Friday, 12 January 2018

Thought-provoking Fallouts From The Epoch-making Event Handshake Across The Niger

By Ikenna Asomba

The much awaited #HandShakeAcrossTheNiger, an initiative of Nzuko Ụmụnna, an Igbo Think Tank Group, meant to consolidate the economic, socio-cultural and political relationships of the Igbos and the Yorubas, has come and gone, but the epoch-making event held at the Base Event Center, Independence Layout, Enugu State has continued to send reverberating waves across the length and breadth of Nigeria and beyond.

Being the maiden edition, our own Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah chaired the Local Organising Committee, LOC, that put up the successful event. It was not without the immense support of Igbo and Yoruba socio-cultural groups, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Afenifere respectively.

Sincerely, the success of this maiden edition of #HandshakeAcrossTheNiger shows that Nzuko Ụmụnna, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Afenifere, in consensus, believed so much in the Verified Capacity of Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, thus, his undisputed choice as the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee.

Indeed, Dr. Ubah's Verified Capacity as a Great Mobiliser and Galvaniser of People, even across ethnic divides has once again been proven beyond every reasonable doubt.

Armchair critics and Naysayers who thought the event would be a flop were glaringly shocked to the bone marrows as the Base Event Center filled to capacity with Eminent personalities from the South-East and South West Geopolitical zones.

Roll Call

Eminent Personalities who graced the event included but not limited to our own revered Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe; representatives of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; former Governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife; former Finance Minister and one-time presidential aspirant, Chief Olu Falae; former Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko; Chairman, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, ably represented by his Deputy, Prince Eze Madumere and Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, ably represented by the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu.

Others were former First Lady, Lady Victoria Aguiyi Ironsi; President General, Ohanaeze Ndịgbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo; Senator representing Abia-South Senatorial District, Senator Eyinanya Abaribe; Afenifere Chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; former Governor of Plateau State and Senator representing Plateau North, Senator Jonah Jang; Afenifere Leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti; former Aviation Minister, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, Afenifere spokesman, Dr. Yinka Odunmakin, retired Diplomat and former Nigerian Ambassador to Mozambique, Ambassador Ozo Nwobu; erudite scholar and prominent Igbo leader, Professor Anya O. Anya and Professor Pat Utomi, Political economist and former presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress, ADC. The list is endless.


Among many other things discussed at this epoch-making gathering which the communique of the event captures, my take-home from this event remains that:

1. The event is timely at this auspicious occasion when there is urgent need for Ndigbo and their Yoruba brethren to discuss their similarities and differences, thus forging a common front towards engendering the necessary economic, socio-cultural and economic development in both geo-political zones.

2. The event is timely at this auspicious occasion when the voiceless in Igboland and Yorubaland needed a unique and elaborate forum to maturedly air their grievances for onward transmission to the constituted authorities in both geo-political zones and beyond.

3. As for the mild uproar witnessed at the event over the dramatic disappearance of our own Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, since the Nigerian Army stormed his Afaraukwu country home in September 2017, our women must not be condemned or regarded as paid agents. The mild uproar must also not be politicised by fifth columnists and online rabblerousers as it is normal. Ndigbo are Republicans. Our women have been known for their fearlessness, even as far back November 1929 (Aba Women Riot).

4. Just like many of the eminent personalities that graced yesterday's event, in the past did also condemned the invasion of the South-East by the military and the wanton killings of our youths, yesterday's event also served as another opportunity for our women to air their grievances over the sudden disappearance of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, their beloved son. Nzuko Umunna did spoke in the past, Ohanaeze did, Afenifere did. Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife did. Many other concerned Ndigbo and our Yoruba brethren like Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti  also did.

5. Well, the whereabouts of Nnamdi Kanu was indeed also raised by the fearless Chief Femi Fani-Kayode at yesterday's event. Emotions were indeed betrayed. Yours Truly also couldn't control his emotions but to weep for Nigeria, a country where The Truth is detested and Lies from the Pit of Hell embraced. Owing to this, my profound happiness is that our own Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, Chairman LOC of this event, was fully involved, joining hands with many a progressives in the South-East and South-West to birth this epoch-making event that has come to stay, thus giving a voice to the Voiceless in the South-East and South-West.

6. Through #HandshakeAcrossTheNiger, our people for the first time, has got a unique and elaborate forum to maturedly air their grievances.

7. Indeed, for the first time, since September 2017, our people got a platform where no one tagged them Terrorists, a platform where no one shot canisters or bullets at them because they asked for the whereabouts of our son and brother, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. Is this not a plus, Naysayers?

8. Well, some negative criticisms have also trailed this epoch-making event. While some armchair critics tagged it a political jamboree, others tagged it a failure. Why? Their demi-gods were missing. My take is that such a socio-cultural event that had the presence of our own revered Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe; representatives of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; former Governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife; former Finance Minister and one-time presidential aspirant, Chief Olu Falae and others abovementioned can't be said to be a jamboree or failed event.

9. Fact remains that even if our own revered Ikemba of Nnewi, Chief Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, was to be alive and had attended this same event, in so far the demi-gods of these naysayers were missing, they would insult Ojukwu too and pooh-pooh this event as a political jamboree. Can naysayers ever be satisfied?

10. By and large, like I said earlier, the communique and other materials emanating from this epoch-making event is enough to school the naysayers.

11. I can only say God bless Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, God bless #NzukoUmunna, God bless #OhanaezeNdigbo, God bless #Afenifere, God bless our Monarchs and all sons and daughters of Igboland and Yorubaland, who made the maiden edition of #HandshakeAcrossTheNiger a huge success, yesterday. It can only get better.

12. Going forward, I must say, let this healthy conversation and handshake across the Niger continue till things are put aright for the good of all.

Ikenna Asomba, a Social Commentator writes from his countryhome, Umumeri, Uzoakwa, Ihiala LGA, Anambra State.



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