Listen to article
Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu who is the new President General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for some of his infrastructural interventions in the South East, explaining that contrary to misconceptions in certain quarters, Buhari does not hate Ndigbo.
Chief Iwuanyanwu who was sworn in on Sunday after the Ime -Obi ratified his nomination, spoke on Arise television interview yesterday.
He said ‘We know that Buhari loves Ndigbo. I’m in touch with our state governors and they told me many of the things he has done in their states.
‘Buhari has done the Second Niger Bridge; Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway; he has approved the dredging of Ugwuta Lake which is a joint venture between the Imo State Government and the Nigeria Navy.
‘So, I thank him and appeal to him to do us this one favour which is to release Nnamdi before leaving office on May 29. Every Igbo will be happy if he does that’.
Chief Iwuanyanwu who said he had commissioned a study on power generation in the South East, disclosed he would set up committees on education and economic revival.
Read Also: Igbo Leaders Adopt Iwuanyanwu As Ohanaeze President
He identified youth unemployment as a major challenge that Ohanaeze under his watch would aggressively tackle in partnership with state governors in the South East.
‘Unemployment causes social unrest. We will work together with state governors to address it.
‘After the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914, by 1960, Igbo had come top in education, economy, military, science and technology and so many areas.
‘We have never had political powers, yet we are highly advanced. So, I’m going to set up a council on education to find out what makes us strong in education and to improve on it. I will also set up a council on business to ensure our businessmen and women succeed.’
The new Ohanaeze helmsman also said he would set up a committee to bring back on stream, the famous but moribund Nigercem Cement Industry Nkalagu before the year runs out.
‘The major raw material for cement is limestone, and we have it in abundance in South East. So, I will set up a committee to ensure Nigercem Nkalagu begins production before the end of this year.’
On how to end the power challenge in the South East, Iwuanyanwu said: ‘I commissioned a study on power, and I got an amazing report that we can generate cheap power through coal. We have coal in abundance in Enugu. It’s one of the best in the world. So, we will explore that especially now that power has been brought to the concurrent list.’
The former Chairman, Ohanaeze Council of Elders, used the opportunity to clear the air on his alleged anti-Yoruba comment in Awka which he said was twisted by mischievous elements to possibly pitch Yoruba against Ndigbo in the run-up to the general election.
He denied ever referring to the Yoruba as political rascals explaining that he only said that those behind the unprovoked and senseless attacks against Igbo interests in Lagos were political rascals.
‘Before the elections, we had complaints from the Igbo living in Lagos who felt threatened and unsafe, telling us that even in schools, their children face hostilities because they are Igbo.
‘So, I called some Yoruba Leaders who even condemned the action. I was convinced that there were no problems whatsoever between the Igbo and Yoruba but the people I describe as political rascals are the ones causing the problem for personal motives.
‘As a leader, I told them: Don’t be afraid. Stay in Lagos; the Yoruba are our friends and brothers. Chief Awolowo showed love to a lot of Igbo. As a young man, I visited him when I was nursing my presidential ambition, and he blessed me.
‘The Yoruba are good. The late Moshood Abiola was my very good friend. I knew Tinubu through him. So, I was surprised to see that somebody manipulated the story out of mischief. If you listen to the video, you will discover there is a gap between Yoruba and political rascals. Somebody who wanted to cause a crisis between the Yoruba and the Igbo, mischievously cut off part of my remark to twist the comment.’
‘It was Shehu Sani who first discovered this and drew the attention of people that it was fabricated. I thank him for that. People should be careful what they hear. Fraud has reached an advanced stage in Nigeria. Mischief makers twist people’s fair comments to implicate them, and this is very sad’.