The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Tuesday, recalled how the Jan 15, 1966 military coup has brought mistrust to Ndigbo in Nigeria’s super-structure.
Our correspondent reports that the coup, wrongly code-named Igbo Coup, was spearheaded by the trio of majors Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, Emmanuel Ifeajuna and Ademola Ademoyega. It led to the death of prominent politicians from North and West. Despite that the coup was foiled by then head of state, Gen G.T.U. Aguiyi Ironsi, an Igbo man, many still hold the view that it was an Igbo project.
Ohanaeze raised the issue when it played host to the British high commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Richard Montgomery, at Ohanaeze secretariat, Enugu.
Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, president general of Ohanaeze, told the UK envoy that, “Igbo leaders were against the coup, but the coup has been profiled as an Igbo coup. We intend to set up a truth and reconciliation committee to establish the truth about the war. This is to reduce the distust on the Igbo by other groups. Igbos lost everything at the end of the war. After the war, our people were given 20 pounds for whatever we had as savings and also had our property in some locations declared abandoned.”
He urged the British High Commissioner to use his good offices to concretize the pact between Britain and Ndigbo.
He traced how Britain influenced the Igbo resilience through education and Christianity. In his words, “Britian brought education, Christianity, and civilisation to the East. Particularly, British missionaries influenced the Igbo in becoming mainly Christians.
“Igbos are one of the major three tribes in Nigeria. The creation of three regions by the UK during colonisation was good, but made some parts smaller in population than others, which has affected us politically.
“We believe that we should be given equity. If UK and US keep quiet, it means smaller nations will not survive. We are happy that UK is helping so that Ukrain is not wiped out of the world.”
Former president-general of Ohanaeze, Chief Nnia Nwodo, at the occasion, requested, among others, the establishment of a VISA issuing centre in Enugu ‘to reduce the pressure of our people going to Abuja or Lagos to obtain visas’.
Quoting him, “Your visit has re-enacted our old relationship. Your
Mission carries many developmental interventions. But Southeast is not getting these interventions sufficiently. The manpower export from Nigeria to UK comes more from Southeast. Consider making more interventions in Igbo land to favour us.
“Ohanaeze is presently bringing together the creme of business stakeholders for development initiatives. We seek Britain’s support to achieve this vision. Ohanaeze can have a business communion with your people.”
He drew the attention of the high commissioner to the seaport projects of Abia and Imo states, and called for UK’s partnership to make the project a success.
Dr Montgomery promised to look into issues raised,adding that, “I am here to understand what this region faces, their challenges, and how we can help. You raised germane issues. Micro-economic policies of Nigeria are not favourable for investments, but various policies of President Bola Tinubu will increase business activities in the country. We shall look into the issues raised.”
The high point of the event was the decoration of Dr Montgomery in Igbo traditional attire.