By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The newly elected President General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Dr Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Iwuanyanwu, has said he is poised to work assiduously to ensure that Igboland is transformed.
In his inaugural speech delivered on Sunday at Enugu, Dr Iwuanyanwu said he contested for the presidency on three occasions but did not succeed, adding that he took his losses in good composure and learnt from them.
He stressed that now that destiny has squarely placed on his shoulders the duty of leading the Igbos as the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, he, therefore, has a duty to valiantly defend Igbo course, even as he promised the Ime-Obi and all Igbo people that by the grace of God he will not fail them.
Stating that he has carefully examined the present circumstances, Chief Iwuanyanwu said he has decided among other things within his tenure, to ensure transformations are experienced in the areas education, agriculture, industrialization, electricity, power generation, health, amongst others.
Below is the full inaugural statement as put out by Dr Iwuanyanwu.
INAUGURAL SPEECH DELIVERED BY CHIEF ENGR. DR. EMMANUEL CHUKWUEMEKA IWUANYANWU CFR, (AHAEJIAGAMBA NDIGBO) AS THE PRESIDENT GENERAL OHANAEZE NDIGBO WORLDWIDE ON SUNDAY 30TH APRIL 2023 AT ENUGU,
This day Sunday 30th of April 2023 is, and will continue to be a remarkable day in my life. A day when providence and the love of my people Igbos propelled me to the position of President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide. All through my life, I have done my best to serve Igbos both in time of war and time of peace.
As a young boy, I grew up under the tutelage of my father Chief Bernard Iwuanyanwu, the Ebubedike 1 of Atta Ikeduru, Imo State. My father was strongly committed to the course of Igbos and I learnt from him the determination to serve Igbos. Indeed, most of my contemporaries who are alive will testify to my services and sacrifices during the Civil war. Most of my colleagues are dead. I can remember with nostalgia, all the sacrifices we made in defense of Igbos and Igbo land.
I must frankly confess that I did not nurture the ambition to be the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide; instead I had the ambition of becoming the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I contested for the Presidency on three occasions but I did not succeed. I took my loses in good composure knowing fully well that as a Christian all powers and promotion come from God. But today destiny has placed squarely on my shoulders the duty of leading the Igbos as the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide.
I therefore have a duty to valiantly defend Igbo course and I promise Ime-Obi and all Igbo people: that by the grace of God I will not fail them. I have carefully examined our present circumstances and I have decided among other things to carry out the following assignments during my tenure: These are education, agriculture, industrialization, electricity, power generation, health etc.
In 1914, when Nigeria was amalgamated, some parts of Nigeria were more advanced than the Igbos in education, industrialization, and development. But by the grace of God and the indomitable resolve of our forebears to succeed, in 1960, when we had our independence, we had literarily ascended to the top as leaders in education, commerce, industry, government and in Military craftsmanship. I want to observe that two things played a major role in making it possible for Igbos to attain this position.
The first one is Education and the other one is Commerce & industry. It is my belief that education will still play a majorrole in shaping the destiny of Igbos in Nigeria and in Diaspora. I intend to set up a Council on Education whose membership will include various leaders in educational development. For this purpose, will set up a Committee of top educationists and leaders who would determine the qualification one must have to be admitted into this Council. I will also set up a Council of Business Leaders. The Committee will work out the minimum qualifications of membership of the Council. But among other qualifications, it is expected that to qualify as a Business Leader, one must have a business establishment employing up to 20 people in Igbo land.
I must confess that I was terribly worried about the economic and social condition of Igboland; I therefore commissioned some experts to advise me on the following areas:
a. Agriculture, b. Industry, c. Electricity Power Generation, d. Health and e. Education.
I want to state that the report they gave me was a source of joy and hope for many Igbos who are at the point of frustration and despondency. In agriculture the group reported that Igboland has been blessed by the Almighty God with tremendous agricultural potentials. Indeed, all types of crops can grow on Igbo soil. With some efforts, and proper orientation, Igboland will not only be self- sufficient in food production for consumption but also be able to export food and earn tremendous foreign exchange that will increase the Gross Domestic Product of Igboland.
