Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Friday, said the scheduled September 29, 2023 Igbo Day ‘is a day of sober reflection on one hand, and a day to celebrate the Igbo resilience, ingenuity, entrepreneurial skills and frontier spirit, on the other’.
Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, Ohanaeze’s national publicity secretary, in a release made available to our correspondent in Enugu, said the day is to ‘celebrate the innate capacity and perseverance in the Igbo to break some imposed physical boundaries to achieve incredible results where most fail’.
Ohanaeze recalls that it was on Sept. 29, 1966 that the ‘ethnic cleansing in which about 30,000 Igbos were killed in the entire Northern Nigeria’ took place, adding that the date ‘is not only fundamental and sentimental but symbolic’.
According to the statement, “We passed through the valley of the shadow of death and bounced back in splendour; passed through the belly of the whale; traversed turmoil and hell and bounced back in glory.
“We celebrate the courage, tenacity and adaptability to live and thrive in all parts of the world. We celebrate the promise of God that He fights for the oppressed and that history will vindicate the just.”
Ohanaeze said it is amazing that an ethnic group that ‘suffered various kinds of injustice, alienation and relative deprivations have undauntedly remained afloat in the academia, corporate world, transportation, tourism, commerce and industry’.
The celebration, holding in Enugu, has the theme ‘Igbo Kunie’. Ogbonnia wrote that, “The theme is a clarion call for the Igbo to arise and fulfill their lofty destinies; a charge for the Igbo to awaken to the philosophy of Akuluo-uno; to galvanize Ndigbo towards unity; to rediscover and embrace our core traditional family values of one in brotherhood; to have a rethink on the security situation in Igbo homeland and a call for Ndigbo to rise to the challenge of self-destruction through the sit-at-home syndrome.”
Some of the historical tribulations of Ndigbo, according to the release, include the January 15, 1966 Ifeajuna/Nzeogwu/Ademogega coup which was tagged ‘Igbo coup’; killing of the first Nigerian military head of state, Gen GTU Aguiyi-Ironsi, on July 29, 1966 along with his host, the military governor of the Western Region, Lt. Col. Adekunle Fajuyi, by northern military officers in what was tagged ‘a counter-coup’, and the infamous Biafran War, with its attendant anti-Igbo policies such as Abandoned Property and 20 Pounds offer for any savings of an Igbo shortly after the war aimed at impoverishing them.
According to Ohanaeze, “Without sounding immodest, all Nigerians affirm that the Igbo are endowed with the highest human creative potential, perhaps in the whole Africa. Instead of mourning, we have chosen to celebrate the God’s love and kindness towards the Igbo.”
Ogbonnia extolled the president general of Ohanaeze, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyawu, for administrative acumen in rebirthing Alaigbo.
Ogbonnia said, “Iwuanyanwu has deployed his wealth of experience and contacts to chart a paradigm shift for Ndigbo. He has embarked on a rigorous developmental agenda; some of them include: solution to the insecurity in the South East; need for an education trust fund; need for a cultural re-orientation; resuscitation of ailing industries and home-ward industrial renaissance.”
The chairman of the local organizing committee of the event is Professor Fred O. Eze, with Dr Malachy Chuma Ochie as secretary. The members are Dr Mrs Selina Ugwuoke-Adibuah, Hon Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, Barr Peter Aneke, Mazi Ambrose Obioha, and Mrs Odibeze Amaka Anajemba.