Full Text of World Press Conference By OGANIRU NDIGBO GBURUGBURU tilted, NDIGBO ARE HUMAN, ALIVE AND DESERVED TO BE HEARD.
Good afternoon honourable guests, Ndi Nze na Ozo, Leaders of Communities, Heads of Industries, Gentlemen of the Media, members of OGANIRU NDIGBO GBURUGBURU, Our Lords Spiritual & Temporal, Ladies and Gentlemen. We have gathered here today the 5th day of August 2023 to call the attention of the world, relevant stakeholders, and constituted authorities including the Federal government of Nigeria, the 36 states of the country, especially the Lagos State Government and the entire Igbo race all over the world.
Before we delve into the subject matter, it will be important to make it clear why the choice of Lagos for this historical event. Lagos as a cosmopolitan state remains the only state with the largest concentration of Igbo people outside the South East. In Lagos, we have the highest number of victims of shop demolition and other casualties arising from disputes with the host communities. Being the commercial capital of the country including the fact that we are known for business, we deem it necessary to gather here to speak nothing but unalloyed truth towards peaceful coexistence of one another and advancement of all irrespective of tribe, religion or colour.
Secondly, it will be important to note here that our allegiance and faith in a united, peaceful and progressive Nigeria remains unquestionable hence our resolve to find workable solutions and steps towards the protection, promotion and advancement of Igbo race and making our country a better place.
OGANIRU NDIGBO GBURUGBURU is a foremost Igbo socio-cultural group. non-partisan, non-profit socio-cultural organization aimed at promoting Igbo interest both locally and across the globe, arriving at the scene of the voices crying in the scene, proclaiming safety, security, harmonious coexistence of Ndigbo with other peoples anywhere the world over and the understanding of our goodwill and positive disposition of Ndigbo towards everyone and everywhere. We aim to douse the tension and reduce the almost mutual suspicion between our people and others (especially in the Nigeria project) and to stop the suspicion of our moves, motives and intentions in almost all interactions. We want to propagate the real mindset of NDIGBO, and that is to work harmoniously with all races/ humans for a safer and more prosperous world. [The Eagle has landed]. It is almost a common cliché in Communication Arts that if you don’t say I am somebody, nobody will say thou art. We are, therefore, preaching this gospel for good mutual coexistence between our people and the rest of the world.
Happenings over time have tended to create a wrong impression, misunderstanding and dichotomy between our people and other peoples, especially in Nigeria. Such is not real. It’s only the misguided handiwork of mischief makers propagated for their selfish interests. They saw a gap in information and knowledge and tapped into it. We are here today and hereafter to close that gap and redirect that energy to the right path and to let people see us in our real true light for a better future ahead and to see our people as partners in global progress.
It is no longer news that the people of Ndigbo is a leader in economic advancement beyond the shores of Nigeria. Politically, it played pivotal roles through the political leaders of the regional powerhouse, the NCNC including the formation of PDP, APC, LP, NNPP and others. The role of the people of Ndigbo even in the enthronement and sustainability of our present democracy can not be over-emphasized.
Just like every other race with its peculiarities, it will be justified to say here that Ndigbo is not and cannot be a perfect race even as we pride ourselves as an enlightened people, we have our peculiarities and weaknesses. But unfortunately our gathering here today is not and cannot begin to look at peculiarities, strengths or weaknesses of different tribes that made up the country but like earlier stated, we are to find a way of addressing some of the imminent challenges facing the Igbo race home and abroad.
As an organization with a special interest in security, peaceful coexistence and uplifting the socio-economic condition of the people of Ndigbo we have noted the following:
We have observed with keen interest the ongoing tension and acrimony between some of our Kinsmen here in Lagos and the host communities.
We have equally noted the challenges of the Igbo race not just in the country but across the world with their many businesses and shelters being destroyed with no compensation or regard to the law of the land.
Again, we have also noted with dismay the continued detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu by the Federal government of Nigeria even after being declared free to go home by the competent Courts of law.
As a responsible organization, we have seen and experienced the worst road network you cannot get anywhere compared to other zones in the country.
Our attention has also been drawn to the incessant killing in Igbo land including the much debated sit at home which has snowballed into a contest between the progressive and the ultra conservationists including the economic activities which are fast deteriorating in the southeast.
The in-fighting among the Igbo in their different organizations and abodes is also a serious concern to us as a body.
As a result of the aforestated, the leadership of Oganiru Ndigbo Gburugburu hereby states as follows:
That we are calling on President Ahmed Bola Tinubu to see a reason to initiate the process of healing the wound of injustice, suppression and marginalization which have characterized the political atmosphere in the country, especially in recent times.
