None of the five governors in the Southeast and political heavyweights from the region attended this year’s World Igbo Day celebration yesterday at the Dr Alex Ekwueme Square in Awka, the Anambra State capital.
The two dignitaries at the event were former Aviation Minister Chief Mbazurike Amechi and a former Ohanaeze President General, Dr. Dozie Ikedife.
One of the organisers, who spoke in confidence, told our reporter that the event flopped because of the national awards President Goodluck Jonathan was conferring on eminent Nigerians in Abuja on the same day.
The chairman of the event, Prince Arthur Eze, was absent and Ikedife became the acting chairman.
Various women groups and traditional dancers from the five states were present.
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) was represented by Rev. Samuel Audu, who called for the nation’s unity.
The North’s umbrella group urged other regional groups to work together for the nation’s development.
Also, the Yoruba Youth Council (YYC) was represented by Husseni Abiola and the Ijaw National Congress (INC) by Ebieridei Charles Ambacowei, its vice-president.
Few traditional rulers, led by their chairman in the zone, Eze Cletus Ilomuanya, attended the event.
The Anambra State President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Elder Chris Eluemunoh, who doubled as the chairman of the Organising Committee, hailed Governor Willie Obiano for contributing to the celebration.
He said Nigeria attained 100 years of amalgamation this year, adding that this was significant to the Igbo because they needed to examine their past and plan for a better future.
Eluemunoh said there was need for an economic empowerment of the Ndigbo to enable them participate actively in the nation’s transformation.
The President General of Ohanaeze, Chief Gary Enwo Igariwey, noted that for equity and justice, the Ndigbo would vie for Presidency at the expiration of Jonathan’s tenure.
He said this had been the position of Ohanaeze Ndigbo since 2010, adding that it remained unchanged.
Igariwey said the Ndigbo would continue to build bridges with other ethnic nationalities to realise its presidential pursuit.
He said: “Our strength should come from our demographic weight, spread all over the country. Very soon, after consultation, our people will be called upon to speak with one voice on the issue of president. We did it before and we can do it again.
“The security situation in some parts of the country has exposed our people to clear dangers in their lives and investments. With the escalating body counts from the violence and incendiary rhetorics from discredited politicians, who continue to fuel the fire of anti-Igbo hatred, the time to think home is now.”
Also, the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) warned its leader, Chief Ralph Uwazurike, that the era of using Biafra or the group to intimidate Ndigbo was over.
The group spoke yesterday in Awka through its suspended National Director of Information, Uchenna Madi, at the Igbo Day celebration.
Madu told our reporter that the MASSOB’s struggle for Biafra was not a one-man show but a collective struggle.
He said MASSOB had been in bondage for 15 years because of the way it was led.
According to him, the struggle would henceforth involve leaders of thought, Igbo leaders, traditional rulers, among others.The Nation