By Cosmas Chukwu
This year’s Igbo Day celebration was marked with sober reflection and a resolve to produce a Nigerian president from the Igbo ethnic group.
In a statement issued , signed and made available to newsmen by Dr Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, the Ohanaeze National Publicity Secretary, the apex Igbo sociocultural groupreflected that
“The Igbo Day is celebrated on September 29 of every year. The Igbo Day derived its roots in the gruesome pogrom which took the lives of over 30,000 Igbos in Northern parts of Nigeria on September 29, 1966. Since then, September 29 every year is set aside to reflect on Igbo history, reappraise the Igbo contemporary challenges and to renew our commitment to Igbo unity and common destiny.
“Although, there were incidences of mass attacks against the Igbo at various times but all such adversaries have been channeled into September 29 of every year as a very remarkable day in the Igbo history. It was the day Major General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi Ironsi, the Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces was killed along with his host Lt. Col. Adekunle Fajuyi, the Military Governor of the Western Region by Northern military officers in what was tagged a counter coup. Several other Igbo officers were located at various military formations and killed on July 29, 1966. It was also a day, Col Fajuyi, a Yoruba, chose to pay the supreme prize than to betray a host and an Igbo friend. Some of the past historical events are profound lessons which should continue to strike the transcendental cords of our innermost beings.”
Ohanaeze insisted that ” While the September 29 every year is admitted as a day of sober reflection on one hand, we have chosen to use the occasion to celebrate the Igbo resilience, ingenuity, entrepreneurial skills, frontier spirit and global friendship on the other.
“Without sounding immodest, all Nigerians affirm that the Igbo are endowed with the highest human creative potential, perhaps in the whole Africa. How come that an ethnic group that has suffered various kinds of injustice, alienation and relative deprivations have undauntedly remained afloat in the academia, corporate world, transportation, tourism, commerce and industry, etc? So, instead of mourning, we have chosen to celebrate the God’s love and kindness towards the Igbo.
“We celebrate the innate audacity and perseverance in the Igbo to break physical boundaries to achieve results where most fail. We celebrate that we passed through the valley of the shadow of death and bounced back; passed through the belly of the whale; traversed turmoil and hell and bounced back to glory and spendour. We celebrate the courage, tenacity and adaptability to live and thrive in all parts of the world. We celebrate the promise of God that he fights for the oppressed.”
The statement disclosed that “The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Prof. George Obiozor, sees September 29, 2022 as a turning point in Igbo history. It is a convocation of some sorts; a renewal of Igbo pragmatic communalism- a concept that underscores the need to be our brother’s keeper and that the stronger should always protect the weaker brethren; re-enacting our shared values and uphold our rare capacity to pursue a common interest with an uncommon unity and deepest passion.
While thanking Nigerians of all walks of life for their overflowing supports and solidarity as we approach the 2023 general election, Obiozor charges all sons and daughters of Igbo land, both at home and in the Diaspora, that all hands must be on deck to ensure that our set goal and commitment for a Nigerian president from the South East of Nigeria is vigorously pursued to its logical conclusion.”