Pan-Igbo Group Warns Against Ethnicising Niger Delta Problem
23 October 2008
Posted to the web 23 October 2008
A Pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ozurigbo has condemned what it called a sustained attempt to reduce the Niger Delta issue to ethnic affair, saying the monumental development challenges in the region reflects a national tragedy, and should be of national concern.
President of the group, Dr. Batos Nwadike, who spoke weekend in Abuja, said continued neglect of the oil rich region which is the main source of Nigeria ‘s revenue by successive administrations was callous and opposed to the aspirations of the citizenry.
He said; “Ozurigbo takes exception to the near total Ijawnisation of the issue,” he said at the sixth Ozurigbo lecture series.
Noting that the Niger Delta question has remained a sore point in Nigeria’s political discourse, the issues at stake are neither Ijaw nor about Ijawland. “The issue is oil. We must try to give back to a blessed land for its benevolence to us,” Nwadike said, even as he hailed the proposed creation of a Niger Delta Ministry by President Umar Musa Yar’Adua.
Nwadike, while calling on Nigerians to exercise patience with the Federal Government in its efforts at solving the problems of the region, however, condemned the very slow pace of the present administration in approaching issues of national importance.
He also described as disappointing and untoward the raging controversy concerning the continued relevance of Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), and faulted, the calls for the organisation to dismantle its structures and fold up.
“We in Ozurigbo do not think that MASSOB should fold up its structures, rather, we suggest that MASSOB should as a matter of strategy rename the body to reflect the realities of the present times,” he said.
He regretted the disunity among the Igbo race, which constitutes a barrier for them to speak with one voice and make collective decisions that would positively impact their existence in the Nigerian federation, and decried the rate at which people who should be speaking for the Igbo derail, compromise or out-rightly sell themselves out.
Presenting a lecture on the crisis of political succession in Nigeria, a member of the defunct Constituent Assembly, Dr. Ukeje Nwokeforo, decried the seeming unpreparedness of the South East zone leaders and people, whom he said are the least prepared in the struggle to occupy their rightful place in the Nigerian polity, calling them to emulate the Yoruba and the political North.
According to him, “The North knows itself, and they know where they are going, and are sure of what they are standing upon. So also is it with the Yorubas of South West. But it is not so with Ndigbo,” Nwokeforo said.