Every wrong seems possible today, and is accepted. I don't accept it (Pablo Casals)
I have no reason to suppose that he, who would take away my Liberty, would not when he had me in his Power, take away everything else (John Locke)
For these things I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me: my children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed (Lamentations 1:15-17)
he Governors of Alaigbo just appointed Gen. Ike Nwachukwu as the Chairman of the South-East delegates to the National Conference. The Chairman of south East Governors’ forum and the Governor of Abia State, Chief Theodore Orji, announced this in Enugu, shortly after their emergency meeting with the Conference’s delegates from the zone. The meeting also endorsed the nominations of one personality from each of the five states of the southeast, who will serve as the leader in their respective states. And they are as follows: Abia State, the same General Ike Nwachukwu; Anambra State, Dr. Dozie Ikedife; Ebonyi State, Dr. Sam Egwu; Enugu State, Chief Ken Nnamani; and Imo State, Dr Ezekiel Izuogu. The Director, Catholic Institute for Development, Justice and Peace (CIDJAP), Enugu Diocese, Monsignor Professor Obiora Ike, was appointed the deputy chairman.
This writer is not comfortable with General Ike Nwachukwu as the leader of the South East delegates. It’s unfortunate that Prof. Nwabueze, who could have led Ndiigbo to the conference, is sick and frail to do that. An alternative would have been Dr. Alex Ekwueme, but, he’s an aged man. On the other hand, in the absence of these two competent and prominent personalities, the Igbo governors should have given the leadership role to the former Director General, Nigeria Institute for International Affairs, Lagos, Professor George Obiozor, instead of only appointing him the head of the Conference Secretariat for the South East delegates in Abuja. There’s no drought of competent men to lead Ndiigbo, afterall the deputy chairman, Monsignor Professor Obiora Ike, is very competent and more acceptable to majority of Ndiigbo than General Ike Nwachukwu.
Unfortunately, Governor Peter Obi’s tenure as the governor of Anambra State and Chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum just ended; otherwise things would have been different. The exit of Peter Obi as the Chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum enabled Governor Theodore Orji to take over that position, and unfortunately, he (Orji) got his first assignment on the job, just like everywhere else he leads, wrong. It’s disappointing that Ndiigbo have only a bunch of incompetent men as their respective states’ leaders (except Peter Obi). Governor Peter Obi, who was one of the best governors Nigeria has ever produced, has no equal in Igboland, and that’s regrettable. This column thanks Peter Obi for the wonders he performed in his state, and implores him to continue rendering selfless and qualitative services to Nigerians in whatever capacities he may be called upon in future. We took notice of his excellent work as Anambra State Governor, and we will never forget!
To show that South East governors are not in unity; that they are working against themselves (a despicable Igbo trend in recent years), only Governors Theodore Orji of Abia State and Martin Elechi of Ebonyi State were present at the meeting. Despite the fact that the meeting took place at the Enugu Governor’s lodge, the host governor and his deputy were absent, while Imo State sent only its deputy governor. If the South East Governors were in unity, General Ike Nwachukwu wouldn’t have been the choice.
The question is: Why is General Ike Nwachukwu not a suitable choice to lead Ndiigbo to the conference?
First of all, let’s understand who this man is: Ike Omar Sanda Nwachukwu was born on September 1, 1941 in Port Harcourt to an Igbo father and a Hausa-Fulani mother. He fought against Ndiigbo during the civil war. Then, he didn’t see himself as an Igbo man, and he helped the northerners to slaughter the relations of those he wants to represent their interests now at the conference. General Ike Nwachukwu may be a nationalist; he may have adapted more to his mother’s side, and there was nothing wrong identifying more with the mother side, as mothers do have huge influence on their children’s lives. General Ike Nwachukwu didn’t have the choice to decide who his mother and father should be (no child does), but, he consciously decided on which side to become more attached to. And since General Nwachukwu chose to identify himself more with his mother's side during the war which paid him well, as he rose rapidly in the army, nobody is sure he has changed. Entrusting him with the responsibility of championing the Igbo’s cause at the conference may be a mistake. He may be everything Ndiigbo do not want at this point in time!