We are calling upon the Federal government of Nigeria to rise to its responsibilities of addressing the huge infrastructural deficit in Igbo land especially road infrastructure which has continued to cause untold hardship to Ndigbo. The 9th Mile – Opi- Otukpo road and other notable federal roads in Igbo land have now turned into a very wild forest and death traps and fertile ground for criminals. Most of these roads were last fixed by the Shagari regime and up to date no successive administration deemed it necessary to repair them. And it calls for question when you cannot find such a road as bad as it is anywhere in the country. Why?
The airports in the east lack quality infrastructural deficit despite having very significant Igbo travelers dominating this sector. This is quite unacceptable and does not speak well of a country that mean well or is serious about boosting its economy and so we urge the administration of Alhaji Bola Tinubu and other relevant authorities to please as a matter of urgency begin to address these infrastructural deficits in Ala-Igbo.
Seaports are major gateways to the economy of a country but unfortunately, the politics and bureaucracy that have accompanied seaports in Ala-Igbo are mind-boggling. For example, at Osemoto/Oseokwa in Imo and Anambra States, there we have potentially the deepest seaports in the country. These deep seaports when developed will create millions of jobs, directly and indirectly. We call on relevant authorities to explore the Maritime opportunities in Ala-Igbo as this will go a very long way in reducing insecurity in the country. So we appeal to President Ahmed Tinubu to write his name in the history of the country as a President who implemented or initiated the reconstruction of the economy of Ndigbo and that of the country in general. These seaports in the Ala-Igbo will not only serve Ndigbo but the entire country.
For 1-2 years now, the yoke of a sit-at-home has been the burden imposed on the economic, social and security life of people of the East, especially the Southeast. This has left the people with no option but to eke life out of only personal and/ or group efforts through daily trading activities to remain alive. It is on top of this unprecedented marginalization that a group of self-serving renegades have taken up arms, disrupting, destroying, killing and maiming our people in the name of enforcing an economically meaningless sit at home claiming it is for the release of Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi KANU who is being held by the Federal Govt of Nigeria. It doesn’t look rational. And this madness happens every Monday, the first working day of every week. If this is not sabotage, let somebody tell us a better qualifying word. So we in OGANIRU NDIGBO GBURUGBURU totally, without equivocation condemn the sit-at-home and its purveyors. Well, according to his lawyers, Onyendu himself has not only condemned and dissociated himself from the irrationality but also written to one Simon Ekpa, living in Finland to stop it forthwith. We appeal to the relevant authorities including Simon Ekpa himself and the government of Finland to ensure this comes to an end in view of the present economic realities in the country.
We are calling on President Bola Tinubu to begin the process of reconciling different tribes in the country by releasing the political prisoners, especially Mazi Nnamdi Kanu whom the court on different occasions released to go but the reason behind his continuous incarceration is what we don’t know. But for whatever reason, we appeal to the Federal government of Nigeria to see reasons to release Kanu, especially given his deteriorating health.
In that vein we earnestly appeal to the Federal Government of Nigeria and other development agencies to focus their searchlight on the East and unearth the immeasurable potentials languishing in each zone; that will be to the benefit of all. If all zones of this country are given some fair attention, output will skyrocket and very soon exports will dominate, create jobs, reduce unemployment and other social vices and shore up the value of the national currency to the benefit of all.
That we call on the entire Igbo race, home and abroad to rise to their responsibilities and put a stop to this self-sabotage that is already damaging the economy of the South East and impoverishing the masses. We stand side by side, shoulder to shoulder in support of an end to this joke taken too far in the name of Sit at home.
We thank and appreciate all the host communities all over the world where our brothers do their businesses but it will be important to state here that we want an end to the madness of continuous destruction of our businesses and properties. From history, Igbo people are not known to be violent and so we condemn in totality the act of transferred aggression usually unleashed on Ndigbo any time there is issues both home and outside the country.
OGANIRU NDIGBO GBURUGBURU wants to use this occasion to state that NDIGBO is not interested in forcefully appropriating any group’s property or creating chaos in any environment they found themselves in. It should be understood that our people are only interested in a conducive operating environment and a level playing ground to do their business anywhere they find themselves. The Igbo man is an agent of development wherever he is, especially outside his natural home of the South East. Yet he is not tolerated. That is strange and quite worrisome. No nation succeeds with the mindset of ethnic cleansing, marginalization or stereotyping. Go and ask about former Yugoslavia and others.
