Chiemeka ADINDU, Calabar
Amidst many uncertainties rocking the Igbos in Cross River state as a result of many actors trying to hijack the leadership of the group, hope seems to have been rekindled following the inauguration of an Igbo Congress to unite the ethnic group in the state.
The inauguration which came shortly after a thanksgiving ceremony held at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Calabar in honour of Igbo appointees and to thank the state governor, Prof. Ben Ayade for finding the Igbos worthy to be part of his cabinet witnessed the coming together of many groups of the Igbo extraction in the state to see how to resolve the existing differences among members of the ethnic group in Cross River state.
Speaking to journalists after the event, chairman of the occasion, Prof. Rufus Okoro maintained that Igbo people are known for unity. He said the event is one of the exercises to unite themselves. “Today we’re inaugurating a special body, a body that is built on the truth, the body that is built on trust and unity. This organization is going to strive on truth.
“The five states of Igbo land are represented so we are not afraid whether A is not there or B is not there, the important thing is that we have started a new journey. I don’t think there’s any rancor in ohaneze ndigbo in Cross River state, if there is, the paramount rulers won’t be here” Okoro who is a Professor of Physics at the University of Calabar stated.
In his address, the newly elected president of the Igbo congress who is also the President of Nzuko Ndi Abia in the state, Raymond Atuloma disclosed that Igbo Congress is under ohaneze ant not a rival group which according to him is why they passed a vote of confidence on the President of ohaneze in the state, Barr Ugoji Nwabueze. He said they will be with him and support him to ensure that there is peace and unity among the Igbo’s in Cross River state.
“Igbo congress is to complement ohaneze and further help in mobilizing Ndigbo to be able to enhance its fortunes as well as create more opportunities for Igbos to achieve unity in diaspora. We must make sure that peace and unity will reign supreme and we must ensure that we don’t go against the norms of the land of Cross River state in whatever thing we’re doing. We must support everything that Cross Riverians are doing and not to go contrary to their laws, we must give them that respect and we must work with them”, Atuloma who also wears the cap as the Vice President of Igbo Community in Cross River revealed.
Meanwhile, the president of Ohaneze in the state, Ugoji Nwabueze advised the public not to associate with any group trying to usurp the leadership of Ohaneze in the state. He appreciated the state governor for giving the Igbos the opportunity to be in his cabinet. He said: “There was a charade that occurred in Ikom where some impostors put themselves together and said they have elected a president of Ohaneze in a meeting not called by me, the sitting president.
“Those are the kind of things that tend to set this country backwards, we’re not just asking for Igbo presidency but we’re talking about how to manage the presidency; so we want the members of the public to distant themselves from impostors. Beyond that, this is the first time the Igbos are coming together to say governor Ben Ayade had given Igbos the opportunity to serve in his cabinet in various capacities, what he had done is remarkable in several ways; it is a remark that in the midst of the agitations for us to divide, somebody is trying to say let us come together and harmonize our potentials”.
Some of those who were honored at the event include; Presiding Judge of Akamkpa, Justice A Onyebueke, Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Non Indigenes affairs, Ugoji Nwabueze, Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Information, Dr. Nancy Irek, Senior Special Assistant to the governor on print, Chidiebere Onyemaizu amongst others.