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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A Handshake Across The Niger: The Igbo/Yoruba summit

Written by Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
~Vanguard Nigeria. Tuesday, December 19, 2017.

Amajor review of Nigeria's geopolitical alignment is set to take place tomorrow as the Yoruba nation engages the Igbo nation in an embrace that could alter the country's political configuration in a way as never seen since the 1951 cross carpeting on the floor of the Western House of Assembly.

The meeting of Afenifere, the apex Yoruba socio-cultural body with Ohaneze, the apex socio-cultural Igbo body in Enugu has remarkably also drawn the participation of South-South political elements. Vanguard could not confirm as at Press time the participation of South-South leader, Chief Edwin Clark, but his leading associates, including Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw, a former chairman of the Niger-Delta Development Commission, NDDC, are expected at the event.

The seed for the summit was sown in the sacrificial death, 52 years ago, of Nigeria's first military head of state, Gen. Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi and the first military governor of the defunct Western Region, Brig. Adekunle Fajuyi.

Aguiyi-Ironsi was killed by soldiers mostly of Northern descent in Ibadan while visiting Fajuyi who paid the ultimate sacrifice for a guest when he opted to die with the visiting head of state.

However, the twine that tied Aguiyi-Ironsi and Fajuyi in death was subsequently displaced by animosity and rivalry that have for most of the country's existence, kept the two major nations as rivals always competing for an alliance with the North.

The prod towards reconstructing the bridge follows the increasing chasm in the polity especially since the advent of the Muhammadu Buhari regime which in the opinion of many stakeholders in the South, has alienated the region through its appointments, policies, and programmes.

Remarkably, one of President Buhari's leading apologists, Mr. Osita Okechukwu dismissed tomorrow's meeting as nothing new and perhaps as a distraction to Buhari's long-term goal of restructuring Nigeria's economic and political configurations.

He said that quite unlike the agitations of the summiteers in Enugu tomorrow, that Buhari has positioned political restructuring that is to be canvassed tomorrow as a priority for his second term.

"Mr. President has been much engaged in economic restructuring, and you can see that it is his goodwill that has unlocked several aids, grants, and loans to Nigeria to pursue projects that have been in the pipeline for several years now," Okechukwu, director-general of the Voice of Nigeria, VON and one of Buhari's longest-serving political associates from the South, deposed.

The framework for the summit, however, hopes to look beyond the political necessity for an alignment towards a cultural bond that drivers for the meeting say flows from similarities in culture between the Yoruba and the Igbo.

The hosts for the meeting are Pa Reuben Fasoranti, leader of Afenifere and Chief Nnia Nwodo, president-general of Ohaneze Ndigbo while the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, will act as Royal Fathers of the Day.

Ironsi, Fajuyi, symbol of national unity -Donald, Fajuyi's eldest child
By Charles Kumolu

DONALD Fajuyi, the first son of the late Military governor of defunct Western Region, Col. Adekunle Fajuyi, retd, has said the Handshake Across the Niger testifies that the duo of Fajuyi and the late Major-General Aguiyi Ironsi were symbols of national unity.

He also said the decision to celebrate them by the Igbo and Yoruba race, indicated that the significance of their deaths still resonates among Nigerians.

Fajuyi in a chat with Vanguard said he is expectant of a similar forum to be convened to also celebrate people of other tribes, who paid the supreme price for Nigeria's unity.

He said: “I want to thank God for making it possible because it is long overdue. Those who conceived the idea did well because it is needed. The late Ironside (Ironsi) was a great soldier and statesman, who was at the peak of his career. In those days, anyone who is a General is on top of his profession. He was a close friend of my father (Fajuyi). They were good friends. In those days, people were detribalised. There was no attachment to being Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba.