We want to use this opportunity to call on our brothers and sisters across the 36 states of the Federation and all over the world to remain strong and steadfast. We take pride in your many adventures and innovations across the globe but we urge you to ensure that you always respect the customs and traditions of your host communities just as you would allow another person to do yours back home. Know your boundaries and cease sensationalizing issues that concern us as a people.
As a body, we have dispatched letters to all the elected officers in the East including the governors in the five states in the East on the task ahead which includes the need for them to use their good office in ensuring the development of Ala-Igbo region for the good of the entire nation. This is not the time to engage in partisan politics. You must work together and explore every legitimate means to attract development to Ala-Igbo. Know that in the next four years, you will be showing Ndigbo your score card.
In a few weeks to come, we will be unveiling a blueprint and road map to IGBO RENAISSANCE which will take place in Enugu. The blueprint which will be a game changer and will also be a model for other regions and together with the governors in the east, and relevant stakeholders and other Igbo organizations both home and abroad, we will make the blueprint a reality in Igbo land. We want to use this opportunity to call on our brothers and sisters all over the world to stand to support the birth of a new era in Igbo land and take advantage of the Investment opportunities in Ala-Igbo. We call on you to always think home and take advantage of several developing industrial parks and layouts scattered across the in Ala-Igbo. Please we encourage you to feel free to contact us ([email protected]) or via our various social media handles if you need more information or assistance on the many investment opportunities in the South East.
This is indeed a clarion call on wealthy sons and daughters of the Igbo nation to look towards home to make Alaigbo great. God has blessed the Igbo nation but we need to bring it to reality, rather we think outside our homeland, believing that is where we can make it. There are many benefits to gain if we come back home and develop Alaigbo. An average Igbo man is known wherever he goes. We are known for unity, hard work etc. yet our region is grossly underdeveloped. Oftentimes, we are invited to government or religious functions where we make huge donations, neglecting where we come from; how have we helped our communities to grow? Do we offer scholarships to those indigent students with poor parents that have no money to train their children? Are we “o ka mma n’ ama?”
The economic benefits of aku ruo ulo are unquantifiable. If we invest in Alaigbo it will further quicken the physical and economic development of the region. More jobs will spring up and social vices will take a nosedive. It could be a panacea to reducing the security challenges being experienced presently in Igbo land with most of the perpetrators attributable to high levels of unemployment.
We doff our cap to the people of Nnewi who at a point made it mandatory for all their importers to open their containers at Nnewi…this strategy yielded the desired result as people from other regions now travel to Nnewi to buy goods thereby leading to a rapid development of the area; this fit can be replicated in the other parts of Igbo land.
The same goes for Innoson Motors which has made us proud by citing its auto assembly plant in Alaigbo rather than Lagos or elsewhere. This is the spirit of Aku ruo Ulo. Biblically, God wants us to always think home and come back home in whatever we do and wherever we go, otherwise, why do you think he brought the Israelites out of Egypt? When Jacob was about to die, he said to Joseph in Gen 48:21, God will be with you as you go back to the land of your ancestors Gen 49:29, Jacob said they should bury him in the land where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Leah was buried. Even Joseph told his brothers to vow in Gen 50:25 to bury him in the land God is taking them to, not in a foreign land. If you think home is not important, why do the Igbo race take the dead home for burial, no matter where he dies? Great people of the SouthEast, we believe the time is ripe for us to think home. Despite being marginalized, we are still where we are. We have the mandate to change Alaigbo and it begins with you as you listen to this release.
Like the last sentence, a priest makes at the end of a mass “Go in peace and spread the good news” so I urge you all to go in peace and enlighten your communities especially our wealthy sons and daughters that have investments scattered all over the world. Let them know that there are lots of investment opportunities in Ala Igbo.
Finally, we call on the Igbo leaders anywhere they are to take responsibility for themselves and stop this in-fighting and undue superiority contest among themselves. This unnecessary in-fighting is giving us a bad name and we want an end to that. Be your brother’s keepers and most importantly, see the reason why you need to at least set up one or two industries in the South East. Oganiru Ndigbo Gburugburu being a socio-cultural and non-profit organization with a special interest in changing the face of Igbo land for good will always be there to provide you with any support you need to make that dream of industrializing the entire Igbo land a reality.
Ladies and gentlemen, today is not a speech-making day. We only want to let you know our common resolve to collaborate with you on the national development agenda, especially Ala Igbo. The Igbo race needs to be heard.
Thank you all, for listening and please spread the message.
OGANIRU NDIGBO GBURUGBURU
Martins Chiedozie Ugwu
OGANIRU NDIGBO GBURUGBURU