Igbo Day Sets Enugu Agog

Igbo Day Sets Enugu Agog

Okpara Square, Independence Layout, in Enugu was agog with colourful celebrations as Igbos from all walks of life thronged the square to celebrate the 2023, World Igbo Day Celebration.

 

It was a culture at its best and celebration as Igbos dressed in different colours of attires and costumes came to showcase the rich Igbo culture, industry and creativity.

 

Since the return of democracy, 24 years ago, September 30, has become a remarkable calendar day activity for the Igbos, as that day is always set aside to examine the Igbos’ challenges and contributions in the dynamic multi-ethnic entity called Nigeria.

 

But in the last couple of years, the event has been diminishing in terms of value and impact as it’s seen as a mere jamboree of sorts.

 

During the past celebration, nothing concrete came out of the event except mere political pronouncement which carried no weight. This could be attributed to the personal squabbles among the governors in the region with some of them distancing themselves from Igbo cause and celebration as to be seen as “Good boys” by ruling powers and did not help much for the event to attract heavyweight presence and expected impact.

 

However, this year’s edition appears to be returning the past glory of the World Igbo Day Celebration.

 

Apart from the new executives of the pan-Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohaneze Ndigbo are not desperate politicians who goes cap in hands to mortgage Igbo interests for their selfish desires.

 

Also, the current set of South-East governors appeared not to engage in superiority contest but in unity of purpose to advance Igbo cause.

 

It’s therefore heartwarming as all the Igbo-speaking states were in attendance with full dancers and costumes.

 

For the first time in the history of Igbo cause, the governors and leaders spoke equivocally and in boldness on issues affecting the zone.

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Unlike in the past, it was rare for the leaders to be seen advocating for the release of the leader of proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, an issue many of them would have shied away from or treated with long spoon.

 

But the case was different this year as all the speakers spoke glorying for the release of Mazi Kanu among other issues.

 

The President-General of Ohaneze, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, described the Igbo Day celebration as an important event for all Igbos and said that the event was the beginning of a turnaround for southeast development and transformation.

 

Chief Iwuanyawu alongside other Igbo governors and leaders reiterated their call for the release of the Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), to reduce the security challenges in the region.

 

They said the continuous incarceration of Kanu, even after a court of competent jurisdiction had freed him, had worsened the security situation in the zone.

 

The Igbo leader said that most of the killings in the zone are blamed on the non-release of Kanu from detention and that Ohanaeze Ndigbo had carefully reviewed Kanu’s case and could not find any just reason why he could not be released.

 

The President General said Ohaneze had for several months pleaded with the Federal Government to release him but to no avail.

“I hereby once again, on behalf of Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide, appeal to the FG to release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, more so, when a court of competent jurisdiction in Nigeria had declared him innocent.

 

“As the president general of Ohaneze Ndigbo, I consider myself a father and it pains me so much when my children are killed on daily basis.

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“It pains me when most of them have both their lives and livelihood destroyed, I will strongly appeal to the FG that in view of the fact that over two years, the situation has persisted. We need to adopt a non-kinetic approach,” he said.

 

He added that he strongly believed that if Kanu was released and a non-kinetic approach was adopted, the unnecessary killings and destruction of lives and property would be reduced and even stopped.

 

Earlier in his opening remark, Chairman on the occasion and Chief Executive Officer, Atlas Oranto Petroleum Limited, Prince Arthur Eze, said it had become necessary for the leadership of Ohanaeze to positively engage the Federal Government for the release of Kanu whose reported health condition attracts huge sympathy.

 

He explained that Igbos had made some cases relating to marginalization in the past while some of the cases may have had merit, “I am of the view that long-lasting results can be achieved through round table discussions, strong undivided leadership and an organized political structure”.

 

“Based on this, no number of meetings with the FG or political consultations on the matter will be too much.

 

“If the governors fail to do something urgent to arrest the current financial and human capital flight, currently being experienced in the southeast, the trend will continue to do irreparable damage to the posterity of the people,” Eze said.

 

While congratulating President Bola Tinubu for his victory at the polls, Eze appealed to him to accommodate more Igbos in his administration.

 

Speaking, Ebonyi Governor, Francis Nwifuru, represented by his Deputy, Mrs Patricia Obila, emphasized the need for all Igbos to unite and speak with one voice to ensure the speedy release of Kanu as well as the development of Igboland.

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Welcoming the celebrants, Gov. Mbah of Enugu said he was excited about the large turnout of people that attended the event.

 

He also expressed the need for Igbos to unite to realize their full potentials toward developing the region.

 

The governor also said there was the need for the states in the Southeast to see themselves as a single entity and engage in huge investment to develop the area.

 

While appreciating Ohaneze for organizing the Igbo Day, the Governor of Anambra State, Prof. Charles Soludo, said Igbos should stop lamenting of insecurity in the zone but acknowledge that “today is better than yesterday”.

 

He said, “There is no crime-free society anywhere in the world,” adding that the Southeast governors should work together for the benefit of all Igbos.

 

“Our future is in Nigeria, Africa and the world and an itinerary tribe shouldn’t be an intolerable nation”.

 

The event was spiced with cultural dancers from various states and award of posthumous honours to prominent pat Igbo heroes including Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr. M. I. Okpara, Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, and Dr. Akanu Ibiam among others.