Ohanaeze knocks Oluwo over comment on Igbo presidency

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The Ohaneze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural group, on Tuesday responded to what it called a divisive comment by the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdul-Rasheed Akanbi.

Oluwo at the weekend said that he cannot trust any south-easterner to be Nigeria’s President in 2023 and that Nigerians would not vote for an Igbo president.

Ohanaeze in its reaction to the monarch’s statement said the Oluwo as a traditional ruler should be a father to all and not be the one stoking the fires of ethnicity in Nigeria through partisan politics.

The apex Igbo socio-cultural group made this known on Tuesday in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Alex Ogbonnia.

The group cautioned the monarch against sowing seeds of discord against the Igbo people in the race for the 2023 presidency and other general issues.

Ohanaeze cautioned the first-class traditional ruler against sponsoring hatred against the Igbo.

“One of the qualities of a well-adjusted traditional ruler is to be open-minded towards all, especially people of other ethnic groups that may be found in his domain.

“One of the reasons the traditional rulers are insulated from partisan politics is to avoid an overdrive or the kind of overzealousness exhibited by Oba Akanbi in an effort to retire a gift from his candidate for the presidency in 2023.

“In promoting his preferred candidate, he has committed a fallacy of hasty generalisation when he stated that ‘the style by south easterners is barbaric’; the Igbo cannot be trusted with power, etc.”

Ohanaeze submitted that while the group will not go into any form of public exchange of words with the monarch out of respect for tradition, it advised that the Oluwo should not be hasty in his conclusions.

“The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide led by Professor George Obiozor is a civilized cultural organisation and by its prospectus, Ohanaeze has profound respect for culture and traditional rulers.

“We will, therefore, restrain from hoisting the monarch with his own petard, rather we advise that he should undergo some tutelage under some more experienced cosmopolitan urbane intelligent monarchs.”

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“It is self-evident that Nigeria is a beleaguered country that urgently needs nation-building; inflammatory and incendiary remarks from monarchs and the highly placed are antithetical to peace and unity of Nigeria.

“One of the qualities of a well-adjusted traditional ruler is to be open-minded towards all, especially people of other ethnic groups that may be found in his domain,” he added.

The group said Igbo are patriotic nation-builders who believe in Nigeria and are ready to work with other ethnic groups to make the country better.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Igbo are adventurous nation builders; they are found in all parts of Nigeria and beyond. They make friends easily and also feel at home with their children in all parts of the world.

“Records across the world indicate that the Igbo are branded in Midas touch. They quickly learn the language and culture of the host community with a view to contributing towards the socio-economic growth of the community.

“The people of other ethnic groups that had their National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Igbo land can always attest to the Igbo friendliness and hospitality during their service years; some ended up marrying Igbo.v

It also described the claims by the monarch that Igbo don’t allow strangers to acquire property and build houses in the southeast as very untrue.

“The wild claims that the Igbo prevent people from the other parts of the country from acquiring properties in their domain or have an obnoxious policy of depriving other Nigerians of their rights cannot be substantiated.

“On the other hand, it is inconceivable that a group that builds modern houses in all parts of the country will prevent other ethnics from building in their homestead. One would think that the morbid fabrication of falsehood is a terrible mischief, only for the uninitiated”, Ohanaeze said.

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