“I am very proud that my father was a party to those who ensured that their era was detribalised. I hope that with this, more bridges will be built and more handshakes exchanged across the Niger. The late Gen Hassan Katsina, retd, was also a great Nigerian. I hope that in time to come, Northern soldiers who also sacrificed their lives for the country would be celebrated as symbols of unity like my father and Ironsi. I hope to see handshakes across the Benue. I want to thank the organisers and Nigerians for recognising the sacrifice made by Ironsi and my father.”

It's an opportunity for southern people to re-invent themselves - Annkio Briggs
By Clifford Ndujihe

Niger-Delta leader and environmental rights activist, Ms. Annkio Briggs, 65, who said she had been invited to the Enugu gathering, said the move is an opportunity for the South to re-invent itself and explore past affinities before colonial rule. She also said there is need to get the Middle-Belt into the enlarging arena.

Asked if the handshake across the Niger is necessary and feasible, she said: “Definitely. In Nigeria, I think we have come to the realisation, and I hope not late, that Southern Nigeria has a lot of work to do. It is an opportunity to explore what existed before the amalgamation of Northern and Southern protectorates. Before the amalgamation, we had Northern and Southern protectorates. The South covers the Yoruba, Igbo and other ethnic nationalities in the Niger-Delta. The Middle-Belt is between the North and the South.

“Since then, the Middle-Belt has been in a working relationship with the Fulani people, who came into their areas and settled. What is happening now is that the Middle-Belt has realised that their working relationship with Fulani cannot stand. They see that they can work better with Southern Nigeria than with people, who have come to displace them from their land with the activities of herdsmen. Now, there is a lot that strengthens the bond between Southern Nigeria and the Middle-Belt.

“So, it is a very necessary meeting and a way of looking at the future and potential survival of Nigeria. The various ethnic groups should come as they are. It is better to go into this meeting as different and distinct people to discuss the problems of the country as they affect the South. There is need for the Yoruba, Igbo, Ijaw, Efik and other groups in the South to sit and discuss honestly and sincerely their future in Nigeria. If we do that, it will give us the opportunity of starting afresh. We stand a better chance of surviving if we can sit down as individual components to discuss our future.

“We cannot tell if the handshake across the Niger is feasible unless we take the first step. It is a very critical discussion that we must hold. We have much in common to work successfully than otherwise. There are more things that connect us than things that distance us. We all have to come with a shopping list. What do the people – Yoruba, Igbo, Ijaw, etc. want, and where are we going?

“If we know what we want, we can ask ourselves how we can get it. In the South, there is the desire to genuinely sit and discuss before the 2019 elections, especially with Fulani herdsmen killing, crisscrossing the country and demanding that other peoples' land should be given to them.

''We must go to the meeting with an open mind, which will allow us to listen attentively to the other person and vice versa so that we know where to make compromises. There is need for Southern Nigeria to sit and marshal out a way for themselves in Nigeria.”

We also need a hand-shake across the Benue - Ikokwu
By Clifford Ndujihe

Second Republic politician and a member of the Ime-Obi (Inner caucus) of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Guy Ikokwu, 80, hailed the move as a bold step and added that it should be extended to the Middle-Belt, to quicken the process of fixing the country.

Noting that the Nzuko Umunna and Afenifere hand-shake across the Niger is a follow-up to what Aka Ikenga, the Igbo intellectual think-tank group did four years ago when it commended the family of the late Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi and gave them award. He said some leaders of the South-East, South-South, South-West, and Middle-Belt have been meeting on the issue, which he argued is in the best interest of the country.

Asked if the move is necessary, he said: “Very much. There is already an increasing handshake across the Niger. It has to be so because we have common destiny. The Swedish scientists, in the report they issued six months ago, said the DNA of people from Calabar, the Igbo, Benin, Yoruba, Dahomey down to Akan in Ghana are 99 per cent the same. Their languages are of the same Bantu origin.

“The whole Southern states are ethnically homogeneous with the recent scientific findings that we have 99.9 per cent similarity in our DNA as a result of our common ancestry since the dark ages.

