Very important Igbo people, including the President General of the apex Igbo socio –political organization, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, former coordinator of Ohaneze chairmen in the seven Igbo speaking states, Dr. Chris Eluemunoh and others, have again reminded Igbo that the battle facing them in Nigeria requires diplomacy and not violence.
They stated this at the 2018 Igbo International Leadership and Good Governance Retreat organized by the World Igbo Leadership Council and the World Igbo Information and Communication Network at Abagana in Njikoka local government area of Anambra State.
The Abagana event, which was the third in the series, was attended by famous Ignoring scholars from Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and River states. It was hosted by Dr Nwachukwu Anakwenze who is the president of World Igbo Assembly and the traditional Prime Minister of Abagana.
The first retreat was hosted at Ibusa, Delta State by Professor Pat Utomi in 2016, while the second was hosted by Professor Ogbonnaya Onu last year at Uburu in Ebonyi State.
Nwodo, who commended the organizers of the annual retreat, said though it was not in doubt that Igbo were facing large scale marginalization in Nigeria, the way to overcome it was not through fighting another war requiring killing of people at the war fronts, but by adopting peaceful means and dialogue with the opposition.
He cited the issue of state and local governments creation in Nigeria in which he observed that the Igbos were being treated unfairly, noting that such irregularities could only be corrected through dialogue and making other Nigerians see the need for equity and justice in the Nigerian project.
He said: “The military created states and local governments and gave the North the highest numbers, not because our population was smallest, but just part of the marginalization. But we should be patient and continue to do what we have already started, knowing that the battle is no longer the type that will be fought with guns, but using intelligence. “We have suffered so much and that is why we should apply diplomacy. One of such diplomatic moves is the planned handshake across the Niger in which Igbo leaders will be dialoguing with Yoruba leaders in Enugu in the coming week.”
The former president of Ohaneze in Anambra State, Eluemunor, in his address said that as someone who fought in the Nigeria –Biafra war, he would not like another generation of Igbo to experience such war, adding that what the people should be fighting for is the restructuring of Nigeria in such a way that leaves everyone happy.
According to Eluemunor, Ohaneze had nothing against the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, but was not comfortable with its approach to the issue of Biafra, recalling that the leadership of Ohaneze invited IPOB leader on several occasions for dialogue, but he declined and rather resorted to insults.