Encounter With Amaechi At 89 – By Okey Maduforo

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Encounter With Amaechi At 89 – By Okey Maduforo

Encounter With Amaechi At 89 – By Okey Maduforo

It was under the old mango tree that yours truly sat for about

twenty-five minutes waiting for him to join me at his garden.

His local Igbo cow Oguejiofor paced around the compound with his pet

dog coming to me now and then possibly as a protocol Advance Team for

his master.

His house maid later came to me carrying a plate containing kola nut

and alligator pepper and two bottles of water.

“Daddy will soon join you she announced” soon the tall, heavenly built

and fair skin patriarch took his time as he made his way towards the

mango tree where I was sited.

After the exchange of pleasantries, he sat down gracefully and did the

traditional honours of breaking the kola nut and the encounter began.

This meeting between me and the first Republic Minister for Aviation

Chief Mbazuruike Amaechi Dara Akunwafor indeed was a journey in

retrospect, chronicling the pre independent and some post independent

events and incidents that formed the foundation of the present country

called Nigeria.

Encounter With Amaechi At 89 – By Okey Maduforo

Amaechi painted a nostalgic picture of the brand of Nigeria his fellow

nationalist wanted before independence but are totally disappointed by

what he called the misplacement of priorities by successive leadership

in Nigeria.

“I worry as much as an old man will worry a situation that can not be

help should be endured. I have found out that people are pursuing now

are not the things we fought for. These are not the programmes of

things that we had in mind while fighting for independence we have

done our won things in our own time. Let them keep doing what they are

doing now in Nigeria today a subject like History has been stopped in

our schools. The whole governments have now said that history should

not be taught in schools; simply because soldiers were in power for

thirty – eight years and they do not want a true history of the

country to be told. So they abolished history in school. Yet when a

civilian came into power, an academician, it did not occur to him to

force the introduction of history so people have no pride. When people

like us come out to talk the young ones will say who are these foolish

old men? Because they were not taught about the history of this

country and they do not know anybody or anything about those that

fought for the independence of Nigeria. Infact Nigeria has forgotten

people like us and I do not know how many of us are still alive,

strong and healthy enough in this country”.

Amaechi further took a swipe on the sustained attacks on Ndigbo in the

Nigeria’s polity contending that since independence Ndigbo has

remained short changed in the sharing of the National cake and other

sundry issues of power sharing.

“Then in 1966 the military unpatriotically struck and took over the

government of the country in a treasonable coup d’état killing the

prime minister. Again this action was taken by majors in the military.

Not just the Igbos, because there were Yorubas and Hausas involved;

but again the whole evil was visited on Ndigbo. The massive killing of

Ndigbo in the north, the massive killing of Ndigbo in the west,

particularly in Ibadan and Ikeja cantonments and so eventually Nigeria

imposed a civil war on Biafra. The Igbos said if you do not want us in

this country, allow us to go away and in the process of going away,

the military government of the time declared war on Biafra and fought

a war of many weapons, which includes all weapons of war, diplomatic

weapon, economic weapon and that of starvation. They use economic

blockage against Ndigbo, against any contact with the outside world.

There were massive killings of Ndigbo in churches, markets and other

places. All these cost Ndigbo nearly two million lives. Before these,

when the riots were organized in the north, we published details in a

book, where the Igbos were killed in railways in Kaduna, Kano and at

Kano Airport where they were assembled to be flown down to the East,

they were slaughtered at the railway stations, they were asked to

assemble so that they will be taken down to the East and they were all

killed both men and women and children In the war”.

In between the interview the only surviving member of the Zikist

movement would purse and call for a break which is heralded by two

plates of dry meat pepper soup and a glass of fresh palm wine.

Returning from that brief break, yours truly posed a question of hour

well has the Yakubu Gowon’s policy of three Rs been implemented since

after the war.

“It has not been implemented how much more solving the problem. Okay

you say no victor no vanquished and you turned back and took away the

wealth of Ndigbo and said that all money belongings to Ndigbo during

the war were cancelled and valueless and Igbo adults were given twenty

pounds each that is N 40000 to start life. Everybody who was an adult

that is rich now started with N 40.00 after the war you said no victor

no vanquished but Egbema which was part of Oguta in Imo state Andoni

which is part of Ogbaru division are oil producing areas and you

excised them to River State because they do not want any part of Igbo

land to benefit from the Oil production revenue. Another on is that

you said that there will be no more generation of electricity in Igbo

land and so the Oji river power station which was built to use coal to

generate electricity was closed down and that led to the closure of

Enugu coal mines and sending about 10, 000 workers into the

unemployment market. Then AFAN power station one of the biggest power

station in the country which was part of Aba division was taken away

and merged with river state. That is what Nigeria has done to Ndigbos

but they tell you no victor no vanquished”.

Today, our patriarch and father of the Nigerian nation is eight-nine

years old and by next year he would clock ninety.

But what appears to be a show of shame in Igbo land is the continuous

celebration of the peoples ICONS when they are dead.

This was the case with late Michael Okpara, late Nnamdi Azikiwe whose

mausoleum project has remained uncompleted. Others include late Dr

Akanu Ibram, Abisinia, Nwafor Orizu, former senate president. The case

of late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu appear to be different because

while alive he had been on song and kudos to former president Goodluck

Jonathan, former Anambra Governor Mr. Peter Obi among others that

ensured that he was celebrated while alive and ultimately accorded a

state burial.

Similarly, former vice president Dr. Alex Ekwueme also had his share

of being celebrated alive and he got a state burial courtesy of the

duo of former Anambra Governor, Sen. Chris Ngige, President Muhammadu

Buhari and former Governor of old Abia State Dr. Ogbonnaya Onuh.

However, what has been done for Amaechi while he is still alive? He

for sometime now has not been seen at any state function. But for the

award bestowed on him by Gov. Willie Maduaburuchukwu Obiano, Anambra

State Governor.

The Ohaneze Ndigbo, Igbo leaders of thought led by Prof. Ben Nwabueze

, Aka Ikenga, league of Anambra Professionals, the respective state

and federal universities in Igbo land have not found it imperative to

institute a chair, name an institute or organize annual lectures in

honour of Chief Mbazuruike Amaechi.

If not for the Ukpor Improvement Union (UIU) that organized his

birthday celebration this year Nigerians would not have remembered

that such a elder statesman is still alive. However, it is still not

late.

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