“So, there is much integration of the peoples mentioned. There are so many similarities regarding language and intelligence that we cannot say we are different. We have to integrate more so that the oneness of Nigeria can be enhanced. So, we should work together and get a common destiny for Nigeria.

“If the right things are done about restructuring, in 10 years, Nigeria's economy will be growing at 10 per cent per annum instead of the current rate of about one per cent. The handshake across the Niger should be strengthened and should continue across the Benue to further integrate Nigerians in a lateral and triangular formation of ages gone. We need to restructure urgently before the 2019 elections because the current situation may not last beyond 2018.”

It's a new dawn in Yoruba/Igbo relationship -Odumakin
By Dapo Akinrefon

What informed the Handshake Across the Niger initiative?

The whole idea started with some Igbo intellectual Think-Tank coming up with the idea that the time has come for the Yoruba and Igbo nations to come together and celebrate Adekunle Fajuyi and Aguiyi Ironsi, two icons of the nations who were brutally murdered on July 29, 1966, during the revenge coup. Fajuyi laid down his life for his boss and guest when the mutineers did not come for him. As a proper Omoluabi, he decided to lay down his life for his guest and that deserves to be celebrated by the two nations for the first time. The group that came up with this initiative call themselves Nzuko Umunna.

They then approached Afenifere and Ohaneze, and the leadership of the two groups embraced the idea, and that was how January 11 was fixed for the event in Enugu to celebrate these two icons and to use this as a narrative as the basis for a new coexistence between the Yoruba and Igbo. The two groups share the same origin at some point but have been set against themselves by wrong narratives; it is aimed at helping them see things differently. That is the reason for the conference .

What prospects do you see in this joint venture?

First, we need to open a new vista of understanding between the two groups and as an example for other nationalities for other Nigerians for us to coexist in harmony and peace. But beyond that, we need to reaffirm a lot of things, for instance, this has shown us clearly that Igbo and Yoruba share the same origin at some point and history has shown that the Igbo may actually have migrated from Ile Ife because if you go to Ile Ife today, there is Igbo quarter where they speak Igbo presently, and when you go to Anambra State, there is a town called Oraifite. Oranfe was one of the earliest quarters in Ile Ife.

When you look at the Igbo and Yoruba languages, you see a lot of similarities, and when you look at kolanut, it is planted in Yoruba land but celebrated in Igbo land.

So, you can see that there are lots of things that bind these two groups. This celebration is a reaffirmation of that brotherhood of that sheer origin which we can use to promote a new understanding, ethnic harmony and once that is done, it can affect other parts of Nigeria.

Let me tell you this that Nigeria will not get it right until Igbo and Yoruba cooperate and use all their ingenuity to promote national unity in Nigeria and use it to rub on Nigeria.

So, this conference is aimed at bringing about the dawn of a new day in Igbo/Yoruba relationship as an example for inter-ethnic harmony in Nigeria.

Will this be a one-off thing or are we going to see more collaboration in the near future?

This is just the beginning, a lot of other things will come up to strengthen this new understanding. At the end of this conference, we are going to promote so many other activities that will ensure the brotherhood is reaffirmed and that a new day comes in between us. This is just the beginning; there will be many more programmes along that line to promote this new understanding.

There should be no ethnic conspiracy - Babatope
By Gbenga Oke

Former Minister of Transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope has said that Igbo/Yoruba unity ahead of 2019 should be devoid of ethnic conspiracy else it will fail.

He said, "The hand-shake across the Niger meeting is not a bad idea, it is normal for politicians to meet and discuss especially when we are approaching a major election, however, if the meeting is based on ethnic conspiracy, it will fail. We saw such during the time of Chief Obafemi Awolowo when the Yoruba and Igbo tried to form a common front, but it failed due to ethnic differences."

He said further, "I will want to advise that they should stay away from ethnic conspiracies because if they don't, the meeting will not only collapse but it's going to fade away as it happened during the time of Chief Awolowo."

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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