As Ohanaeze NdiIgbo gets a new leadership to steer its affairs for another two years it is imperative that members of the NdiIgbo commentariat as well as the academia begin to engage the George Obiozor led executive with ideas via which the Pan Igbo organization may positively impact the lives of NdiIgbo and help the single largest ethnic group in Nigeria interact with other groups in a manner that is dignifying but with results in improving the Nigerian nation that all ethnic groups living in Nigeria may live harmoniously with each other.
This is not to say that past leaderships of Ohanaeze have not been impactful, for me the stewardship of Uwechue, Igariwey and Nwodo were quite remarkable save for one thing only, their resort to dragging Ohanaeze into the muddy waters of unhealthy partisanship, which has rubbed off poorly on Ohanaeze NdiIgbo and the Igbo nation.
I am not saying that Ohanaeze can not speak for the Igbo nation or negotiate the interests of the Igbo nation with the political players of the Nigerian nation, but when it seems that the group is seemingly draped in the robes of one political party and is seen as an appendage of that party which for 16 years did little or nothing for NdiIgbo as compared to what the party she has repeatedly booed and scorned is presently doing, then one must wonder to what strategic ends the pan Igbo group is playing for.
Thus the George Obiozor leadership must chart its course as an unbiased body, strategically negotiating from the point of non partisanship in order to give NdiIgbo her place in the sun. The perpetual painting of other ethnic groups as our enemy while we hobble over little or nothing will continuously place hurdles before us where we should be sprinting. There are a number of key issues as well as challenges before us, Ohanaeze must therefore begin an entente of sorts with the other ethnic groups, negotiating our collective interests out of strength and not fear.
The twin issues of restructuring and Igbo Presidency should be chief among such an agenda. Restructuring of the Nigerian nation should be paramount to Ohanaeze as it is key to ridding Nigeria of a number of impediments that have bogged down the nation’s progress since independence. Ohanaeze must sit with other ethnic groups particularly those within the minority and chart an agenda for restructuring but in doing so it must allay the fears of others that its quest for restructuring is not a prelude to wanting to secede from the Federation but to further strengthen the unity of the country and cement in the much needed harmony that development, peace and progress may follow.
The issue of Igbo Presidency is also key to such an agenda as it is the turn of NdiIgbo to produce the next president come 2023. Ohanaeze must begin to also demand that the two major parties zone their presidential tickets to NdiIgbo as well as begin to look inwards to engineer a process that will prevent the Igbo phenomenon from rearing it’s head again as it did in 2003 and 2007 when a number of Igbos flew the presidential party flags of a number of parties. It must in doing this understand the political arithmetic that no zone can make a president on its own, it needs the support of the other zones, which are populated by a number of ethnic groups, otherwise it can kiss such an opportunity goodbye.
Other issues affecting the Igbo nation such as its economy as well as security should also top its agenda. Ohanaeze must look inwards and evolve from the perception that it is an old men’s club into an organization that is dynamic, resonating with the much needed intellectual bent to move the Igbo nation further, let us have an Ohanaeze of ideas , one that runs, thrives and build on ideas! Ohanaeze can engage the political leadership within the Igbo nation or serve as a link between the political leadership and the experts on agriculture, manufacturing, oil and gas, telecommunications, media and services. Why should the Igbo nation not be the industrial hub of the nation’s industry 2.0
The issue of security should also top Ohanaeze’s agenda, insecurity within the SouthEast will continue to rob us of the much needed investment needed to create jobs and increase the standard of living within the states that make up the Igbo nation, it is about time that the Pan Igbo group fashions a security road map for the Igbo nation and gets the five governors to agree on such a road map.
The list is endless but I am quite sure that should the Professor Obiozor led executive hit the ground running, the Igbo nation would be in good hands at least for the next two years.