By Ajisafe Olayiwola
The President of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Lagos State chapter, Solomon Ogbonna, has blamed poor leadership for the insecurity in the South-East.
He noted that the lack of effective leadership was a major reason unknown gunmen are having a field day in South Eastern states, stressing that it is high time all Igbos start defending the culture and tradition of the Igbo nation.
The PUNCH reported on Wednesday that gunmen again, on Tuesday, set ablaze a police patrol van at the Ukwuagba-Ngbo community in the Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
The action by the gunmen was said to be part of plans to enforce compliance to the one-week sit-at-home order declared by a splinter group of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
The attackers were said to have stormed a police checkpoint in the area and ordered policemen on duty to leave the scene, while they set the van ablaze.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with our correspondent, the Ohaneze leader blamed the problem of regular attacks by unknown gunmen on the absence of respected leaders in the South East.
He said, “The reason you’re hearing such a problem is that Ndigbo has no leaders, since after Azikwe, M.I Okpara, Okafor, Odumegwu Ojukwu. So, Igbos have no leader any longer.”
Ogbonna described the leadership of the sociocultural organisation as that of “middlemen who are chasing politicians.”
Ogbonna said that leaders of the Yoruba and Hausa tribes have shown that they “have the interests of their people.”
He also called for the resignation of all politically-appointed leaders of sociocultural organisations like Ohaneze Ndigbo.
When asked to proffer a solution to stop the unrest in the region, he said, “Yes. Those merchandise leaders we have this time should resign, instead of holding us hostage by calling themselves leaders of Ndigbo.”
“Any leadership of sociocultural organisation like Ohaneze or Igbo- speaking, or Umuna, that’s appointed by any politician should resign.”
He added that for such an apex socio-cultural organisation as Ohaneze Ndigbo, the leaders ought to be elected, as it’s backed by their constitution.
“The man they call their president-general is appointed, not elected. Normally in Ohaneze Ndigbo, before you become a president, you must be elected,” the leader of Ohaneze Ndigbo in Lagos said.
He also urged the Igbos to retrace their steps and hold onto the tribe’s culture and tradition of Igbo land.
He lamented that a huge percentage of Igbos no longer understand the Igbo language, noting that many Igbos also do not travel to their hometowns any longer.
He said, “If we don’t go back to our culture and tradition undiluted by giving ourselves what we’re supposed to give the younger generation, we’ll still be in agony.”