My attention was drawn to the fact that at the time of leadership of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Dr Michael Okpara, we did not have petroleum oil, yet the government was able to embark on massive infrastructural, industrial and educational development. The World Bank at the time reported that the Government of Eastern Nigeria was the fastest growing economy South of Sahara.
It is my intention to work with the South East State Governments’ Ministries of Agriculture and all other relevant agencies to ensure that we maximize our agricultural potentials. I intend to set up a Committee on Agriculture, comprising representatives of Ministries of Agriculture in all the Igbo States and Ohanaeze Ndigbo. This Committee will be replicated at States, Local Governments and Autonomous Community Level. This Committee will ensure that the governments provide free Agric Extension Services to the farmers in various communities.
The first quotation learnt from my father was “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER” by Francis Bacon. I was barely four years at the time and my father continuously drummed it to my ears. I did not understand what it meant until later in life. Education played a major role in my achievements. Ohanaeze Ndigbo will work with the State Governments to ensure Southeast excels in education.
In this regard, we will explore the capacity of many Igbos who have excelled all over the world in education. I intend to set up a Committee on Education which will examine the present system and advice the best way to fast track our educational development. Emphasis will be on ICT education of our Children from Nursery Stage.
The Committee will also advise on how to assist the State Governments in repositioning of State Universities to respond to the changing needs of Ndigbo and Nigerian society. Ohanaeze Ndigbo will work with our sons and daughters in various parts of the world to arrange an affiliation of top Universities abroad with States and Private Universities in Igbo land.
I personally feel bad that in spite of impeccable credentials and qualification of our sons and daughters who are medical doctors our people still look forward to foreign hospitals for their medical treatments. Ohanaeze Ndigbo will look into these matters and work with both the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and various States Ministry of Health to ensure that our hospitals and Healthcare Centers are repositioned to respond to the health treatment needs of our people.
Many years ago, Eastern Nigeria had a lot of Industries including Dunlop Tire production, Textile Industries, Iron and Steel industries, Plastic industries, Asbestos Industries, Cement Industries, Glass Industries, Breweries etc. These industries produced goods and services and in addition created employment to our school leavers. Unfortunately, today, theses industries are moribund. I am going to work with the Council of Business Leaders to revive these Industries and to set up new ones in Igboland. Niger-Cem Nkalagu was one of the biggest Cement Industries in Nigeria at the time but unfortunately, for many years it has been out of production due to alleged misunderstanding between Ebonyi State Government and the investors who won the bid for its reactivation. If this industry is reactivated, it will produce a lot of good revenue and services and also create employment for many school leavers in Igboland and Nigeria. Ohanaeze Ndigbo will work with the South East Governors to ensure that this industry is reactivated.
Lime Stone is a major raw material used for cement production. And this raw material is available in Imo, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyl, and Anambra States of Igboland. Igbo land can still establish more cement factories as this is a major employer of labour. We will encourage Council of Business Leaders to liaise with foreign entrepreneurs to establish more cement factories in Igboland. Our business leaders will be expected to explore other business opportunities in Igboland.
ELECTRICITY POWER SUPPLY:
Poor Electricity Power Supply is a source of major worry in Igboland. We are happy that the National Assembly has removed Electricity Generation, Transmission and Distribution from the Exclusive List to Concurrent List. We will support and encourage our business men to engage in power generation, transmission and distribution. For this purpose, the use of coal for power generation needs to be revisited. I commissioned a study on the quality of Nigerian coal deposit in Enugu. The report is very impressive. Many parts of the world use coal and my investigation reveals that the quality of Nigerian coal in Enugu is superior to the coal mined from many other parts of the World.
ESTABLISHMENT OF OHANAEZE NDIGBO INVESTMENT COMPANY: I will take immediate steps to establish an Ohanaeze Ndigbo Investment Company. The equity of the company will be held by Ohanaeze Ndigbo States and not individuals. This company in addition to creating goods and services, will create employment opportunity and also be a source of funding for some of our projects.