It was Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) who wrote that “The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history“, and truly, Governor Theodore Orji has learned nothing from the Igbo history. This writer wants to know what was going on in Governor Theodore Orji’s mind when he was appointing General Ike Nwachukwu as the leader of the Igbo delegates? That’s the problem: We tend to politicize everything to the detriment of our people. That Ike Nwachukwu claims to be an Abian now, Theodore Orji's state, makes no difference, and shouldn't have been the reason to make him the leader of the South East delegates. Governor Orji has once again displayed his bad leadership traits, even in decision making, by this singular action of his. Governor Orji can only appoint fellow failures to very important and sensitive positions, who would then end up worsening already precarious situations, the more, just as Theodore Orji has done to Abia State after taking over from the incompetent and corrupt Orji Uzor Kalu (look at what they have done to Aba Ngwa).
The point is that Ndiigbo are an endangered people in the Nigerian project; Igbo land is the most short-changed in Nigeria: while all the other zones have six states each, Igbo land has only five; an Igbo person has never been allowed to rule Nigeria; Ndiigbo are the second largest ethnic group (outside Igboland) anywhere in Nigeria, because of people such as General Ike Nwachukwu, Orji Uzo Kalu, Theodore Orji, Udenwa, Nnamani, Ohakim etc who have misruled the Igbo land at one point or the other, that made many Ndiigbo to abandon their home land, and have now helped in developing other people’s lands while Ala Igbo rots. At a time like this, what Ndiigbo need is somebody who has undivided loyalty to Igbo land, a person who is an Igbo patriot to the core. Also, the Yoruba need a Yoruba patriot and the Hausa-Fulani need also a Hausa-Fulani patriot to lead their people to the conference. That’s the essence of the national conference; there’s nothing bigotry or tribalistic about it, because, the different ethnic nationalities cobbled together must champion their own cause, and all the nationalities will in the end find consensus in order to co-exist peacefully, something still missing in the Nigerian project all along. General Ike Nwachukwu would not bring to the table issues so dear to Ndiigbo's heart unbiased, if they would antagonize the Hausa-Fulani’s position. When the chips are down, General Ike Omar Sanda Nwachukwu may betray Ndiigbo again, just as he did before. We can’t afford to let that happen again.
At the conference, nobody would accuse anybody of being tribalistic, because, that’s the only forum where ethnic sentiments and parochial interests are allowed to be professed, because, there will be first of all an expression and juxtaposition of different ethnic interests and positions before there will be consensuses (agreements). General Nwachukwu never served the Igbo interests before; even as the governor of the old Imo State, he helped underdeveloped the enterprising state Governor Sam Mbakwe left for him. General Nwachukwu never served Ndiigbo’s interest as a military man, he never served Ndiigbo’s interest as a politician, and there is doubt that he will serve Ndiigbo’s interest at the conference, so he should not lead them, or else Ndiigbo would remain the losers for ever.
This writer is not alone in this thinking, as many others have put it succinctly:
Ralph Nwokike, Esq., Seattle, Washington, USA, wrote
Surely, a tribe as the Igbos in Nigeria that forgot where the rain started beating them, will never know where it stopped draining on them. How else can anyone describe the Igbo people with the selection of General Ike Nwachukwu to lead them to the National Conference? General Ike Nwachukwu admitted is an Igbo with a pedigree father, but his past actions against the Igbos during the Civil War in Nigeria is something that tells so much about him. I have no doubts that the millions of the Igbos have lost their voices in the conference with the leadership of a "Sabo" to lead them in the name of General Ike Nwachukwu.
General Ike Nwachukwu is like the proverbial Ulili (squirrel) in the bag of a farmer en-route to the farm land for the corn season. On getting to the farm, behold and lo , the Squirrel ate all the corns meant for the planting season, and on top of it, the Squirrel escaped out of the bag. The Igbos will regret this wanna be Igbo leader called General Ike Nwachukwu. Is this how those seeking to have a separate state or independence for the secession of the Igbos in future from the broken Nigeria going to select amongst us those that would lead the Igbos? Do the leaders of Igbos suffice to say that those that lately discovered their father's compound, after fighting to kill his brothers and sisters on the side of Nigeria, will suddenly lead them to an important task as the National Conference?
