By Tochukwu Mbachu
A pan-Igbo group known as Ndị Igbo Royal Heritage (NIROH) set to have her maiden Igbo unity day celebration in Anambra State with the mission to re-unite the people of Igbo race, after over five decades of the Nigeria—Biafra War.
The President-General of NIROH, Dr. Paul Okoye made this known recently while briefing newsmen in Awka, Anambra State capital.
According to him, the event known as Unity Day Celebration, tagged “Unification of the Igbo Nation” is mainly aimed at bringing the Igbo nation together as a people, to reawaken the consciousness of brotherhood, love and unity among the Igbo people.
“The event, which is going to become an annual event, will help us to bring back the thing that held us together as Ndị Igbo before the War and try to reposition the Igbo man to take his rightful position in Nigeria, in the Africa and in the world at large,” he expatiated.
Throwing more lights, Dr. Okoye said the five-day maiden event, slated to hold this year in Anambra, will kick off on November 29, 2022 (9am) with a marathon which will start at the Ugwu Nwansike in Ogidi and end at Awka.
“Other activities slated for the event include: Conference on Zik’s Legacy (slated for December 1, 2022, at 12pm, at the Prof. Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka); interstate football match (slated to kick-off at 3pm, December 2, at the Ifeanyi Uba Stadium, Nnewi); and the main event of the Unity Day Celebration (slated for December 3, at the Alex Ekwueme Square in Awka). And the event will be concluded with thanksgiving service in every church in the Southeast on December 4, 2022,” he stated.
Dr. Okoye, who is also the Chief Host of the event, further revealed that the event will be chaired by Chief Dr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu; while the traditional ruler of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, and Prince Arthur Eze will be the Royal Father of the Day and Chief Guest respectively.
*Eulogies the Uniqueness of Ndị Igbo*
He added that some distinguished personalities from different states in south-east will also be honoured on that day at the event; even as he urged Ndị Igbo to fully and actively participate in the event and all the activities therein, in order to achieve the desired and expected goals.
“The Igbo people are one of the most intelligent, most industrious, most successful, and most travelled people in the world, but they have, however, lost many things that they had pride in including unity, love, peace and others,” he lamented.
*Think home call*
He also regretted that, Ndị Igbo, despite being very successful with many achievements and investments scattered all over the world, do not have anything to boast of in their own homeland, the Igbo land, which makes their land appear desolate.
“About 70 percent of the investments in Abuja belongs to the Igbo people, about 60 percent of the investments in Lagos belong to the Igbo people; above 18 million of Igbos live in three great states in the North, that is the Kano, Kaduna and Kastina; and about 8 million Igbos live in Lagos mainland alone.
“So, why are we not able to blend this? What is missing? Why are we such powerful people? Why are we such enterprising people, such realistic people, such objective people, and such an accomplished people; and yet the Igbo land is so desolate? Why are all these achievements not being transformed in our homeland?” he chided.
*Quest for a role model*
He further said it is so bad that the Igbos do not have a role model, unlike the people of other tribes in the country who have people they look up to as their role models, and whose ideology they emulate.
“The Yorubas for instance, have Awolowo in the West, and he is still symbolic in their life; the Northerners have Sultan in the North, and he is still symbolic in their life. Here in the Southeast, who do we have? Who is Zik to us? Do we still remember him?” he questioned.
*Measures to embark to achieving this vision*
Going memory lane, Dr. Okoye, who enumerated the various ways Ndị Igbo no longer get it right today; the NIROH PG, said that he had consulted with many top Igbo leaders (both living and dead), maintained that it’s high time Ndị Igbo looked back to where they started, identified where they started getting it wrong, and sought a common front to get things aright.
“One of the measures to re-unite and right the wrong of the Igbo race; is the decision of Ndị Igbo Royal Heritage to organise a historic event that will not only bring Ndị Igbo together but also provide them with a one-of-its-kind forum to deliberate on the status and progress of Ndị Igbo,” Dr Okoye stated.
The Southeast Vice President of NIROH Worldwide, Dr. Ejike was also present during the briefing that was held in Awka on Thursday.