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Ohanaeze lists terms for Nigeria’s unity, rules out secession, as Sultan, Zulum, preach peace

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Ohanaeze says Nigeria’s unity can be guaranteed under inclusive governance.

By Emma Ogbuehi

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Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has said that Nigeria’s unity would be non-negotiable if the present political leaders will be all-inclusive in their decisions. Notwithstanding, the organisation ruled out secession as an option, arguing rather that the desire of everybody is a larger entity.

The Chairman, Council of Elders of Ohanaeze, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu made the remark at the 3rd Igbo Nsukka Zik Annual Merit Award in Abuja with the theme: ‘Nigeria of our dreams: possibilities, challenges & realities’.

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This as the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, urged Nigerians to take a cue from the late nationalist, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, in whose honour the lecture was held.

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Vanguard reports that other leaders, who spoke at the event, included former governor of Enugu state, Okwesilieze Nwodo; wife of late Nnamdi Azikiwe, Uche Azikiwe; and Governor of Borno state, Babagana Umara Zulum.

According to Iwuanyanwu, “Secession is never an option. Everybody is thinking of being large or big.

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He said: “Nigeria today is a large area of about 200 million people. Whatever you’re doing, if you’re a businessman then you have a market for 200 million people.

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“Why do you want to break it and go to a smaller place? So, I think that all these people talking about secession should please think about it.

“I am somebody who fought, who got injured, who suffered during the war so I am somebody who lost to those things better than myself.

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“I am a father and also the chairman of council of elders, so I am talking as a father that we should walk towards peace.

“I am also warning Nigerians, nobody should come and say that there is a law everybody must obey.

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“Nigeria is a nation state comprising so many ethnicities. Everybody knows their group, they know their culture.

“So, it is not possible to bring American democracy here. We need zoning. It should be zoned among the six geopolitical zones.

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“If you do that then there will be no tension. But if you say Igbos cannot come together, the repercussions will be on the people of Nigeria because you cannot force people.

“A leader must be fair, just to everybody so that the younger people can know that they can participate,” he added.

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While extolling the late Azikiwe, for placing as top priority the unity of Nigeria, the Sultan urged Nigerians to take a cue from him and make peace a top on the list of national agenda.

“I call on my Igbo brothers and sisters, home and abroad, to emulate the good deeds of our father, he never fought for only the eastern part of the country but he was with everyone”, he said.

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On his part, the Borno state Governor, Babagana Umar Zulum, represented by Commissioner for environment, Yerima Saleh, said: “Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was not only zik of Nigeria but was Zik of Africa who is regarded as the chief inspirer of the young Nationalists in the continent, where the first president of Ghana Nkuma, said in his autobiography that Zik inspired him.

“Zik of Africa acclimatization in all parts of Africa has exemplified his virtues of indiscriminate treatment of all and sundry.Zik was born in Niger state in Zungeru, and can speak the three major languages of the country fluently.

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“This is a rare true meaning of nationalism that we need to promote. His efforts in the struggle for independence was for the nationhood of Nigeria and not for ethnic or original nationalists.”

Bemoaning the current state of the country, wife to the late Nnamdi Azikiwe, Uche Azikiwe, said called on all political leaders to ensure that the unity of Nigeria is preserved so that the labour of past leaders won’t be futile.

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Her words: “I am always worried when certain things are happening in Nigeria. A few years I live with him. I know how he pressured Nigeria. He will say whatever that will make Nigeria disintegrate, God forbid.

“That is why I will stand on behalf of Azikiwe to pray that whatever happens, Nigeria will never disintegrate. Please let us come together. It will make him happy and make some of his other contemporaries happy that Nigeria is one. Please, let our current leaders do something to make sure that Nigeria is one. One Nigeria is what we need.”

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Recounting historical events and the efforts put in place to achieve independence, the keynote speaker, Barr. Mainasara Kogo Umar, said:”At that time when Nigeria was the glaring, shining talent of the international world.

“In those days how Zik and others argued among themselves who should be even the leader, the Prime Minister. But, in today’s Nigeria you have to think of generating huge millions for you to be able to get the form to even express your aspiration.

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“You have to think of it and as a result of which what we should now do towards 2023 is that we should imbibe that spirit of common brotherhood and eschew violence.

“We should think of Nigeria and a second treasure given to us by God to manage, bearing in mind that if Nigeria gets its rights the entirety of Africa and the entirety of the black world And the entirety of the third world nation’s stand to be proud.”

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