Posted by News Express | 6 January 2017 | 3,324 times
“The Ibo giant is waking from his stupor… I shall now state the facts which should be well known to all honest students of Nigerian history. Outside of Government College, Umuahia, there is no other Secondary School run by the Government in Ibo land. There is not one Secondary School for girls in our part of the country. In the Northern and Western provinces, the contrary is the case. How many of our towns have electrical, postal, telegraph, telephone services, pipe-borne water supplies? The only worthwhile stand we can make as a nation is to assert our right to self-determination as a unit of a prospective Federal Commonwealth of Nigeria and the Cameroons”
Zik of Africa, the Owelle of Onitsha in his prophetic Address to the Ibo State Union, Aba, June 26, 1949.
In 1939, the Ibo State Union was founded by Africa’s first published Poet, Ojiba, Dennis Osadebay, the first and the last Premier of the Midwestern Nigeria. Ten years later, Chief Obafemi Awolowo founded the Omo Oduduwa, in 1949. All the same, it is the Ibibio National Union founded in 1929 that is historically, Nigeria’s oldest Parapo Union. That was the Union which awarded scholarship and sent Dr. Udo Udoma to England. He returned to the country with a Ph.D. in Jurisprudence and the masses would assembly behind his gate asking him to attend to their health afflictions. He would faithfully entertain the sick and administer APC tablets for headaches and common cold, offer teaspoons of Quinine against malaria fever!
Progressively, the Ibo State Union expanded from the Lagos and Port-Harcourt nests and by Independence was the main pivot of the N.C.N.C. From Aba, the Ibo State Union with Osadebay as the spear led the movement for the creation of the Midwestern State in 1963. The Igbo Union under the Akajiaku Mbonu, the man who single-handedly developed modern Maiduguri and was able to dominate the international trade between Nigeria and the Sahel. (Pse see Emma Okocha, Boko Haram: The Curse of Mbonu…the Builder of Modern Maiduguri, Unpublished manuscripts) This is a Biography of the man who built all the schools, churches, all the roads, the markets, all the hospitals, the only Aerodrome in modern Maiduguri in 1966. His house servant, Mai Deribe, leading his own deadly posse, ambushed his trusted escaping master, killed him and converted his billions and properties, during the 1967 Northern pogrom. Ironically, the Ibo Union was banned by the Igbo Head of State General Aguiyi Ironsi and without the Ibo Union the Igbos in 1967 defenseless and wiped out in millions up to the climax of the Asaba genocide.
After the war, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo was founded. Apolitical, the founding fathers insisted that the Ohanaeze would accommodate the Royal Fathers and the OHA, the whole Igbo communities. As the file and the staff bearer of the Ojiba, I was there at Umunze when as a very small boy I would lead DC Osadebay, who had started having vision problems, into the meeting sitting those Igbo icons: Eze Akanu Ibiam, Obalikete Ugochukwu Tyres, K.O. Mbadiwe, C.C. Onoh and the erudite P.C. Okigbo. Dr. Jerome Udoji served as the Secretary. Since then Ohanaeze has defined the Igbo major Interests in the Nigerian Federation. At its apogee it led the Igbo Petition against her peoples’ Genocide in Nigeria at the Oputa Panel. From that golden climax the Apex Igbo Organization has cascaded down the hill. The worst days were during the byzantine tenure of Chief Ralph Uwechue. He never for one day during his tenure called a meeting of his complete executives. His legacies to this day would continue to haunt and trump up distrust between the Anioma fraternity and their brethren across the Niger.
In that wise, we have decided to sweep away the travesties and the sham representations attributed to the immediate products of Chief Ralph Uwechue. We forgive our lame duck Ohanaeze Chairman who for years paraded himself as the principal executive when he is not Anioma but a son from Abia. In the true Ohanaeze injunction of H.E. Okwadike we, Col. J.O.J. Achuzia, “the Hannibal of the People’s Army,” Obi M.E. Nwaka, Ogbueshi Ejiofo Onyia, Dr. Sylva Ebigwei have resolved to come together and present a united front to be able to procure all our due not only in Ohanaeze but in a united front, mobilise to fight for our wounded people in Igbanke, Edo State, and those other famished brethren who are playing second fiddle in the Niger Delta Region.
•This column originally appeared in Daily Sun.
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