Following the burial of the Late Ezeigbo gburu gburu Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the questions on the lips of the people especially those who are interested in the welfare and progress of Ndigbo are: What is the situation of the Igbo after the exit of Ikemba Nnewi? Who will take over from him and what challenges would the person undertake to effectively move the Igbo forward and in a right direction? In this Interview the newly installed Ogirishi of Igbo land, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka who is the owner of Rojenny Tourist and Games Village Oba provides the answers. He also reflected on Ojukwu’s burial activities. Excerpts
How did you feel watching the remains of Ex-Biafran War Lord being committed to the mother Earth?
I felt very sad watching his body laid rest but I was conspicuously consoled with the magnificent nature of his burial, which had the presence of President Goodluck Jonathan and His wife, the first Lady Dame Patience Jonathan, Some Governors and the Chief of Army Staff etc. I must commend Mr. President, His wife, those Governors, the Chief Army staff Lt Gen. Ihejirika and other top Government functionaries for coming to Nnewi to pay the last respect to the late Ezeigbo gburu gburu.
I commend Mr. President in a special way for granting Ojukwu the much desired and deserved State burial.
Contrary to expectations that the MASSOB leader and the newly installed Ijele Ndigbo Chief Ralph Uwazuruike would prominently feature in the burial at Nnewi, Uwazuruike didn’t even attend the burial, how could react to his absent at Nnewi?
Thank you very much for this question. You know that before the burial, the issue of according Ojukwu a state burial was a subject of politics in Abuja. Shortly after Ojukwu’s death Senator Andy Uba presented the motion before the Senate for Ojukwu to be given State burial but the Senators threw the motion inside wastebasket. Consequently MASSOB under Uwazuruike said Okay, if the Senate cannot approve state burial for some body like General Ojukwu we will mobilize our members and give him the state burial as former Biafran Head of Sate in our own way. So MASSOB started planning the state burial. Along the line the Federal Government came up with the news that Ojukwu is going to be accorded full Military state burial. Consequently MASSOB declined. So in the real sense of it MASSOB made the federal government to rise up to the occasion of what they suppose to do for General Ojukwu. This is my observation and of course the reason why Ijele couldn’t attend the burial at Nnewi.
Governor Peter Obi said that the burial of Ojukwu marked the final end of Civil War. Do you agree to that knowing fully well that some Igbo are agitating for the sovereign of state of Biafra?
I totally agree with Governor Obi. Ndigbo can’t talk about civil war again. What we talking about now are how could the federal government solve our immediate problems not Civil War?
What are the immediate problems?
Construction of second Niger bridge, fixing of Federal roads like Enugu-Onitsha Express way, Enugu-Port Harcourt Express way and other roads, protection of our people in the North, provide job opportunities for our youths and improve electricity supply. And as a people with more stake in commerce and industries let’s be accorded a priority attention in these areas of our specialization. What we need is federal government presence not civil war.
Let’s look at the situation of Ndigbo after Ojukwu, I’m talking about leadership? Where do you think that the Igbo will take off after Ojukwu?
The situation now is that MASSOB leader Uwazuruike has taken over as the successor of Ojukwu and I’m with him as his deputy. I’m sure you press guys are much aware of the development. The traditional ruler of Nri Kingdom who is the Chief custodian of Igbo culture and traditional Eze Obidiegwu Onyeso through divine sources discovered Uwazuruike as the person to succeed Ojukwu for Igbo leadership. He also at the same time discovered me as the one who could perfectly deputize Uwazuruike on the process. This is the reason why he gave Uwazuruike the title Ijele Ndigbo and myself Ogirishi Ndigbo. Ijele is the greatest masquerade in Igbo land while Ogirishi means the cleanser and defender which could be use to do a lot of things.
The answer to your question is that Ndigbo are taking off from Uwazuruike after Ojukwu and I, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka is deputizing him.
There have been reactions in opposition to the discovery or emergence of Uwazuruike as Ojukwu’s successor?
I respond to the voices of oppositions with facts and prove that what Eze Nri discovered was very correct. It was the Gods of Igboland that gave him that revelation and I’m sure that those opposing him have started seeing the hand writing on the wall that Uwazuruike is the right choice for Ojukwu’s successor. You see the issue of Igbo leadership is not politics of state where people could gain position by virtue of opportunity through rigging election or buying over stakeholders or being connected to Presidency or INEC. It is a matter of what you have done for the Igbo Nation at large.
Uwazuruike at the moment controls over 12 million responsible Igbo youths who are structured in various tiers like ward, local government, state, zonal/regional and national levels. Have you ever heard that a MASSOB youth was arrested for a violence crime like armed robbery or kidnapping? You cannot hear such thing from MASSOB because they have good leadership built on non-violence and hard working. All MASSOB youths are meaningfully engaged with subsistence activities courtesy of Uwazuruike. This is one. Secondly Uwazuruike is the one who with persistent and vision took over the Igbo struggle from Ojukwu and he is the only Igbo man who has been jailed for about 17 times in different parts of Nigeria for the sake of Igbo emancipation. Thirdly Uwazuruike single handedly relocated wounded Biafran soldiers along with their families who were lavishing at the Oji-river along Enugu-Onitsha express way. He built an estate for them at Okwe and he is single handedly feeding them three times daily and equally training all their children in primary school, secondary school and university. These are some of the things Uwazuruike have been able to do for Ndigbo and I’m sure he is ready to do more and more.
Let’s look at the challenges facing you and Uwazuruike as the new Igbo leader?
Thank you very much. Firstly we will correct the mistake made by Ojukwu when he was alive. Ojukwu made one major mistake by combining state politics with culture and tradition. He played politics by contesting senate and Presidency. We are honestly not going to do that. We will concentrate on cultural and traditional leadership. This is one. Secondly we are going to use cultural and traditional powers to control political offices by unleashing native powers against political office holders who fail to do the right thing. You see the problem we have is that nobody controls political leaders that’s why a sitting governor doesn’t bother to conduct local government election. That’s why Ibori embezzled Delta state and ran away. We unleash the native powers of gods of our fore fathers and Ogirishi to checkmate the excesses of political office holders. Thirdly, we will among other things declare amnesty for kidnappers and armed robbers and ensure that Igbo youths are meaningfully engaged.
Talking about native powers, some people will say that you are taking them back to the dark ages, some will invoke Holy Ghost fire against you, others can pray that you die?
That’s why we are suffering, they are praying and preaching prosperity and someone is stealing billions and going away free with public money, why cannot they pray against those governors who embezzle state funds? These preachers’ device means for politicians to steal money and bring tithe from stolen money, which is abomination to God. You see we are going to revive our culture and tradition and use the gods of our fore fathers including Ogirishi to control political offices. Any political leader who fails to do the right thing will have gods and ogirishi to contend with.
What about Igbo Presidency, won’t the new Igbo leadership fight for Igbo President?
That’s not our priority, Jonathan is there and we can’t remove him, what we need now is to attract Federal presence like I said before and control the political offices within our territory for the overall interest of all Igbo.