Obiano's Courageous Pursuit Of Igbo Issues

Ejike Anyaduba

Forty nine years after the Biafran War, the Igbo are still groping for political direction in a country they are major stakeholders. Their loss of position as a result of the internecine war of 1967-70 appears hard and fast. It worries even the casually concerned that the people's best effort came once in 1979, just nine years after the bitter war. Subsequent exertions appear to come in vain.

Worried about this development, opinions were canvassed and solutions sought. However, for two score and nine years no obvious solution was in sight. Efforts at reaching the desired target were easily derailed by mindless competition and rat race.

The idea to cleanse the land and ask for a direction was contemplated. Governor Obiano in his search for possible solution thought up the idea of organizing symbolic burial rites for dead Biafrans - those who died that the Igbo race may survive. Since death is seen as a continuation of life it was thought that a closure on the harrowing experiences would be quite in order.

Convinced, but not unmindful of the risk to his office, the Governor embarked on the process to give the dead heroes a deserving honour.

Thus the symbolic burial rites tagged Ozoemezina loosely translated (Never Again) were held at Ekwueme Square few months after he assumed office. It was organized with the active support of Biafran War commanders like late Col. Joe Achuzia, Col. Ben Gbulie, Col.Emmanuel Nwobosi among others, amidst the prying eyes of the federal government.

Few years after, the Governor would be organizing yet another event, aimed at finding a workable solution to the political dilemma of Nigeria. To achieve this, he had to play host to select group of Igbo, Yoruba and Middle Belt elite/politicians at the same Ekwueme square in Awka. The event was tagged Ohaneze Summit on the Restructuring of Nigeria. It was agreed among the varied interests that a restructured Nigeria would augur well for the progress of the country as well as allow for development of her component units. Again, new ideas were canvassed and opinions sought.

Like Ozoemezina, the summit was held amidst cautious approval from the federal authority. It took a governor of Obiano's hue to host the two events at reasonable risk to his office. He is yet to let up.

Indeed, only very few politicians of Igbo extraction can claim greater commitment to the cause of Ndigbo.
For a Governor whose interest in the affairs of his people is almost an obsession, he would be organizing yet another epoch-making event. Like the first two, inviting old musical bands, mainly from Aba whose lyrical exploits helped the Igbo recovery from the trauma of the Biafran War was not without its challenge. But the joy of rehabilitating the old musicians far outweighed whatever challenge for Governor Obiano.

Indeed, it is hard to argue the fact of the Governor's efforts in repositioning the Igbo and closing the void in the people's leadership.
He may have his faults. But whatever they are real or imagined, when pitted against his many exertions for the people, pale in comparison.

Ejike Anyaduba


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