OHANAEZE NDIGBO CULTURAL CENTER:
I am appealing to the Seven Ohanaeze Ndigbo State Governors to allocate appropriate Land to Ohanaeze Ndigbo for the building of Ohanaeze Ndigbo cultural centres in all the seven states. The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide headquarters will be built at Enugu. We will request the Enugu State Governor to allocate a piece of land to Ohanaeze Ndigbo at a prominent location in Enugu State Capital where a headquarter befitting of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide can be built.
OHANAEZE NDIGBO HALL OF FAME:
An Ohanaeze Ndigbo Hall of Fame will be accommodated at the Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide Headquarters in Enugu. This hall of fame will display the photographs of all sons and daughters of Igboland, who have distinguished themselvesexcellently in many fields of human endeavour. A Committee on Ohanaeze Ndigbo National Honours will be set up for the purpose of recommending people who deserve to be honoured.
A museum of Igbo history will be part of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide at its Headquarters in Enugu.
YOUTHS AND CULTURE:
With the support of the State Governors, annual sporting competitions of all the Igbo Speaking States will take place in their various states while the final of the competitions will be held at Enugu the Headquarters of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. Also Cultural competitions will be initiated in all the States and the final will take place at Enugu to determine the overall winners. A Committee will be set up including representatives of the State Governments in other to implement these.
I will make a very special appeal to the President Federal Republic of Nigeria Mohammadu Buhari GCFR to release Nnamdi Kalu before the end of his tenure.
The security situation in Southeast is very disturbing and I believe that there is very urgent need for a Peace Summit in Igboland. I will therefore make a special appeal to Mr. President, Gen. Mohammadu Buhari GCFR to release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu before the expiration of his tenure in office. Nnamdi Kanu is very crucial for any key discussion and it is not possible to negotiate any peace while Nnamdi Kanu is in prison. It is also important to note that the judiciary has discharged and freed Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. It will be the joy of many Igbo people and Nigerians to see Mazi Nnamdi Kalu released from detention. There is also a report that his health is deteriorating. I feel it is important that he is released to have access to his medical doctors so that he does not die in the prison.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo will establish liaison offices in South Africa, United Kingdom, United States of America and China. This will facilitate Cultural, Educational and Business interactions.
AMERICANS OF IGBO DESCENT:
There are thousands of Americans of Igbo descent who have expressed their desire to be part of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide. During my tenure, I will make every effort to integrate them fully into Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide.
CREATION OF ADDITIONAL STATE IN THE SOUTHEAST: The South East is the only geopolitical zone with only five States in Nigeria. Several political conferences have recommended the creation of additional State in the South East to bring the number of States to six. So far this has not been actualized. I will make sure that during my tenure additional State is created for the South East.
All the programes enunciated above can only be realized if finance is available. At the moment the burden of financing Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide is carried by the State Governors. It is important to diversify the source of funding to be able to realize the required finance for all the projects listed above. I am going to address the problem with the urgency it deserves.
Finally, I wish to congratulate all Igbo sons and daughters who have been given mandates to occupy political positions at State and National levels. I have to emphasis that Ohanaeze Ndigbo does not belong to any political party. We however support a candidate only at National elections where the interest of Igbos is to be defended.
I wish to state categorically that we do not participate at local levels where all parties present Igbo candidates. I wish to however announce to the members of the National Assembly-elect that there will be a crucial meeting between them and select Leaders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo at Abuja as soon as they are inaugurated in June 2023. This meeting will enable us to identify critical Igbo interests during the next dispensation.
I want to thank the State Governors of all the Igbo States for all their support for Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide. thank all Igbos everywhere for accepting Ohanaeze Ndigbo as the Mouth Peace for Igbo people all over the World.
I also thank you all for giving me the opportunity to lead Ndigbo at this time. With our collective efforts and support, Ndigbo will rise again. May God bless us all.
CHIEF ENGR. DR. E. C. IWUANYANWU,CFR.ORMER,ENSE_FNICEFNIST,FNIEE,GCSIKSC