Political suicide: Anioma people cannot deny being Igbo. We will be irrelevant politically if we do
There is an atmosphere of peace written all over the way to Ibusa that will tempt any writer to toy with the idea of spending few weeks in the town in order to write a book. The billboard of Fred Ajuda’s late mother welcomes you to the town as you begin to wonder where on earth is this once upon a time news making socialite shortly after that you will be Welcome to the world of Obi Modestus Emeka Nwaka, a Prince of Ibusa and President Ohaneze Ndigbo, Delta State, also executive member Anioma State Movement. He spoke to Peter Agba Kalu
Sir, recently, Chief Mike Okwechime, the President National President of Izu Anioma told a local publication and I quote; “We may speak a dialect of Igbo but we are not culturally and socially Igbos by Ohaneze’s definition’’. What do you have to say?
This is nothing but falsehood and a damaging betrayal of our Igbo brothers from South East who found our son His Excellency Amb. Raph Uwechue worthy to head the very Ohaneze which he tried to ridicule.That will tell you that what Chief (Col.) Mike Nduka Okwuechime (Rtd) said is absolute fallacy of what Ohaneze stands for. I intentionally pronounced his names in full in order to show you that he is totally and entirely an Igbo. It is a pity that Okwuechime and his likes are allowing themselves to be used to subvert the Ohaneze and what the Igbo nation stands for in all ramifications
This unfortunate behavior is unexpected of a man of his age and caliber. For us to deny our Igboness is to stab our brothers across the river on the back, knowing fully well that they had to endure a 30months of near hellish suffering as a result of the revolutionary tendency of one of our own, Col. Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu. I am not trying to bring back the sad historical moment or playing on emotion to score a cheap political point. But, I think it’s wise and necessary to reflect on what transpired before, during and after the Nigerian Civil War, in order to disclose the unity of purpose of Igbo people worldwide.We
Sir, don’t you think singling out Okwuechime will be lying to one self, a critical look at the issues at hand will tell you that not a few people share his opinion?
Our Igbo origin has never been in doubt before and after Civil War. Anioma people were known as Western Igbos before the Amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914. And in 1939, the Obi of Agbor, Obi of Idumuje-Ugboko and the Obi of Aboh, for themselves and the entire Western Igbo people, petitioned the Colonial Administration for carving out the Western Igbos from their Kits and Kins East of the Niger. Consequently, in 1956, Western Igbo leaders organized the AMA1 conferences where it was resolved that the answer to the political problems of the Western Igbos was to create a West Niger Igbo State with the Headquarters at ALIDINMA. The agitation for the creation of the West Niger Igbo State assumed the name ANIOMA after the civil war.
Have you always been your brothers-keeper or is this a sudden self-centered desperation in order to gain the support of the South Easterners in your pursuit of Anioma State creation?
I think with this, your extreme question that boarders on self assessment, it is pertinent at this point to look back and critically outline the roles of the Delta Igbo’s during the most critical period in the life and history of our brothers across the Niger.
A significant officers and men of Midwestern origin-Delta-Igbos fought on the side of the Biafran Army. Col. Mike Ndukwe Okweuechime, to start with was the Chief of Linguistics, Defence headquarters, Biafran Army till the end of the civil war on January 12, 1970. Navy Commander Frank Anukwu from Ika was in charge of Biafran Navy till the end of the war. Brigadier Nwawo from Aniocha North was General Officer who commanded 4 Command (Special) Division of Biafran Army. Col. Joe Achuzie from Oshimili South was General Officer Commanding (GOC) 16 division.
Late Col. B.S.A. Nwajei from Oshimili North was at a time, the Commander 14 division. Col. Ochei from Oshimili South was Commandant of School of Infantry Biafran Army. Col. Morah and Col. Henry Igboba from Aniocha North and Oshimili North, respectively fought gallantly for the survicval of Igbo people during the war. Late Major Albert Okonkwo from Oshimili North was the Administrator of the defunct Republic of Biafra Mr. George Nwanze from Oshimili North was the secretary to Odumegwu Ojukwu, Head of State defunct Republic of Biafra, to mention but a few. It is important to mention that the above top military Officers and highly respected men of substance from the then Midwestern region, did not fight as mercenaries. I want to state that as a matter of historical fact, I too fought gallantly on the side of Biafra. In fact, I came back from my studies in oversea and was confronted with the war, as Igbo people were been slaughtered all across the North, we had to ran from Jos to Ibusa where I joined Force with the Biafran Army.
Most importantly, it should not be forgotten that late Chukwuma Nzeogwu of Okpanam in Oshimili North died at Oboleke fighting on the side of Biafran Army. It is paramount to mention that late Col. Okonweze from Asaba was killed at Abeokuta during the counter Coup of July 29, 1966. Late Col. Henry Igboba from Ibusa suffered the same fate in Benin City in 1967. Late Mr. Ogwude from Ogwashiuku, a Parmanent Secretary was killed in Benin City the same 1967. The Benin City, Sapele Warri, Isheagu, Ogwashiuku and Ogbeke-Asaba massacres, to mention but a few, were reprisals against Ndigbo on both sides of the Niger Ndigbo east and west of the Niger shared a common fate during the Civil War as a direct consequence of the January 1966 Military Coup which was purportedly described as Igbo Coup.
Don’t you think Igbo delta People not just those across the Niger, but those in River State etc have not been receiving their own share of respect and acceptance that prompted Okwuechime to voice out his frustration?
The truth is that Ohaneze Ndigbo and the World Igbo Assembly (IWA) has created solid sense of belonging everywhere Igbo people reside. To buttress this fact, the brotherly relationship between Igbo South East and Anioma people is based on mutual love and respect manifesting in the election of Late Ogbueshi Dr. J.B. Azinge of Asaba as Deputy president General of Ohaneze Ndigbo before the tenure of Col. Joe Achuzia as Secretary General. The incumbent President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo is his Excellency Ambassador Raph Uwaechue of Ogwashi-Uka in Aniocha South of Delta State.
As it stands now what is the most important or if I may ask critical support the delta Igbo people need from their brothers across the Niger?
Very good! Very good question. I wanted to make the appeal even if you did not come up with the question. We want our brothers to see reason why they should come together to support Anioma State as the Sixth State to be carved out for the Igbo nation. Justice equity and fair-play demands this, the reason being in a memorandum signed by Chief Sam O. Mbakwe, Chief C.C. Onoh, Dr. Okigbo, Chief S.G. Ikoku to mention among others, that was forwarded to the then President and Commander-in-Chief, President Ibrahim Babangida and to all members of Armed forces Ruling Council, as was published (bring out document to quote date and paper) on Daily Times of Wednesday, April 17, 1991, on page 17. These great Igbo leaders after many years of Deliberation and consultation all across Igbo land jointly requested for the creation of Enugu or Wawa state from Amambra, Abia out of the old Imo and Anioma from old Bendel State.
It is on record that Enugu and Abia has sealed through, so as you can see justice equity and fair-play demands that the next state to be carved out for ndigbo should be Anioma State.
Peter Agba Kalu/ Sun Publishing