A cross section of Igbos in the Diaspora have kicked against the choice of retired General Ike Nwachukwu as leader of the Igbo delegation to the National Conference inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan this evening in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.
Acting under the aegis of Nzuka-Igbo USA, they are demanding Nwachukwu’s withdrawal from the conference, saying that his antecedents do not inspire any confidence in his ability to represent Ndigbo well the confab. Nzuko-Igbo USA made its case in a statement signed by For and on behalf of Nzuko-Igbo USA Vincent O. Erondu, President; Owen Owunwanne, PhD, Secretary; Attorney Uche Okedi; Mr. Oster Nwankwo; Mr. Ugo Ukandu; Sylvester Nwaoye, PhD; and Mr. Clement Dennar, The statement reads as follws:
“Nzuko-Igbo USA, calls on South-East Governors Forum, Ohanaeze Ndiigbo, Aka-Ikenga and all stake holders in the South-East to please replace General Ike Nwachukwu as the leader of South – East delegation to the forthcoming National Conference.
“Various reactions are trailing General Ike Nwachukwu’s selection not only to be a member of the delegation from Abia state, but to lead the South-East delegates to the national conference. The issues arising from this nomination go beyond General Nwachukwu’s membership of Abia delegation, but how he emerged as the leader of the delegation. The public, particularly the Igbo would like to know who chose General Nwachukwu to lead the delegation. As for the membership of the delegation from Abia State, no one should be surprised that he made the list. “Governor T.A. Orji never believes in fairness, experience and equity. He is an ardent believer in personality cult, rubbing the palms of praise singers, hand outs to political party agents disguised as traditional rulers, instead of using public resources to execute projects beneficial to the citizenry regardless of status, ethnicity, and local government of origin.
“Unreservedly, we admit that Abia state delegates to the conference are qualitative. Abia has so many qualified people for this job in all respects. Picking just 10 with all the strings attached is an onerous task. The two Generals; Ike Nwachukwu and Ihejirika should not have been on the delegation list for obvious and different reasons. With several qualified persons in Abia and the South-East region the choice of General Nwachukwu as a delegate let alone leader of the team is a mistake that should have been avoided.
“Whoever that recommended or chose General Ike Nwachukwu to lead our delegation should tell us when the General began to take interest in Abia State, Igbo and regional matters. Do his supporters not know that this General has a lot of political baggage? He has not been able to defend all allegations against him about the Nigerian-Biafra war. He is not known to be a builder or a leader even though he led soldiers. The National Conference calls for civilian leadership. It is not for the elites alone, or for the military top brass. General Nwachukwu was given the opportunity to lead the Igbo twice: as Military Governor and Senator but he blew the opportunity each time.
“As a military Governor, he set the Igbo clock of progress backward. He destroyed all that Governor S.O. Mbakwe put in place. Our cities Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, etc began to deteriorate as all rubbish/trash bins stationed at strategic places for the proper disposal of rubbish/trash disappeared. His era marked the genesis of urban deterioration in the old Imo State. Our cities are yet to recover from the disappearance of the sanitary equipments. We were subjected to Educational suffocation as he abolished a system that had campus in the five senatorial districts of the state and replaced it with a single campus university. Each campus of the then Imo State University system had the potential of developing into a university. The cost to the Igbo as a result of this hindsight or lack of planning is not quantifiable.
“As a senator, he was not effective. Let him tell the Igbo Bills he initiated to correct the structural imbalance and obnoxious military decrees and edits that targets the Igbo, including boundary adjustments to deprive Igbo States off shore oil revenues. Since he left the Senate and retired to private life what Igbo group does he belonged to and what has he done to further the interest of the Igbo or our region. Former Senator Joseph Waku from Benue State (a retired Non Commission Officer) was more active than our General in the Senate. Since Senator Waku left the Senate he has been active in Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF). He is heard in almost every national debate but nobody hears from General Nwachukwu. Now he wants to lead the South-East delegation to the National Conference.
“In 2003 General Elections, General Ike Nwachukwu contested for the presidency of Nigeria. He was the flag bearer of National Democratic Party (NDP). His campaign never got off the ground, turnaround he was merely filling in for a northern General. How can the Igbo trust his leadership to the National Conference? Considering all of the above, this man does not have us at heart. He does not know our states, Igbo or our regional problems and boundaries. He lacks community spirit and community organizing skills. We have not read where the Federal Government indicated that zonal delegates must be lead by retired Generals. South-East may be the only zone to be led by an uninterested retired General in a predominantly civilian affair.
“The old war horse Senator Uche Chukwumereije is suitable for this leadership position, but for the national assembly’s lackadaisical attitude towards the national conference. Senator Chukwumereije, is a solid gentleman who would under no circumstance stab his people or colleagues at the back. We understand Senators Adolphus Wabara and Senator Ken Nnamani, having held the highest political office currently in the South-East zone can lead the delegation. As a matter of fact any vibrant and experienced politician from the zone should replace General Ike Nwachukwu. We are not short of qualified personalities. We still have people like Admiral Ebite Ukiwe who has fully integrated himself into civilian society and has participated directly or indirectly in matters affecting the region and Nigeria at large. Replacing General Ike Nwachukwu is imperative to get our delegation back to track and have them enjoy the fullest support of our people the represented.
“The constitutional Conference is a rarity; Nigerians have agitated for it for several years. It offers an opportunity to shelve or consign all manners of injustices, inequalities, imposed colonial and military constitutions, to the dust bin and put traditional colonists in check. It will replace the anomalies in our polity and lay the foundations for modern Federal system of Government rooted in democratic principles and Rule of Law.
“General Azubuike Ihejirika, the Darling of the people: This newly retired gentleman should not have been nominated to the National Conference. He needs time to rest, reintegrate himself into civilian society, and understand the needs and aspirations of his people at various levels; Local, State, Regional and Federal governments. His accomplishments speak for themselves. When our win at all cost politicians could not retrieve the arms they gave to their tugs and kidnappers to intimidate their opponents and the public for election purposes, and could not provide them with livelihood, the tugs turned their weapon on our people. General Ihejirika with the blessings of President Jonathan rid our home of the tugs turned kidnappers and made the South-East livable again. General! Take it “Nwayoly” Age is on your side. We shall not forget when your time comes. We also, disagree that the elevation of General Ihejirika ended Igbo marginalization in Nigerian Army but a desirable improvement to our aged long situation.
“The stake holders and the powers that be in the South-East should feel the pulse of the people, read and digest comments from various Igbo organization and individuals and act accordingly.
Remember that “a stitch in time saves nine”. Avoid had we known.
“Nzuko-Igbo USA, calls on South-East Governors Forum, Ohanaeze Ndiigbo, Aka-Ikenga and all stake holders in the South-East to please replace General Ike Nwachukwu as the leader of South-East delegation to the forthcoming National Conference.”
Source News Express