By Emeka Obasi
Tell this to all Igbo far and near, at home and abroad: Henceforth Ochiagha Okoh Ebitu Ukiwe, Ofo Ndi Igbo, is the new Igbo leader world wide. In the military, what I am doing now will be termed a coup d’etat and I am ready to face any consequences arising there from.
As we prepare for the make or break 2019 elections, I have given myself the responsibility of organizing the Igbo if we are not willing to submit ourselves to the leadership of the wise ones among us. Experience is not bought in Ochanja market. It is not even sold anywhere near Ariaria.
The Igbo have to wake up and wriggle themselves out of the grip of some dullards who made blind money and have tried to speak for the entire group. You find men who never struggled all their lives and do not even understand Nigerian politics coming out to crown themselves representatives of the entire nationality. This must end this year.
The Igbo dictated the pace in the First Republic. We had our first eleven. Statesmen like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr. Michael Okpara, Dr. Akanu Ibiam, Dr. Dennis Osadebey, Mr. Amanze Njoku, Dr. Nwafor Orizu, Chief Jaja Nwachukwu and Mazi Mbonu Ojike stood tall in politics.
Those who controlled cash like Sir Louis Ojukwu and Chief M.N. Ugochukwu put their wealth to good use and did not come out intimidating people. There was order so much so that brain and business worked together. You could see a Dr. Chike Obi win elections without having to throw money into peoples’ minds.
The Civil War changed all that. The Igbo were still relevant in the Second Republic. At least, the nation recognized their worth. Parties that did not have Zik as flag bearer went for Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Chief Philip Umeadi, Dr. Ben Nzeribe and, I guess, Sam Ikoku respectively, as running mate.
The Beret Boys came and started the tactical marginalization of the Igbo. By so doing, they also raised a new crop of ill equipped men and women who were ready to play the second fiddle without looking back. Thus began the journey to the wilderness.
Commodore Ukiwe tried to stand firm and tall, like a real Igbo man. As Chief of General Staff[Vice President equivalent], he was not ready to be a ‘Mumu’ like some others after him.
President Ibrahim Babangida tried to play pranks using Generals Domkat Bali and Sani Abacha, who were number three and number four. Ukiwe saw the hand writing on the wall and decided to be a man.
Ukiwe, after his protocol team led by Ambassador Albert Anofuechi, had moved an advance party to Abuja for the 26th Independence Anniversary celebrations, pointed out to IBB that he had been downgraded for Bali in the order of arrival. The President said it was proper since it was a military affair.
Ukiwe chose to stay away and braved the consequence. He offered to quit. Babangida’s wife, Ndidi [Maryam], a true and great Igbo daughter, had hinted the CGS. At the end, Ukiwe, walked out on the job, contrary to insinuations that he was fired.
Ukiwe did not have patience[ndidi in Igbo] for intrigues. As a Biafran officer, he was aware that IBB fought and was injured in Uzuakoli where Biafra’s 8th Commando Brigade, led by Col. Emeka Ananaba, captured a Nigerian Armoured Personnel Carrier[APC]. It was renamed Ndidi, yet it did not win them the battle.
He left government and chose to stay away from the lime light. However, his constituency, the Navy, continues to hero worship him. Not just because he graduated from the Britannia Royal Naval College [BRNC], Dartmouth, in 1964, four years after joining the Navy, in 1960.
In the Navy, Ukiwe ,is known as Gaddafi. When he was appointed CGS, he was said to have picked his security team from the toughest guys in Naval formations all over the country. In those days, the other forces had a lot of respect for the Navy as Ukiwe’s Boys were the brave and daring ones.
This is why Ndigbo have to accept my decision to announce the Sea Lord, Ebitu Ukiwe as the Igbo leader. We do not have to go far to know that this is a real Igbo man who fits into the Nigeria question. He knows what to do with the power that arises from this position.
Ukiwe fought the war on the side of Biafra Navy. Those of us who know what shore battery means will understand my lingo. He lost seniority at the end of the war but not respect as he was recalled.
After the war, Ukiwe became member of Murtala Mohammed’s Supreme Military Council when Ndubuisi Kanu was appointed first Governor of Imo State in 1976. In 1977, he replaced Murtala Nyako as governor of Niger State. A year later, Ukiwe became military Admnistrator of Lagos State, succeeding Kanu. The Navy Captain would later hand over to Alhaji Lateef Jakande.
Ndigbo, here we are with a man who was governor in the North as well as the West, fought for Biafra and rose to become the equivalent of a Vice President. Here is a man of integrity. Ukiwe. Ofo Ndigbo, is the man for us all.