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Ndigbo Lagos, a group seeking the good of Ndigbo in Lagos State, yesterday welcomed Secretary to the Federal Government, Anyim Pius Anyim for an interactive session on how to politically move the people forward. The meeting kicked off on the night of Tuesday, October 7,
The intention of the meeting, according to the group, was to unite all the Igbo in Lagos State, and have them speak with one voice at all times, especially at this time of coming elections in 2015.
The meeting, which started at about 9 Pm, at the beautiful hall of Dovers Hotel, Lekki phase 1, saw the presence of dignitaries and groups known in local parlance as “Ndigbondioma, ndi aha ha n’adauda na-elugovernmentinigeria”.
By the time the Special Guest of Honour, Anyim Pius Anyim was seated, such dignitaries as former governor of old Imo/Lagos State, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kalu; and Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former governor of Anambra state, were already seated. Others seated were: Professor Anya O. Anya, President General of Ndigbo Lagos; Mike Umeh, former Vice President of Nigerian Football Association (NFA); Frank Nneji, CEO of ABC Transport Company; Mass Ekwueme, a traditional ruler; and Osita Ihieme famous Nollywood actor.
Other dignitaries include, Emeka Ihiedioha, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives; Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State (aka Okwute Ndigbo); Uzodinma Okpara, Chairman Senate committee on Aviation; and Olisa Metu, Publicity Secretary of People Democratic Party (PDP).
Also in attendance were: Ifeanyi Ubah, Managing Director of Capital Oil: Chukwu Igwe, Managing Director of Mainland Oil and Gas; Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President; Chika Osita, Minister of Aviation; Chinedu Nebo, Minister of Power; and Emeka Nwogu, Minister of Labour and Productivity.
After ushering in the Special Guest of Honour, the hall stood again for the second time, this time for an opening prayer which was led by Elder Umeh Nnazu. In the opening prayer Nnazu asked God to make the day’s dialogue a special and peaceful one so that the people would move forward with one voice and in unity.
The next event was an online presentation, which was followed by the breaking of Kola – a very special Igbo culture. The presentation (Iwa oji) was made by the royal father of the day, Igwe Mass Ekwueme.
After the ceremonies of the Kola nut, President General of Ndigbo in Lagos professor Anya O. Anya climbed the dais for a brief opening and welcoming remarks. In his remarks he recalled that the group had a similar interactive session 3 years ago, and how he cried out then on the neglect of Ndigbo in Diaspora.
However, back on the issue of the night, he said that time had come when “we need to interrogate the issue facing us, we must live here with a mandate to put an end to all issues of concern, and we need to negotiate with the federal government on the development of our infrastructures”.
Finally, Anyim, who was former Senate president, stood to address the issues, after he had apologies to everyone for keeping them waiting. He explained that they were in the “east” for a very important issue, which he said was the reception of Peter Obi into Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). “We were in the east for a very important meeting, the formal governor of Anambra state, Governor Peter Obi joined PDP so we were all there to receive him.”
Going further, he said: “I am taking and honouring this invitation because of the way the Igbo’s visited me in Abuja, the purpose of the visit was to discuss on how to move Igbo politics forward and review what happened in 2011 and expressed desire to work for our son, brother and our leader president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan”
He said that he and his team came to meet Igbo leaders in Lagos so as to know how to better organise the people in the state. He went on to explain that Lagos had about 75 per cent of the economy of the country, of which commerce is in the hands of the Igbo. He wondered why it had been impossible for an Igbo person to win even councillorship election in the state. He wondered also why no Igbo person could run for the governorship of the state, as well as why no Igbo man could go to the Senate from Lagos State. “Whether we like it not, if all we are doing is just to think that the President will appoint few of us here into offices, there is no way every one of us will be accommodated” he admonished.
“The Igbos in Lagos is so scattered you will not know which group to be negotiating with. But whether you like it or not the situation as it is today is such that when a sit comes, this group belongs to this one, this group will go to this one at the end of the day a rolling stone gathers no much.”
“What we are saying is that If we are to be relevant, to be important we should be able to organize ourselves in such a manner that anyone who wants to do anything in Lagos or even in the country will know that there is a block folds that is residence in Lagos and he should be able to know where to start to discus with that person. If that does not exist we will still run around and all of us will lose.” He stated.
Peter Obi at the meeting also stressed the need for the unity of the body and follow up with our brothers at any time. He recalled how the owner of the first Consultancy Hospital that was closed for weeks was neglected by Igbos and that the owner was Igbo. He felt so bad that none of the Igbos came to commiserate with him. He said he said he was done with governorship and as such could go to the PDP.
Time for comments and questions was so rowdy that the meeting had to be abruptly stopped, with the groups asked to go back and reconcile their differences. However, one of the questions that Anyim found opportunity to answer was that which queried why Ndigbo could not come around to finding answers to the problems they know already exist within them. He was able to appointed three committees which he mandated to see to the affairs of Ndigbo in Lagos. He gave the names of the leaders as Comfort Obi, Peter Obi and Chidi Regina Standle.
He however dismissed the meeting, telling the new appointees to go and dialogue all their issues and then return to him for another hopeful interactive section he will also honor.
Speaking with one of the participants, barrister Chioma Nwankwo on her reaction towards the re-scheduled meeting she said it was not entirely a success. “At first the purpose of this meeting was for Ohanaeze Ndigbo to know what the people that were going for election in 2015 has for the people. She said they wanted to use the opportunity to tell them what the people wanted – because they all wanted the Ndigbo should excel – and what they (the people) thought about them (aspirants), because they had not been delivering.
Part of her words: “For telling them (the people) to go and discuss and come back later is not welcomed by me, they are supposed to give it us today. Does it mean that they were not prepared? As you can see the decision brought quarrels and dissensions; it looked as if we came for child’s play. People coming for such things are enjoined to be prepared for any question. Who are you supporting in 2015? We are supporting our brother Jonathan and that is why we are here to endorse him and know his wish and tell him where he has failed us through his representatives from Abuja and for him to remember us.”
She advised that the President, if he makes it for another term, must look at the areas the people have been crying and pleading for help and compensate them, because he neglected them this time around. The said the areas of federal roads in the state, as well as power should not be neglected again. She equally asked for the President to make sure he treated as most importantly the challenges of unemployment, kidnapping and armed robbery.
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