Paramount ruler and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, on Friday, made a case for the unity of the country even as he called for dialogue with members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The Ooni of Ife, who made this known when he paid a courtesy visit to the Abia state governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu in Umuahia on Friday said he was in Abia “to preach oneness of the country and to build bridges across the entire country.”
“There is something that is bordering them that is making them to cry,” he said, adding, “We should not throw them away; we should draw them closer (because ) the youth of this country are the future, the energy, they are the heart beat of this country.”
According to him, the youth have inherent energies that could be tapped and positively channeled to build a better Nigerian state, adding that instead of throwing them away, they should be drawn closer and their energies channeled positively for a better Nigeria.
Oba Ogunwusi called for proper re-orientation of the youth in order to make them drop negative tendencies such as hate speeches and making calls for disintegration of the country.
Alluding to the position of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo that Nigeria should be restructured to ensure equity, justice and fairness, the Ooni said that the Yoruba race shared the same view on the way forward for a better and all inclusive Nigeria.
He said; “We must chart the course of doing things with positive energy. I want to let you know that you are not alone in this. We stand by you positively in a very progressive manner.
“We stand by you that we all must come together to build a united Nigeria. We don’t want any war; we don’t want any disintegration.”
Oba Ogunwusi said that he was very proud of the youth, saying that he would never throw them away. He specifically urged Ikpeazu and other Southeast leaders to open the door and bring the youth in and re-orientate them.”
He lauded the people of South East for their contributions to the country’s national development, saying, “Igbo people are truly the lifeline of this country and I am proud of their can-do-spirit.”
According to him, the Igbo and the Yoruba are “spiritually linked, hence we must work together.”
The Ooni said he was happy that to see that Abia is peaceful contrary to the outside impression that the state was in turmoil. He expressed support to Governor Ikpeazu for his passion for things that are of positive values, promotion of peace and respect for traditional institutions.
Meanwhile, the Abia State governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has enjoined Igbo youths to listen to elders in order to avoid the mistakes of the past.
Governor Ikpeazu made the declaration on Friday during the inauguration of the state chapter of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Umuahia, saying Nigeria and the world at large were passing through perilous times hence the need to seek amicable ways to resolve contending issues.
“We believe in justice, equity and fairness. I believe in live and let live,” he said, adding that nobody takes delights in being oppressed.
Ikpeazu said that henceforth, youths and any Igbo person or group that have grievances should channel it through the apex body of Ohanaeze Ndigbo which would be in a position to take the matter to the appropriate authorities.
Earlier in his address, the Abia state president of Ohanaeze, Mr. Chimaobim Ajuzieogu said that the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation would “no longer sit on the fence; neither shall we continue to observe as spectators in the affairs that affect us.”
He pledged that the new leadership of Ohanaeze in Abia State would strive hard to restore the value system of Ndigbo through massive media campaigns, adding that Nwodo should be commended for the “revivalist strategy” he has adopted.
Chairman of the occasion and elder statesman, Emmanuel Adaelu, called for unity among Ndigbo, saying that the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo should be recognised as the voice of the Igbo and no group should try to appropriate that authority.
In his inaugural remarks at the occasion, President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo, said that restoration of Biafra was not an Igbo agenda, insisting that restructuring of the polity remains the position of Nidigbo in the ongoing debate about the future of Nigeria.
The Ohanaeze leader said that the restoration of Biafra was a tall order given the constitutional roadblocks and would not be in the overall interest of the Igbo in their socio-economic and political relationships with other Nigerians.
“We should forget Biafra and insist on restructuring,” he said, adding that there is no Igbo that is happy with the situation of things in Nigeria but “we must seek for peaceful ways of resolving the issues.”
Nwodo said while the youths were justified in expressing their anger at the way Ndigbo were being marginalised in national affairs, they should moderate their actions and words, adding that hate speeches would not resolve any problem.
The Ohanaeze leader stated that in their engagement with the leader of IPOB. Nnamdi Kanu it was impressed on him that he and his members should tone down their words and desist from denigrating people and groups.