ADF STATEMENT ON THE DECLARATION OF IGBO POSITION BY THE LEADERSHIP OF OHANAEZE:AT EKWUEME SQUARE, AWKA ON MAY 21, 2018 .
1. Prelude – Meeting of Imeobi Ohaneze on May 8, 2018
i. On May 8, 2018, a meeting of the Ime-Obi Ohanaeze was convened to discuss the proposed Ohanaeze document on the Position of the South-East. Out of six ADF members that attended, only ADF President, was allowed in.
ii. At this meeting a document was read by Prof. Chukwuma Soludo as the Position of the South East.
iii. The President of ADF made three salient observations, namely
• That it was not proper for a body that goes by the name Ohanaeze Ndigbo to present to the world a position of only a part of Alaigbo, excudog Igbos in Anioma, Rivers State, and even Kogi and Benue.
He advised that what was needed was a document representing Ndigbo the osition of the entire Igbo nation as the Yoruba did, What they declared was the position of the Yoruba Nation 9including Kwara, Kogi and Edo Yoruba,
• That the way and manner the Position of Ndigbo on their Future was being forged was not in the interest of Ndigbo.
For example, there has not been any serious attempt to get major stake-holders and representatives of interest groups in Alaigbo to a round table to discuss and determine what can be truly regarded as Igbo Position.
He said he had spoken to many elders and statesmen among Igbo leaders. They all complained that they were not being involved in a matter that has to do with the destiny of over 100 Igbo world-wide.
He referred in particular to the ADF Memorandum on the Future of Alaigbo and the Federation of Nigeria which the Alaigbo Development Foundation submitted to the President-General of Ohanaeze, to which there has not been any acknowledgement up till that moment.
He referred specifically attempt to convene meetings to discuss Igbo position which was based on fake documents, The discovery of this led to the withdrawal of Senator Eninna Abaribe from presiding over what amounted to a fraudulent exercise,
• The President of ADF referred to the very core statement in the document which asserted that there are two choices to make, namely
– To choose between RESTRUCTURING or
– SELF-DETERMINATION AND SECESSION.
To which Prof. Soludo asserted that their finding is that Ndigbo want RESTRUCTURING and do not want
SELF-DETERMINATION AND SECESSION.
To this, the ADF President expressed horror that anybody who calls himself Nwafor Igbo let alone Igbo leader could make such assertion to the attention of the world. And such an assertion is made in a document which we know was going to be advertised to the whole world!
THAT NDIGBO DO NOT WANT SELF-DETERMINATION! THAT THEY WANT TO REMAIN IN NIGERIA AS SLAVES WITHOUT A CHOICE AS TO HOW THEY WOULD REMAIN, IF REMAIN THEY MUST!
Although the President did not look kindly to the ADF President’s intervention, he, however, asked Prof Soludo to invite him to the next meeting of his Committee. The ADFF President did not receive any invitation to any meeting.
In a discussion with the ADF Vice-President. Prof Elochukwu Amucheazi, the later informed him about Prof. Soludo’s visit to him. Apparently this was when Soludo collected the document which Prof. Nwabueze’s Igbo Leaders of Thought which he referred to in his speech at the Awka declaration. It must be stressed that the later document was not prodced in liu of the Aka event.
2. ADF has since issued a Report of what transpired at the Ime-Obi and the President’s intervention. Secondly, ADF did an analysis of the text as presented to Ime Obi, And finally, ADF prepared what is considered and given the title as
“ADF Proposal To Ndigbo and Ohanaeze –
A More Realistic Text for Declaration as Igbo Position.
THE IGBO POSITION On the Future of Alaigbo & The Future of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”
The leadership of ADF directed the ADF Secretary Prof. Nathaniel Aniekwu to forward this position to Chief Nnia Nwodo and Prof. Soludo; which he did on the 17th of May. Of course, as usual. No response.
3. Failing to get any reaction and without knowing what document that was going to be declared, ADF leadership issued the following brief statement on why ADF was not participating in the Awka Declaration.
“ADF ANNOUNCEMENT !!!
EVENTS AT AWKA TODAY!
ADF shall not be represented at the event at Awka. It is not even clear what it is – SUMMIT or DECLARATION?
ADF does not even know the contents of what they wish to present as the Igbo Position.
If it is the same document presented at the last Ime Obi, then we have published a commentary on it. It is subversive of the interest of Ndigbo.