General Ike Nwachukwu is an opportunist who believes in making name for himself. He is a selfish man but history is not selfish. He does not have the Igbo interest at heart. General Ike Nwachukwu is a night masquerade that must be feared and avoided because of his deadliness. He is not an illustrious son of the Igbos that he wants to be at an old age. We have not forgotten our history assuming the so-called Igbo leaders that voted to have him lead us to the conference are suffering from amnesia. You cannot be an illustrious son of an Igbo extraction with a stinking past like Ike Nwachukwu has, to lead the Igbos.
Shame on Governor Theodore Orji for whatever reasons he lobbied for this man to lead the Igbos at the National Conference! With Gov. Orji's age, he must either be conscripted during the Nigeria/Biafran war as a commando. Knowing that General Ike Nwachukwu led the Nigerian troops to kill the Igbos during the war is a minus for him to think Igbo. Shame on those Igbo illustrious sons and daughters that compromised their conscience knowing the history of our sufferings during the Nigerian Civil War to allow this man to represent the Igbo people, and indirectly sealing the fate of our generations and those of the Igbo unborn.
I am ashamed as an Ibo man if General Ike Nwachukwu who presided over the killing of Biafran in our life time should represent my interest at the National Conference. Tufiakwa! Ikwuii kwuii (Owl) nyuhu aho, si umunna ya kwewere ya egwu, ha siya tufiakwa, adighi ekwere ihe ojoo egwu (God bless Tony Ubesie's soul in- Isiakwu Dara n'ala- for this Igbo proverb).
PRESS RELEASE TO REPLACE GENERAL IKE NWACHUKWU IN IGBO DELEGATION TO THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE
Nzuko-Igbo USA, calls on South-East Governors Forum, Ohaneze Ndiigbo, Aka-Ikenga and all stake holders in the South-East to please replace General Ike Nwachukwu as the leader of South – East delegation to the forthcoming National Conference.
Various reactions are trailing General Ike Nwachukwu’s selection not only to be a member of the delegation from Abia state, but to lead the South-East delegates to the national conference. The issues arising from this nomination go beyond General Nwachukwu’s membership of Abia delegation, but how he emerged as the leader of the delegation. The public, particularly the Igbo would like to know who chose General Nwachukwu to lead the delegation. As for the membership of the delegation from Abia State, no one should be surprised that he made the list. Governor T.A. Orji never believes in fairness, experience and equity. He is an ardent believer in personality cult, rubbing the palms of praise singers, hand outs to political party agents disguised as traditional rulers, instead of using public resources to execute projects beneficial to the citizenry regardless of status, ethnicity, and local government of origin.
Unreservedly, we admit that Abia state delegates to the conference are qualitative. Abia has so many qualified people for this job in all respects. Picking just 10 with all the strings attached is an onerous task. The two Generals; Ike Nwachukwu and Ihejirika should not have been on the delegation list for obvious and different reasons. With several qualified persons in Abia and the South- East region the choice of General Nwachukwu as a delegate let alone leader of the team is a mistake that should have been avoided.
Whoever that recommended or chose General Ike Nwachukwu to lead our delegation should tell us when the General began to take interest in Abia State, Igbo and regional matters. Do his supporters not know that this General has a lot of political baggage? He has not been able to defend all allegations against him about the Nigerian-Biafra war. He is not known to be a builder or a leader even though he led soldiers. The National Conference calls for civilian leadership. It is not for the elites alone, or for the military top brass. General Nwachukwu was given the opportunity to lead the Igbo twice: as Military Governor and Senator but he blew the opportunity each time.
As a military Governor, he set the Igbo clock of progress backward. He destroyed all that Governor S.O. Mbakwe put in place. Our cities Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, etc began to deteriorate as all rubbish/trash bins stationed at strategic places for the proper disposal of rubbish/trash disappeared. His earmarked the genesis of urban deterioration in the old Imo State. Our cities are yet to recover from the disappearance of the sanitary equipments. We were subjected to Educational suffocation as he abolished a system that had campus in the five senatorial districts of the state and replaced it with a single campus university. Each campus of the then Imo State University system had the potential of developing into a university. The cost to the Igbo as a result of this hindsight or lack of planning is not quantifiable.
