Umbrella Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has overstayed its welcome and usefulness”, so the time has come for its replacement.
That is the verdict of the International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law (Intersociety) as conveyed via a statement issued in Onitsha, Eastern Nigeria, on Sunday, December 27, 2020, signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chair; Barr Chinwe Umeche, Head of Democracy & Good Governance; Barr Obianuju Igboeli, Head of Civil Liberties & Rule of Law; Barr Ndidiamaka Bernard, Head of Int’l Justice & Human Rights; and Comrade Samuel Kamanyoku, Head of Field Data Collection & Documentation.
Intersociety, in the statement, “is strongly calling on educated Igbo persons, and wise and conscientious others; drawn from middle class and class of noble elders to begin fresh moves to put in place a new legitimate and purposeful Socio-Cultural Organization that will congregate, aggregate, bind, lead and reposition the independently estimated 60m People of Igbo Nation presently found in Igbo Land and outside same including other parts of Nigeria, Africa, Europe, Asia, Oceania and Americas. Specifically, we are calling on conscientious or moralist Igbo intellectuals resident in Diaspora including Americans, Germans, Britons and other Europeans of direct and indirect Igbo roots to liaise with their contemporaries back home so as to bring this epochal and immortal demand to fruition. Unless new legitimate and purposeful political and socio-cultural leaderships are urgently put in place, otherwise the Igbo Nation-State will find herself in a situation of industrial scale harms. As a matter of fact, Oha-na-Eze Ndigbo has overstayed its welcome and usefulness.”
Intersociety also spoke of the need “for the present living Igbo population within and outside Nigeria to be reconnected spiritually and customarily with generations of Igbos that have gloriously departed especially the Nobles among them as well as the lost Igbo generations in Americas and Europe. These, when done and if done well, will provide a congregation of formidable spiritual and physical forces and resources to overturn and overcome the systematic and sustained threats to the Ethnic Nationality’s collective existence, identity, dignity, development and security and safety.”
The group said that “it is saddening that the Southeast Govs Forum and Oha-na-Eze Ndigbo that are being looked upon by Igbos within and outside Nigeria as custodians of Igbo’s collective security, safety, dignity and welfare, have lost the legitimacy of their existence and become chronically selfish, incompetent and the mouthpiece of the ruling Caliphate in Nigeria; thereby making it compelling to find their immediate replacements.”
Continuing, Intersociety said: “It must be noted and acknowledged here that in matters of collective security and safety of the Igbo Nation, her citizens and territories, the Southeast Govs Forum and Oha-na-Eze Ndigbo are exclusively entrusted with statutory and moral responsibilities of securing and protecting them at all times, but in practice presently, the duos are seen by many as ‘security threats from within’. It remains a height of security threat when a Nation-State is exposed to dangers by being systematically excluded or disproportionately represented in security recruitments, promotions and postings or appointments and more dangerous when those looked upon to checkmate same turned around and aided and abetted such extremist policy being promoted and sustained by the present Government of Nigeria.
“Therefore, having observed, researched and investigated the unfolding ravaging social situations in Nigeria and Igbo Land, Intersociety wishes to state boldly that Igbo Nation has dangerously been put at crossroads by the duo of Oha-na-Eze Ndigbo and the Southeast Govs Forum. As a matter of fact, the present Oha-na-Eze Ndigbo and the Southeast Govs Forum have lost legitimacy to continue as the central socio-cultural and political mouthpiece of the Igbo Nation. Having lost collective respect and legitimacy of the People of Igbo Nation, they are only clinging on their present positions by force of arms, betrayal, deceit, selfishness, falsehood and propaganda.
“It is also very difficult to separate the duo from complicity or involvement in the ongoing Nigerian Government’s policies of ‘structural violence’ including political exclusion, segregation and nepotism; ‘cultural violence’ including tribal criminalization and stigmatization; and ‘physical violence’ including targeted killing of Igbos and destruction of their properties. That is to say that but for conspiracy of the duo, these ‘war-grade’ policies would have been effectively checkmated. It is also a settled view in the Principle of the survival of ‘Ethnic-Nationalistic State’ within the union of congregated and aggregated ‘Ethnic Nationalities, such as ‘Nigeria that proportionality of securitization and political offices are sure way for the survival of every participating Ethnic Nationality such as Igbo Nation. In other words, it is an act of impossibility for Igbo Nation, her citizens and territories to be effectively and adequately secured and protected where there are gross disproportional security and defense representations.”