Prof. Uzodinma Nwala
Although ADF as an organization was not officially represented, we did not debar those ADF leaders who wished to attend. Some of them were there. The soldiers threatened to beat one of ADF leaders who had tried to intervene, asking why they were beating innocent people who carried no weapon and were not attacking anyone but simply voicing their dissent against the charade that went on in the name of the Igbo Nation.
4. General Observations on the Event at Ekwueme Square Awka, May 21. 2018
i. The heavy presence of soldiers around Ekwueme Square, Awka City and Anambra State Generally.
As the military Column moved from 82 Division, in Enugu, the air was rented with ANOTHER PYTHON DANCE
ii. The absence of six out of the seven Governors of Igbo –Speaking Areas, namely, Abia, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers. This aises so much doubt as to the authenticity of the event which was heavily advertised as being sponsored by the Governors pf the South-East
iii. Absence of many stakeholders of Alaigbo.
iiii. The mass reaction of the people in the hall against the declaration that Ndigbo want only Restructuring of Nigeria
v. What was the purpose of the Awka event?
Certainly it was not a Summit. It was a Declaration of what has been put together as Igbo Position, which turns out not to be really representative of what Ndigbo want..
vi. The IPOB.
The event was not disrupted as many feared. All of us thank the IPOB leadership for not engaging in the feared suicide venture.
Good a thing Senator Ekweremadu (as reported by the Press or Senator Abaribe as an eye witness claims) did what the Ohanaeze leadership should have done, i.e, use the occasion to placate the IPOB. Only God knows why they did not do that, Only God knows they do things the way they do it.
– Let us make this historic observation – when the masses are driven into a state of intense mad frenzy, not even all the Sala dines, ferrets and armoured cars in this world can deter them from asserting their freedom.
Senator Ekweremadu or Abaribe did what was expected of the Ohanaeze leadership, namely, at least he condemned the declarationof IPOB as a terrorist organisation. The other day, it was observed that the condemnation of the Operation Python Dance by the Ime Obi Ohanaeze was not reflected in the minutes of the meeting. There was no reaction to the observation.
vii. On the booing that rented the air when the Ohanaeze President was about to speak
This is the Commentary from Nzuko Umunna, a whatsapp Chart Forum not known to be antagonistic to Ohanaeze leadership on the shouting from the as the crowd left the field shouting Go! Go! Go back to Ugwu Awusa! The Izu Umuna member who posted it wrote –
“I also gathered that the discordant tunes have no ipob voice `- just the well-behaved civil masses in “corporate (attendance”
Isn’t the movie still loading? Who is fooling who Umuigbo?
Another Commentator still on friendly Izu Umunna put his own as Breaking News thus –
“The MC of the Restructuring Summit just said the Igbos have accepted Restructuring, guess what happened
There was an uproar of No! From the young and old”.
viii. The Declaration was merely proposals for the amendment of the 1999 Constitution, Although the 1999 Constitution was rejected, why make proposals within the ambits of that Constitution
ix. The word Self-determination does not appear anywhere in the text presented by Prof Soludo at the Awka Declaration, which reflects the position of the authors of the document that Ndigbo do not want Self-determination
The temerity shown by the authors of the Declaration to tell the world that Ndigbo do not approve of Self-determination
x. THE EKWUEME SQUARE DECLARATION 2018 was made by the leadership of Ohanaeze under the heavy presence of Federal Troops. Why was it necessary for the Igbo Position to be declared under the watch of the Federal Troops? Was it to muzzle popular dissent which is allowed in any democratic assembly of free peoples?
Why not use the police to maintain order; Why not use the police to maintain civil order? Some have said that the occasion was another Operation Python Dance.
The heavy presence of the Nigerian army in an occasion where Ndigbo are invited to come and declare their position on their future in Nigeria tells volumes about the nature of the so-called THE EKWUEME SQUARE DECLARATION 2018
When the Yoruba Nation did their own declaration, there was no Nigerian army to supervise it. When the South-South did theirs, there was no Nigerian army to frighten those who held contrary views.
The case of Ndigbo must be different! Conquered People!.
But who invited the Nigerian Army to militarise the entire Awka City and the venue of the declaration? Ndigbo all over the world are asking this question. What other evidence is needed to confirm that Ndigbo are treated like conquered people in Nigeria.
According to Prof Soludo in his summary, ”what is presented is a summary, and the issues remain work in progress”.
The import of this is that there is room to consider alternative proposals. Hence, an alternative and more realistic text for Igbo Position is called for.
May 24, 2018