As a senator, he was not effective. Let him tell the Igbo Bills he initiated to correct the structural imbalance and obnoxious military decrees and edits that targets the Igbo, including boundary adjustments to deprive Igbo States off shore oil revenues. Since he left the Senate and retired to private life what Igbo group does he belonged to and what has he done to further the interest of the Igbo or our region. Former Senator Joseph Waku from Benue State (a retired Non Commission Officer) was more active than our General in the Senate. Since Senator Waku left the Senate he has been active in Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF). He is heard in almost every national debate but nobody hears from General Nwachukwu. Now he wants to lead the South-East delegation to the National Conference.
In 2003 General Elections, General Ike Nwachukwu contested for the presidency of Nigeria. He was the flag bearer of National Democratic Party (NDP). His campaign never got off the ground, turnaround he was merely filling in for a northern General. How can the Igbo trust his leadership to the National Conference? Considering all of the above, this man does not have us at heart. He does not know our states, Igbo or our regional problems and boundaries. He lacks community spirit and community organizing skills. We have not read where the Federal Government indicated that zonal delegates must be lead by retired Generals. South-East may be the only zone to be led by an uninterested retired General in a predominantly civilian affair.
The old war horse Senator Uche Chukwumerije is suitable for this leadership position, but for the national assembly’s lackadaisical attitude towards the national conference. Senator Chukwumerije, is a solid gentleman who would under no circumstance stab his people or colleagues at the back. We understand Senators Adolphus Wabara and Senator Ken Nnamani, having held the highest political office currently in the South-East zone can lead the delegation. As a matter of fact any vibrant and experienced politician from the zone should replace General Ike Nwachukwu. We are not short of qualified personalities. We still have people like Admiral Ebitu Ukiwe who has fully integrated himself into civilian society and has participated directly or indirectly in matters affecting the region and Nigeria at large. Replacing General Ike Nwachukwu is imperative to get our delegation back to track and have them enjoy the fullest support of our people the represented.
The constitutional Conference is a rarity; Nigerians have agitated for it for several years. It offers an opportunity to shelve or consign all manners of injustices, inequalities, imposed colonial and military constitutions, to the dust bin and put traditional colonists in check. It will replace the anomalies in our polity and lay the foundations for modern Federal system of Government rooted in democratic principles and Rule of Law.
General Azubuike Ihejirika, the Darling of the people: This newly retired gentleman should not have been nominated to the National Conference. He needs time to rest, reintegrate himself into civilian society, and understand the needs and aspirations of his people at various levels; Local, State, Regional and Federal governments. His accomplishments speak for themselves. When our win at all cost politicians could not retrieve the arms they gave to their tugs and kidnappers to intimidate their opponents and the public for election purposes, and could not provide them with livelihood, the tugs turned their weapon on our people. General Ihejirika with the blessings of President Jonathan rid our home of the tugs turned kidnappers and made the South-East liveable again. General! Take it “Nwayoly” Age is on your side. We shall not forget when your time comes. We also, disagree that the elevation of General Ihejirika ended Igbo marginalization in Nigerian Army but a desirable improvement to our aged long situation.
The stake holders and the powers that be in the South-East should feel the pulse of the people, read and digest comments from various Igbo organization and individuals and act accordingly. Remember that “a stitch in time saves nine”. Avoid had we known.
Nzuko-Igbo USA calls on South-East Governors Forum, Ohaneze Ndiigbo, Aka-Ikenga and all stake holders in the South-East to please replace General Ike Nwachukwu as the leader of South – East delegation to the forthcoming National Conference.
For and on behalf of Nzuko-Igbo USA
Vincent O. Erondu, President
Owen Owunwanne, PhD, Secretary
Attorney Uche Okedi,
Mr. Oster Nwankwo
Mr. Ugo Ukandu
Sylvester Nwaoye, PhD
Mr. Clement Dennar
THE THANX IS ALL YOURS!!!