Commends Igbo for defending Nigeria’s unity
The Igbos have continued to be at the vanguard of Nigeria’s unity and prosperity since independence, and former president Goodluck Jonathan has reiterated that they deserve respect.
He said this yesterday at the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Imo State Council’s celebration of Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu’s 80th birthday.
Among those present at the celebration were Chief Nnia Nwodo, President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo; Mr. Shola Ebiseni, Secretary General of Afenifere; Senator Adolphus Wagbara, Former President of the Senate; and Chief Mike Okiro, Former Inspector General of the Police.
The former president highlighted that the upcoming elections shouldn’t be designed to undermine the country’s unity while speaking at the occasion yesterday.
Jonathan expressed delight of joining political associates and friends of Chie Iwuanyanwu whom he described “as a father, a man of many parts, a role model and meticulous businessman.”
Iwuanyanwu has significantly aided the nation’s prosperity, development, and unification, according to the event’s chairman.
Jonathan cited passages from Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, and Alhaji Ahmadu Bello as evidence that Igbos have supported Nigeria’s unity from the country’s inception.
He said: “The Igbos hold an important place in the history of Nigeria; they have made enormous contributions to the progress of our country, primarily through trade and investment.
“They are known to be excellent industrialists and entrepreneurs and scholars. They epitomise resilience amid adversity and fortitude in times of despair; these are the virtues we need to emphasize now more than ever, given our nation’s challenges.”
When Jonathan willingly turned over power to Buhari in 2015, Nwodo noted that Jonathan’s humility was the reason Nigeria did not break out in battle.
Nwodo, who served as the anniversary’s guest lecturer, claimed that Iwuanyanwu continued to be a collossus because of his contributions to the nation’s social, political, and economic advancement.
He asserted that Igbos unquestionably dominated every area of the economy, including trade, the economy, sports, the entertainment industry, oil and gas, education, computer savvy, engagement with other countries, etc.
“We have lost Igbos in the diaspora as most of our diasporans are well-to-do in their various countries of habitation, thereby denying their fatherland because of marginalisation of the Igbo. Iwuanyanwu gave his all, abandoned his wife to defend his fatherland during the Nigeria – Biafra war.”
Iwuanyanwu committed his life to the service of God and humanity, according to Senator Hope Uzodimma, the governor of Imo State, who said as much in her welcome speech.
He was described by Uzodimma as a man who regarded Nigeria as his constituency and hence needed praise from Nigerians.
He observed that Igbos “love Nigeria more than the other regions, hence Igbos are in every part of the country contributing their quota to national unity and development.”
The governor attributed the weak performance of Igbo politicians who sought the presidency to their lack of unity and intolerance among Igbo political leaders.
However, he urged for national harmony between the nation’s divisions in order for Nigeria to maintain its pride.
Pa Ayo Adebanjo’s representative at the celebration, Ebiseni, claimed that due to defects in the design of local governments, the 1999 Constitution rendered it impossible for an Igbo person to not be Nigeria’s President.
He says that this type of marginalization cannot continue.