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Igboezue is solidly campaigning for Nigeria president of Igbo extraction – Hon. Okonkwo

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By Sunday Elom

The Anambra state chairman of Igbo sociocultural group, Igboezue International Association of Nigeria and in Diaspora, Honourable Anselm Chigekwu Okonkwo, has said that the association is also solidly championing the campaign for Nigeria president of Igbo extraction come 2023.

 Hon. Okonkwo made the disclosure at the palace of Nawgu community traditional ruler, His Royal Highness, Igwe George Okaa-Onwuogu, during the 2021 Nawgu new yam festival.  The association during the new yam celebrating honoured two of its members: Chief Simeon Nnaemeka Enedanya and Chief Sunday Okonkwo with certificate of patronship.  

Speaking with Orient Daily during the ceremony, Hon. Okonkwo said, “We are solidly championing the campaign for Nigeria president of Igbo extraction. But we are not militant in nature [rather], we plan everything we do and we are cutting across our relationship with other ethnic groups so that when we say something, they will understand the value of what we are talking about.”

According to him, “We don’t go to the pages of newspapers and talk about Nigeria president of Igbo extraction. What we are trying to do is to get people who are contesting against us to support us.”

He further said that the association is working with Igbos in diaspora “because when you talk about Nigeria president of Igbo extraction and you are not getting people in the diaspora involved, you are making a mistake.”

Hon. Okonkwo therefore urged other Igboezue leaders not to bring partisan politics into the activities of the association to avoid being regarded as “other organizations that come up with NGO to extort money from people.” 

He maintained that the association is selective in its activities and although they are interested in politics, “our interest is that at the end of the day, we will join those who are going to the government house.”

“I therefore advise them to be very careful not to meddle into the affairs of partisan politics because we are not looking for somebody who will fund us and carpet us or buy us over against what Igbo people want from us,” he added.

In the same vein, the founder and national chairman of Igboezue International Association of Nigeria and in Diaspora, Chief Pius Uchenna Okoye, advised leaders of the association to imbibe fear of God and have love for their fellow man, saying, “Love is important and that’s what we are lacking in Igbo land. All hands must be on deck for us to work successfully because united we stand but divided we fall. We need unity to move Igbo nation forward.”

“Talking about Nigeria president of Igbo extraction, my point is that we should be united first because without internal unity, we can do nothing,” Chief Okoye added. 

Also speaking, one of the new Igboezue patrons, Chief Simeon Nnaemeka Enedanya, said that “it is long overdue for an Igbo man to be the Nigerian president. The Igbos have all the qualities to produce a Nigerian president. So, if other regions can see the problems Nigeria is having, they should agree and vote for Igbo man in order to fix our economy and security challenges in the country.”

The patrons were not selected because of money

Speaking on why the leadership of Igboezue association selected Chief Enedanya and Chief Okonkwo as its new patrons, Hon. Okonkwo said the selection was not on the money they have but because of what they are doing at where they are living to change the narrative of Igbo people, and how they are championing the course of Igbo people in their communities or in their local governments. 

“These persons are helping their communities, local government areas and where they are to progress. One of them lives in Lagos while the second one lives in Yola, and both of them are propagating Igbo cultures, norms and values in those places,” he said.

In his reaction, Chief Enedanya expressed happiness for the honour and thanked the association for finding him worthy for the position.

According to him, he heard about Igboezue from abroad and as an Igbo man, he felt that it is necessary to join the association and “that’s why I accepted the patronship position.”

He advised Igboezue leadership not to give up on their mission; rather, they should maintain sincerity, transparency and accountability.

“I also call on other Igbo people to join the group because it is for everybody. Amongst other groups in Igbo land, Igboezue ought to be the number one. Other groups should always consult Igboezue and they would join hands together in everything they are doing for the Igbo people,” Chief Enedanya said.

New yam festival is a cultural heritage, not diabolism

Speaking with Orient Daily on the 2021 Nawgu new yam festival, Chief Jerome Obiora, decried the fact that new yam festival is gradually losing value in some parts of Igbo land as many people are beginning to believe it is diabolical and unimportant.

According to Chief Obiorah, “It is unfortunate that in some parts of Igbo land nowadays, new yam festival is no longer given full attention. Meanwhile, yam is the only farm product in Igbo land that is generally held in high esteem. There is cassava, cocoyam and other crops but yam is unique and worthy to be celebrated.”

He noted that new yam festival is observed in all the six communities in Dunukofia Local Government Area, saying that anybody who regards new yam festival as being diabolical is probably acting on ignorance because neither the yam itself nor eating it depicts diabolism.

Also commenting on the festival, the transition chairman of Dunukofia Local Government Area, Hon. Emeka Chinweze, said that “retaining the festival shows that there is life because culture is the sanctity of life.” He extolled Igwe Okaa-Onwuogu for his doggedness in maintaining Igbo cultures and traditions.

Also, Nawgu President General, Hon. Nnamdi Okeke, explained that the festival usually kick off with celebration of a holy mass at the Catholic Church in the community at the directive of the traditional ruler who is a member of Catholic Church. He expressed happiness for the success of the celebration and urged Igbo youths to get fully involved in new yam festival and other positive Igbo cultures in their communities as the future of Igbo nation.

Performing the new yam festival rituals, Igwe Okaa-Onwuogu reiterated his commitment to upholding the cultures and traditions of Nawgu community and Igbo in general. He noted that new yam festival is one the Igbo cultures that can never be abandoned, “because yam is the chief of crops.”

The royal father therefore called on the Nawgu people and the Igbos in general to uphold all the positive cultures, traditions and norms inherited from their forefathers. According to him, new yam festival is not against Christianity as there is no evil or diabolical activity involved.

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