News Commentary On The Inauguration Of The Abia State Chapter Of Ohanaeze Ndigbo By Chuks Ibegbu, National Deputy Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo
On Thursday 5th October 2017,the Abia state chapter of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo will be officially flagged off. In this news commentary, Chuks Ibegbu a Public Affairs Analyst and the National Deputy Publicity Secretary of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo World wide x-rays the brief history of the organisation and its significance to Ndigbo.
In the 1930s, the Igbo Union was formed as a platform to knit and unite the Igbos in all parts of Nigeria.The Igbo Union was the unofficial government of Ndigbo in those days .It established schools, recreation centres, churches, health centres etc for the well being of not only Ndigbo but their hosts in all parts of Nigeria.. The Pioneer National President of the Igbo Union was the legendary Chief Z C Obi from Nnewi and the Pioneer Secretary General Chief BON Eluwa from Umuaoapara in Umuahia South LGA The organisation was later led by such great Igbo men like the legendary Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr Amanze Njoku among others. The Union was later banned along with other tribal Unions after the January 15 , 1966 Military putsch.
After the civil war the Igbo National Association, INA was formed to be the rallying point for Ndigbo as the Igbo Union did before the war. The federal military government then afraid of Igbo resurgence banned the group. But in 1976, some Igbo leaders led by Dr Akanu Ibiam , the former Governor of the Old Eastern region formed the Ohanaeze Ndigbo. Among the Igbo leaders that contributed to its formation included Dr Michael Okpara, Dr K O Mbadiwe, Chief M N Ugochukwu, Dr Pius Okigbo , Prof Ben Nwabueze(the youngest among them then), Sir Onyensoh Nwachukwu and other great Igbo men. Dr Akanu Ibiam became its first President General.
In 1984 , the organisation went into coma as a result of the political shenanigans of that era. The political tussle between the NPN and the NPP in those days put the organisation on the throes of abeyance . Luckily however, Prof Ben Nwabueze was able to pilot the affairs of the body single handedly till the year 2000 when a National Executive Committee was formed for the organisation led by a retired Chief Judge of Enugu state Jusice Ezebuilo Ozobu(Rtd).
Justice Ozobu led the body till 2003 when the position of the President General along with the Deputy President General, Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General became rotational among Igbo states in alphebetical order.. The Constitution that brought this idea in place was drafted by a committee headed incidentally by the present President General Barr Nnia Nwodo. The aim was to give all parts of Igbo land a sense of belonging. Thus the emergences of Prof Joe Irukwu, Dr Dozie Ikedife, Amb Raph Uwechue, Chief Enwo Gary Igariwey and now Chief Nnia Nwodo as the Presidents General of the organisation from Abia, Anambra,Anioma, Ebonyi and Enugu states respectively.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo is now the rallying point for Ndigbo in Nigeria as the Arewa Consultative forum is for the North, the Afenifere for the West and the South South Peoples Assembly for the South South.It has achieved a lot in the past for instance in the OPUTA Panel era, the various political dynamics in the country and the various constitutional conferences in the country. Its insistence on the restructuring of the country has raised the issue to the front burner in Nigeria today while its ability to douse the recent tension in the country arising from the legitimate agitations of Igbo groups has placed it as the true father of Ndigbo and its first call for the protection of their interest. Ofcourse it has undergone and is still undergoing a lot of constraints and limitations such as the funding and conflict of interests in Igbo land.
As the Abia state EXCO of the organisation is about to be inugurated , we should not loose sight of great Abians who contributed to the growth of the organisation. We have mentioned Dr M I Okpara. and. Dr J O J Okezie.Others included De Bob Ogbuagu who recently answered the call of nature Dr Anagha Ezikpe, Late Chief J D Maduako, Nze Macaulay Nwankwo, Prof J C Ogbonnaya, Dr Emma Adaelu,Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, late Chief Mrs Catherine Owanta,Chief Jack Nwaobia, Chief Emeka Mbiwe, Late Dr Mang Obasi, Gen Ike Nwachukwu,Prof Anya O Anya,Late Chief Sam Okwulehie,Late Chief Adiele of Ukwa land,Lady Aguiyi Ironsi,Gab Osuagwu Iheukwumere among others.
Also to be remembered by history are those who have piloted the affairs of the body in Abia state since inception . These included Chief Nwabuisi(Muokamuo Ibeku),Chief Okechukwu Nwadinobi, Prof J C Ogbonnaya , Chief Chinkwe Ndimele, Dr Okparanta,. The role of Dr Sam Ahaiwe now the Abia representative in the National population commission, Chuks Ibegbu, the curator and Ohanaeze permanent resource person, late Comrade Uzor Umunna , the pioneer Ohanaeze Abia Youth leader,Barr P R O Azuogu who gave legal flair to the body at the beginning etc cannot be underestimated. . Above all , the inestimable support the Governor of Abia state Dr Okezie Ikpeazu gave in the emplacement of the present EXCO , LGA, STATE AND NATIONAL of Ohanaeze Ndigbo is unquantifiable. He ensured that a powerful Abia delegation led by Dr Eme Okoro, the former SSG of Abia state and the Deputy Chief of Staff Agwu Ukpai went to Enugu to deliver Abia National Officers, Dr Solomon Ogunji, Deputy Secretary General, Hon Chuks Ibegbu, National Deputy Publicity Secretary and CP Oleka Udeka, National Vice Chairman Abia. We need not also forget the strong support the former Governor of Abia state Senator T A Orji gave to the state chapter of the body and the National chapter too.
As a powerful delegation of the Ohanaeze Ndgbo leadership ably led by Barr Nnia Nwodo , the President General storm Abia state on thursday, 5th October, 2017, there is no doubt that the challenges facing the Elder Justus Ajuzieogu and Deacon Ugochukwu Nwokojie led administration of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Abia state is herculian and the expectations from them in promoting Igbo norms , culture and heritage, high. TO GOD BE THE GLORY
CHUKS IBEGBU IS A PUBLIC AFFAIRS ANALYST AND THE NATIONAL DEPUTY PUBLICITY SECRETARY OF OHANAEZE NDIGBO. HE IS ALSO THE CURATOR AND HISTORIAN OF THE ORGANISATION.
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