By Vincent Ujumadu Awka-
THE threat by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB to scuttle Monday’s Igbo summit on the restructuring of Nigeria in Awka turned out to be an anti climax, as the pro-Biafra group was overwhelmed by the large number and fierce-looking security personnel in the Anambra State capital. Traditional rulers at Igbo summit [photos Nath Onojake] Heavy presence of the police was noticed on Sunday night around the Alex Ekwueme Square, venue of the summit, with bomb detonation experts lined up several kilometers around the area.
Many people who tried to enter the venue were thoroughly screened and those who could not identify themselves were turned back. Many of them later staged peaceful protest outside the venue. Those who managed to enter the massive arena however betrayed their bias to the summit when they started shouting down the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Professor Chukwuma Soludo as he presented the position of Ndigbo on the restructuring. Soludo had listed a national conversation, new constitution, convocation of a constituent assembly, six-year tenure for the president and vive vice presidents from the geopolitical zones with the VPs holding key ministries, rotation of the president among the geopolitical zones, scrapping of local government system, creation of additional state for the South East before considering creation of more states in the country, among other demands as the position of the Igbo. With shouts of Noo, many youths and women trouped out of the arena, with some of them shouting that they did not want restructuring, but Biafra Republic.
Their departure, however, did not stop the summit from coming to a logical conclusion. President of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo said all the arms of Ohanze accepted the recommendations by the various committees that drafted the stand of Ndigbo on the restructuring, adding that Nigeria needed a constitution because ‘the present constitution was dead.’ Chairman of the occasion, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, in his speech, observed that in the life of any nation, there should be a time to pause and reflect into the past, reflect on the present and peep into the future, adding that though Igbo had a great past and great people that championed Nigeria’s Independence, they have not had a fair deal in Nigeria. He said: “Today, things are no longer the way we want them. In as much as I believe that the future of the Igbo is great, there are some concerns. In 1966, Igbo didn’t know about the coup, but they were slaughtered in the civil war that lasted 30 months.
“Today, the killings are taking place in Benue State and it may be others in future. People talk about Fulani herdsmen, but we have Fulani people in government, as senators, as ministers and traditional rulers, yet the killings have continued. “The federal government of Nigeria should be grateful to Ohaneze Ndigbo for coming up with the programme for the restructuring of the country for the benefit of all. When Abuja was being created, we were told that there would be no issue of indigene is rearing its head and nobody is doing anything about it.”