From Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu
Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday, berated former minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe, on the travel ban to South East he issued to the northerners.
Ohanaeze was more piqued by Ogbe’s reference to killings of northern leaders in 1966 that triggered the events that led to a civil war in his reaction to the heinous murder of Ahmed Gulak and wondered how a man of his statue could condescend so low to make such inflammatory remark.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alex Ogbonnia, Ohanaeze expressed doubt if “Ogbe, a man who has gained the respect of many as a detribalised northern patriot could issue such a sinister press release.”
“The reference by Ogbe to ‘the killings of northern leaders in 1966 that triggered the events that led to a civil war that cost the country thousands of lives and untold sufferings to millions of innocent people’ is to say the least very inflammatory, incendiary, unreflective and unguarded.
“It cannot be denied of the Igbo that they are the most outreaching and adaptable as well as the most hospitable ethnic group with insurable interests in all parts of Nigeria. The Igbo’s large heart and magnanimity have variously been proved beyond reasonable doubt.
“For instance, Umaru Altine, who hailed from the old Sokoto Province of the defunct Northern Region, was elected as the president of the Enugu branch of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC).
He was later elected the first Mayor of Enugu in 1956. Altine stood another election in 1959 with an Igbo man and was overwhelmingly voted for. That is the Igbo spirit for fairness and universalism.
“Ogbe and the ACF are reminded that it is rather the federating capacity of the Igbo, their equanimity, fortitude and readiness to adapt to every part of Nigeria, as a home, that has served as the salt without which the concept of Nigeria becomes tasteless.
“It is noteworthy that Ogbe recognised that Nigeria is facing serious national crisis.
He wondered why the entire narrative from the South East has been taken over by People of Biafra and so-called unknown gunmen to the exclusion of established leaders.
Let it be known that what binds the established leaders and the followers in the South East is the obvious orchestrated marginalisation and existential threat against them. But history shows that no condition is permanent,” Ohanaeze said in statement.
Source: Nigerian Newspapers Online