was a response to the genocide. The war in fact was brought upon us. The battlefield was Eastern Region. The war ended in 1970 but the issues and causes were not resolved. That is where we are today.

The Igbo will also jointly rise to fight evil in their midst. They did it in Onitsha in the 1980's, Owerri in the 90's, and with Bakkassi in the 2000.

The Igbo will not die for any man. But the Igbo will stand by any man who symbolizes their cause and their pursuit of justice. Even if the man dies, the struggle continues, and like the Ekumeku warriors, the children will pick up the baton from their parents.

This is the Igbo I know, the Igbo I am, and the Igbo we are. This is my story. Feel free to tell yours.


"My boy, may you live to your full potential, ascend to a dizzy height as is possible for anyone of your political description in your era to rise. May you be acknowledged world-wide as you rise as an eagle atop trees, float among the clouds, preside over the affairs of fellow men.... as leaders of all countries pour into Nigeria to breathe into her ear.

But then, Chuba, if it is not the tradition of our people that elders are roundly insulted by young men of the world, as you have unjustly done to me, may your reign come to an abrupt and shattering close. As you look ahead, Chuba, as you see the horizon, dedicating a great marble palace that is the envy of the world, toasted by the most powerful men in the land, may the great big hand snatch it away from you. Just as you look forward to hosting the world’s most powerful leader and shaking his hands, as you begin to smell the recognition and leadership of the Igbo people, may the crown fall off your head and your political head fall off your shoulders.

None of my words will come to pass, Chuba, until you have risen to the very height of your power and glory and health, but then you will be hounded and humiliated and disgraced out of office, your credibility and your name in tatters forever...”


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