The apex Igbo social-cultural group Ohanaeze Ndigbo has stated that it is not in support of violent secession.
Ohanaeze said its members like every other patriotic citizen, want the election of next year to be the most peaceful.
“We will go down to the grassroots to deliver our message; you don’t equip the young men to go against your political opponents, we want them to see themselves as contestants, that’s what we are talking about,” said President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Ebonyi chapter, Dr Peter Mbam.
Mbam said the body is against violent agitation in any form because the group believes in the continued corporate existence of the country.
Mbam who spoke on Monday during a press conference in Abakaliki said though Ohanaeze wants peace, the body is also against all forms of marginalisation, including social injustice and misgovernance.
The event in Abakaliki was part of activities marking the 62nd anniversary of Nigeria’s independence from British colonial rule and the 26th anniversary of the creation of Ebonyi State in Nigeria.
Speaking further, Mbam said Ohanaeze as a social-cultural body representing the interest of the Igbo race both within and in the Diaspora, had the responsibility to protect the Igbo citizens in every part of the world.
He said: “As the name implies, Ohanaeze Ndigbo is responsible for the protection of Ndigbo Worldwide. There’s no part of the world where you will not find an Igbo man or Igbo people.
“In Nigeria, Ohanaeze supports all agitations that support the interest of Ndigbo and any other marginalised group. We work with governments at all levels; the federal, state and local governments to ensure that the citizens get what they expect from the leadership of the country.
“We want to make sure that their religious, economic and political interests are secured. We are advocates for a lawful approach to solving critical national problems; we believe in diplomacy and a round table approach and do not support Ndigbo leaving Nigeria.
“We still want to be in Nigeria. We want a restructured Nigeria where social justice, fairness, equity and equality will reign supreme and we want a Nigeria where we will be treated not as second-class citizens.”
Ohanaeze reiterated its support and solidarity with the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi and his administration because of the many life-changing and human-oriented projects the administration initiated and completed.
It said: “We have taken time to appraise what our governor is doing in this state, having gone round the three zones of the state. We did that again last week as part of activities to mark the creation of 26 years of Ebonyi.
“We inspected nine gigantic projects and concluded that Umahi has performed beyond imagination and expectations.
“We were not anticipating what we are seeing now; we will provide enabling environment for his administration to succeed and do more.
“We look at the governor’s security architecture and discovered that Ebonyi is the only state where you can sleep with your eyes closed.
“We are appreciative of the governor’s empathy and sympathy for the less privileged and the strive to make life meaningful through the series of economic empowerment he gave to the youths.”
Ohanaeze further made known their position on power rotation in the state which according to them would serve the best interest of all the three geopolitical zones constituting the state and also affirmed their unalloyed support for Umahi that power should move to Ebonyi North senatorial zone.
It said: “We, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo family in Ebonyi are united. We share the same philosophy and ideology. We believe in the Senatorial zones. We are supporting our governor that power should shift to the Ebonyi North.
” It started with the Ebonyi North in 1999, moved to Ebonyi Central in 2007 and 2015 it got to Ebonyi South, it’s in line with nature with the law of equity that it should go back to the North in 2023.”
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