BY John Nnia Nwodo
Mr Speaker sir,Honourable members of Anambra State House of Assembly,
I am delighted to be here in this Honourable House to share thoughts with you on a number of issues confronting our people in this state and Igbo land as a whole.
Anambra state is outstanding amongst the various states in Igboland. I have in fact held in many quarters that Anambra claims more than 50 per cent of blessings the Almighty God showered on Igbo people. Let me give you a few examples.
The only Igbo man that has been president of Nigeria (even if ceremonial) His Exellency, Right Honourable Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe is from Anambra. The only Igbo man that have ever attained the exalted office of elected vice president of Nigeria, Dr. Alex Ekwueme is from Anambra. An Anambra son, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu is the only Igbo man to have been referred to as Head of State of Republic of Biafra. Of all Igbo states, no state has produced two Senate Presidents (Dr Akwaeke Nwafor Orizu and Dr. Chuba Okadigbo) except Anambra state. Similarly no Igbo state is yet to beat the record of Anambra State in producing two speakers of the House of Representatives namely Chief Edwin Ume -Ezeoke and Chief Agunwa Anakwe. In the international political arena the only Nigerian that has occupied the office of the Secretary General of the Commonwealth is from Anambra state, Chief Emeka Anyaoku.
In all fields of learning and enterprise, Anambra’ s distinction is unparalleled. In ICT Philip Emegwali, in Literature, Chinua Achebe, Cyprian Ekwensi, Chimamamda Adichie stand out significantly. I shall not bore you with more names in commerce and industry and other fields of endeavour. But suffice it to say that Anambra state is outstanding in Igbo land.
Today Anambra has the lowest poverty index in Nigeria. Today Anambra has the highest growth rate of manufacturing outfits in Nigeria. Today Anambra has the highest growth of import substitution endeavours in rice and vegetable production in Nigeria. Today Anambra is the state with the lowest loan exposure in Nigeria with capacity to meet its monthly obligations to its workers timeously. Today Anambra and Lagos are the only states involved in the building of new cities planned to meet the standard of any modern city in the world.
Its edge over Lagos is that it is also building along with this modern city, an international airport with the capacity for passengers and cargo haulage. In Onitsha every village in Igbo land is represented in bustling and highly competitive commercial transactions. Anambra is important to the Igboland. Anambra is important to Ohanaeze.
News that reached us in the past few days that Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of IPOB has declared that there will be no election in Anambra State in November is shocking and disturbing. I hereby countermand that declaration as President of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo.
Whereas Ohanaeze understands the marginalisation and unfair treatment of Igbos which have given rise to self-determination movements in Igboland, leaders of these movements must not arrogate to themselves the supreme leadership of Igbo land. Statement of the kind credited to Nnamdi Kanu is provocative, misleading and unproductive. Why should Anambra people be denied the opportunity to choose their own leader? Why should any of us who are not from Anambra , no matter how highly placed, descend to the arena and dictate for Anambra people when to vote , whether to vote or who to vote for?
Anambra, nay Igbos, are still part and parcel of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Yes, we are not happy with our treatment in Nigeria. Yes, some of us want Biafra. Yes some of us prefer a restructured Federal Republic of Nigeria. But the fact remains that we are still part and parcel of the present federal Republic of Nigeria, bound by its laws, no matter how repressive or unjust. Our approach to reforms of our laws even if it leads to self-determination or restructuring must be lawful.
We must convince other Nigerians of our points of views, we must strive to make others share our convictions. Our language must be civil, respectful and leads to consensus building. We must resist any attempt to turn division amongst us, as to which way we must go, become a source of altercation between us. As we speak, very many of our people living in Northern Nigeria are in complete awe and consternation regarding how safe they will be after October 1. Other Northerners living among us here are also worried. The Inspector General of Police has taken public notice of Nnamdi’s comments inviting a possible invasion of Anambra by the Nigerian police, increasing the already existing siege of our people which leads to daily extortion on our highways. All these developments have arisen out of unguarded utterances.
I find no venue suitable for the statements I make here. Every constituent part of Anambra State is represented here. I believe that the honourable members here are competent enough to carry the Ohanaeze message to every nook and cranny of Anambra State. We are happy with the peace that exists here. We are happy with the steady progress Anambra has registered over the years. The next election can only improve not retard it.
I thank you for your kind attention.
Being an address to Anambra State House of Assembly by President General Of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo