There was a harvest of tributes in celebration of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu at the 10th edition of the memorial of the late Igbo leader and hero in Owerri, Imo State, yesterday.
The event took place at the expansive grounds of the Ojukwu Memorial Library built by the leader of BIM-MASSOB, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike.
She maintained that the Igbo have continued to feel the pains of marginalization and exclusion on a daily basis, adding that for as long as this was not addressed, and in so far as the Federal Government continued to exclude the South East from certain political positions and critical development projects such as the National Railway plan, and the zone continued to suffer the ravages of the deteriorating conditions of existing federal infrastructure, most especially roads, the feelings of collective victimization can only be reinforced and will continue to sustain the agitations for a separate state.
The former Nigerian Ambassador to Spain decried the continued detention of leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, and called on the Federal Government to consider the pleas for his release.
Thanking the Igbo leaders who visited President Muhammadu Buhari recently in pursuance of this objective, she appealed to the president to consider the calibre and age of these Igbo statesmen and grant their request in order to demonstrate a genuine commitment to healing the wounds of the past.
She regretted that the Igbo have been continually denied equal sense of belonging and legitimate citizenship rights in Nigeria. She, however, noted that no sacrifice was too much to promote and sustain a peaceful coexistence of all the ethnic nationalities in the country.
Deputy governor of Anambra State, Dr Nkem Okeke, who was special guest at the event, said for the Igbo to get what they want as a people, they must act with unity of purpose.
He said that the Igbo as a great nation must begin to speak with one voice if they must achieve their aspirations in an ethnic country like Nigeria as according to him, without unity they will continue to lose their rightful place in Nigeria.
“Ndigbo are a great people, but they are divided and I am saying this because we need unity and without it, we cannot achieve anything. But with unity, we can achieve whatever we set our minds on. We must stand together and if we don’t do that, we will never get our rights or political aims. So, we must unite and stand together for our rights,” Okeke said.
The deputy governor added: “Ojukwu, while alive, stood for the unity of Ndigbo and was a man of integrity and we are here today to honour his memorial. And the only way Ndigbo can continue to honour the memory of this great man who sacrificed his personal wealth and comfort for the cause of Ndigbo is to be united and continue to speak with one voice.”
He also lauded the leader of BIM-MASSOB, Uwazuruike for organising the annual Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Day in memory of the late Igbo sage.
In his remarks, son of the late Biafra leader, Afamefuna Ojukwu, a young United States-trained engineer, also thanked Uwazuruike for consistently hosting the event every year since the demise of his father.
The event was a cultural festival, featuring a brief interdenominational service, traditional dances and masquerade display, colourful parades, drama sketches and a live band eulogizing in music, the exploits of the Biafra hero.