On their grouse against Oha-na-Eze Ndigbo and Southeast Governors Forum, the group said: “As a reputable research and investigative rights group, Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law is fully grasped with the situation of general, regional and individual security and safety in Nigeria or any part thereof including Southeast Region and other Igbo territories in South-south and North-central regions. We are also aware of the situation of same in other parts of Nigeria where Igbos are residing. Fully in the know, graphically speaking, are the systematic and sustained gross lopsidedness in the country’s present security establishments and their top echelons targeting for elimination the Igbo senior officers. We have researched, investigated, documented and published all these for others like the Southeast Govs Forum and Oha-na-Eze Ndigbo to take same to the next level including compelling the authorities to frontally address them, yet, all to no avail.
“We have been speaking out statistically since 2013 on same issue of marginalization of Igbos in the country’s security forces. At a point in early 2014, a former Anambra Gov took the next available flight to Abuja to meet the then Chair of the Police Service Commission and his intervention led to promotion of some Igbo officers including Retired DIG Chintua Amajor-Onu and Retired AIG Chris Ezike – whose promotions were deliberately stagnated for years on account of being Igbos. Presently, the situation of Igbo senior officers in the NPF has further deteriorated with imminence of total elimination of the officers of Igbo extraction from the Force.
“Igbo senior police officers have now been fully eliminated from the Police AIG ranking and are facing similar fate in the rank of Police Commissioners. The number of serving Igbo CPs is steadily going down and fueled by deliberate refusal of the PSC and the NPF to elevate new ones. In this outgoing 2020, Igbos have lost two CPs to retirement and the third will retire by early Feb 2021; leaving the strategic Region with only about four serving CPs, excluding the one (CP Cyril Okoro) retiring on 2nd Feb 2021. The two CPs lost to recent statutory retirement are CPs Uche Anozia (retired on 19th Sept 2020) and Celestine Okoye who retired as DIG on 22nd Dec 2020. Also between Nov 2019 and Dec 2020, four Igbo senior police officers have been made DIGs at the twilight of their retirements. Promoted to fill the Southeast slot in the DIG positions and the NPF Management Committee, the four senior officers had had their statutory promotions delayed or withheld for several years. They are Retired DIG Alex Opara, Retired DIG Godwin Nwobodo, Retired DIG Celestine Okoye and Retired DIG Joseph Egbunike. As it stands now, out of over 100 serving CPs, only about four remain as “Igbo Southeast CPs”.
“We also researched and exposed the continuation of same ethnic cleansing in the NPF, Army, Navy, Air Force, Intelligence and Paramilitary Agencies. Even when key military and policing formations in the old Eastern and Mid Western Nigeria were found to have been ‘northernized’ and ‘south-westernized’, we also statistically raised alarm, yet, the Southeast Govs Forum and Oha-na-Eze Ndigbo kept perpetual mute. We have documented the unprovoked killing, torture, unlawful arrest and incarceration of innocent and defenseless Igbo citizens by Nigerian security forces and other criminal non state actors like Islamic Jihadists and Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen. In these, it is same silence of the graveyard on the part of the duo.
“Today, over 348 innocent and defenseless Igbo citizens, residing in Obigbo, Rivers State have already spent two months in secret military dungeons located in different parts of Northern Nigeria. They have also spent Charismas outside their homes and behind unlawful bars. Among them are ten women and five couples, alongside 323 others were abducted and disposed of all their belongings including phones and excommunicated from their beloved families including children and other nuclear family members. Sadly and shockingly, the Southeast Govs Forum and Oha-na-Eze Ndigbo have kept mute. They also visited the Gov of Rivers State where they delivered “victory song” sung to the Gov for inviting secularity challenged soldiers to massacre almost 100 defenseless citizens, injure 120 others and abduct 400. These are just to mention but a few.”
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