By Alex Ogbonnia
Our attention has been drawn to the fake news making the rounds that the chairman, Council of Elders, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, referred to the Yoruba as polical rascals.
This is a typical falsehood, fabricated by social media entrepreneurs, decorated with wings, expanded with venoms, injected with ethnic nuances and propelled to fly to various corners, fronts and heights in order to create inter-ethnic mistrust between the age-long partners in social, cultural, religious and economic development of Nigeria.
Indeed it is a lie from the pit of hell.
Speaking in Awka, Anambra State on Saturday at the event to mark the one year in office of Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, the governor of Anambra state, Chief Iwuanyanwu drew the attention of the audience and the general public to the fact that Ndigbo and Yoruba people are neither quarrelling nor fighting, implying that the Yoruba are friendly group of people.
According to Iwuanyanwu, “I want to tell those in Lagos to realize that there is no war between us and the Yoruba”, adding that “those who attacked Ndigbo in Lagos recently are rascals who should be arrested”.
This has mischievously been twisted to imply that “Yoruba people are political rascals and that we will fight them”. This is quel dommage!’ It is from the insidious minds that wish to create rift between the Igbo and the Yoruba ethnics.
At any time in history, there is often a tug of war between two major groups; mostly the good people with conscience on one hand and the devious insidious minds on the other. However the moral force of the godly will always countervail the unconscionable. This helps to keep the world in an ontological equilibrium.
So, as much as some mischief makers will twist the speech by Iwuanyanwu, the truth remains that Ahaejiagamba hold the Yoruba in a very high esteem and he used the Awka event to express it. The emphasis being that we must not attribute the ugly event in Lagos to the good people of Yoruba ethnic, rather, it was the handiwork of rascals, hooligans, spivs, charlatans, miscreants and dregs of Lagos society.
It is important to highlight that Chief Iwuanyanwu is a renowned patriotic detribalized Nigerian. He has enjoyed the fidelity, confidence, solidarity, support of the Yoruba when he was in active business and politics. He would recall with deep emotional attachment the cordial relationship he had with the Yoruba when he contested for the presidency of Nigeria in 1992; similarly as an Executive Chairman/Publisher Champion Newspaper Limited, Chairman Oriental Airlines Limited, Chairman Oriental Shipping Lines Ltd; among others.
Iwuanyanwu in all his private and public discussions has often commended the profound Yoruba cultural values, intellect and hospitality. He applauds the cordial relationship between the Igbo and the Yoruba, citing that several Igbo are integral part of various Yoruba communities. The depth of the roots of the intermarriages that have taken place between the Igbo and the Yoruba is transcendental, eternal
and can no longer be uprooted.
The successful marriages of Yoruba daughters by frontline Igbo sons: Chief Emeka Anyaoku; Asagba of Asaba, Professor Joseph Chike Edozien; Professor Vincent Ike, Professor Okey Ndibe, etc and vice versa, exemplify the irreproachable similarity in the Igbo-Yoruba cultural values and cosmology.
For the avoidance of doubt, Ohanaeze Ndigbo will resist any attempt to paint the 2023 presidential election with an ethnic tar. Evidently, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Peoples Congress (APC) and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) enjoyed the support of eminent Igbo sons and daughters. It is also on record that the emergence of Peter Obi and the successes he recorded in the presidential election were by Nigerians of all ethnics, class and creed.
This accounts for why the Ohanaeze was about the last to adopt Peter Obi as a presidential candidate of the Labour Party. Ohanaeze rather re-affirmed and indeed reaffirms its stand on the position of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) led by Chief E K Clarke and Chief Ayo Adebanjo.
Dr Ogbonnia is the National Publicity Secretary, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide