Igbo Regent Onowu Dr MN Ozua-Okoye is a fore most Igbo protagonist who has made tangible contributions for the unity, development and progress of the Igbo Nation. In this interview with our correspondent, the Onowu who is the traditional prime minister of Igbo land takes a look at the situation of things in Igbo land at the moment, the flood, the new yam festival and its impact on the Igbo culture and 2015 among other things.
Flood is the trouble of the moment and it is wrecking havoc in your senatorial zone of Anambra North. What do have to say about it?
The flood is a terrible experience. But I am grateful to God because our people have risen up to the occasion of sustaining those people displaced by the flood. The kind of support accorded them is tremendous. Honestly I am impressed with the kind of massive support given them by the people and without wasting more time I wish thank Mr. President. Dr Good luck Jonathan the Governors of the state affected by the flood, particularly Governor Peter Obi, the men and women of Goodwill and various religious bodies, NGOS and corporate organizations who have given them something to eat, drink and pass through the night with hope and happiness. With the kind of support being given to them I don’t think they have much to regret. Let me appeal to Mr. President, the Governors and those who have helped them in one way or another to still remember to help them settle down after the flood dry up. I am sure most of them have lost properties, farm lands and cash crops, so they need help to restart life and we have to help them out.
As Igbo Regent how have you been able to impact on the people?
As I speak with, I can say that all is getting better for Ndigbo except this flood problem. Since Ojukwu died I have been tirelessly praying for God’s intervention on the lives of Ndigbo. One I pray for emergence of Ojukwu’s replacement the person who can perfectly replace Ojukwu as Igbo leader. Secondly, I pray for Igbo unity and thirdly long life and prosperity of all Ndigbo where ever they live and work. I believe that God is at work and like I said earlier all is well except the flood. As I speak a lot of people are worried about disunity among Ndigbo and I believe that something good would soon be achieved following the people’s concern against disunity.
There have been media report linking some people as new Igbo leaders as Ojukwu’s successor, are you not aware of the report?
I am not aware of the report, and nobody has come to me to notify me of his intention to lead Ndigbo with a comprehensive vision to that effects. I deputized Ojukwu all through and it is unfounded and unacceptable for his successor to emerge without the structure that Ojukwu left behind so I have to be aware of any arrangement with regard to succeeding him. Moreover the issue of Igbo leadership is not about some one parading himself or issuing press statement or interview, it is about vision for Ndigbo and ability to carry out that vision for the over all interest the Igbo nation.
Furthermore, there is a process through which one can be crowned the Igbo leader. Ojukwu passed through that process, my self passed through that process as the traditional prime and deputy to Ojukwu. When Ojukwu was due to be crowned Eze Igbo gburugburu he said I must have to come along to take the title as the prime minister and deputize him and I perfectly deputized him until he passed on that’s why I am now the Igbo Regent.
Talking about the process, who are those involved I mean those who are in position to decide and crown Eze Igbo?
Adama Nri is the chief priest and king maker of Igbo land. He is the one who crowned Ojukwu Ezeigbo Gburugburu in 1996, I have the documents. He is the one that is in position to crown Igbo leader not a traditional ruler. In Igbo land a king does not make a king it is the priest that makes king just as it is in the Bible where prophets anointed kings. Any other process outside Adama Nri is unlikely to stand the test of time.
Some people have spoken against your position as Igbo Regent saying that Regent is not recognized in Igbo leadership hierarchy?
…cuts in such critics are completely ignorant of what Regent stand for because it is well known in Igbo land that when a traditional ruler passes on the prime minister popularly known as Onowu take over automatically as the Regent until after one year or when ever somebody emerges to replace the dead ruler.
I am the traditional prime Minister of Igbo land and second in command to Ojukwu so what on this earth stops me from emerging the Igbo Regent. For God sake my emergence as Igbo Regent is purely on merit and on due process and nobody can dispute it except the ignorant.
There is impression that Igbo culture including Igbo language is gradually fading away and nothing is being done to remedy the situation?
The truth of the matter is that modern civilization is progressing massively in Igbo land and we have no means to resist it unlike the Yoruba and the Hausa our contemporaries. The Yoruba use their culture to resist it while the Hausa use religion but here we have no such strong means. Take dressing for instance the Hausa women have their unique way of dressing which protect them against in decent dressing nowadays. If you attend occasion like Ofala and New Yam Festival the traditional rulers read their address in English so tell me which other means we can use to promote our language if not things like Ofala and New Yam Festival.
As the Regent I am in full support of Subakwa Igbo Movement being championed by Professor Ejiofor. In like manner for us to us to revive our culture we have to device means like Subakwa Igbo Movement with a view to enlighten the people on the need to keep to the norms and values of our culture.
Let me use this opportunity to inform you that on 28th of this month I will mark the Igbo New Yam Festival as the Regent of Igbo land. On that day the Igbo culture will be promoted to the highest level at my palace in Awkuzu, I will use the occasion to pray more in a special way for the over all peace, unity and progress of Ndi Igbo.
What is your hope on 2015 do you think Igbo presidency is possible?
Presidency in a democratic dispensation is the property of Nigerian and they give to whom God wishes to have it. But in my own verdict as experienced politician turned Regent, Igbo president is the best thing that will ever happen to this political entity called Nigeria. Igbo are the most gifted in ideas and other wise to lead this country and I can tell you that from the days of Tafawa Balewa down to Shagari, Obasanjo and the present administration of Goodluck Jonathan it is the Igbos that root out the ideas that make things happen.
This is one, secondly an Igbo man as President will have to make impact in all parts of the country because he knows that his people live every where in the country. So he won’t be biased or tribalistic on discharge of his duties. Thirdly, Igbo president will work for history and posterity knowing how Ndigbo have laboured for this country and lastly an Igbo president, will render all it takes to make Nigeria realize its greatness and put the country in a stronger position to compete with west and lead Africa to the next level. And the earlier Nigerians realize this the better for us.
You haven’t answered my question is Igbo Presidency possible in 2015
Well, if Jonathan runs again under PDP in 2015 Igbo presidency will be difficult that’s the truth of the matter. So it depends on the PDP ticket I doubt if there are other parties with the capacities to win presidency in election.