Ohaneze Ndigbo Meeting In Port Harcourt, September 29: To Be Or Not To Be?

(Asks Iheanyi Ezinwo): Ohaneze Ndigbo has scheduled a meeting (Prayer Meeting ) for September 29, 2017, with notices sent out six weeks ago to all governors off Igbo extraction, Arewa Consultative Assembyl, Afenifere, Northern Elders Forum under the leadership of Paul Onongo and others.
Speaking with Notable Outcome, Monday in Port Harcourt, Barr. Uche Okwukwu, Secretary General of Ohaneze Ndigbo World wide explained that the meeting has been holding in other locations in Igboland, and that the 2019 edition will be the second in Port Harcourt after the first one in 1946.
The legal practitioner went further to justify their choice of Port Harcourt for the Ohaneze Ndigbo meeting.
“ What you call Port Harcourt today is a colonial imposition of 1913.The area called Port Harcourt today had a name, and it is called Diobu, an indigenous name belonging to Ikwerre people, who are indigenous Igbos in Rivers State. Their kits and kins are found in Awara and Ohaji in Imo state. A section of Egbema and parts of Ndoki in Rivers State are also indigenous Igbos, having their brothers in Imo, Abia and Akwa Ibom states.
“Igbos have a stake in Rivers state because there are indigenous Igbos here. Recall that some prominent Ikwerre sons had at different times in the past declared that they are Igbos”, Barr. Okwukwu, current Secretary General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, and also an indigene of Elele in the Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State had argued.
Meanwhile, Ogbakor Ikwerre Convention and other groups in Rivers State have opposed the proposed meeting of Ohaneze Ndigbo in Port Harcourt.
The Ikwerre in Rivers State had always insisted that they are a distinct ethnic nationality, and not Igbos, and President General of the Ogbakor, Prof. Chituru Achinewhu had called on Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike and the security agencies not to allow the event to hold. The fears of Ogbakor and other groups in Rivers State opposed to the meeting is that, it could be high jacked by members of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, to cause breach of public peace in the state.
They made references to the alleged attack on Hausas in Oyigbo and other locations in the south east states, where security officials have been attacked by members of IPOB.
In his response, Barr. Okwukwu said notices for the Ohaneze meeting in Port Harcourt had been sent out six weeks ago , long before the Python Dance by the military in Abia state and the Oyigbo fracas in Rivers State. He further clarified that the meeting has no bearing with IPOB.
“Although we disagree with the claims of the Nigeria military and insist that IPOB is not a terrorist group, we differ with IPOB in so many ways. While they are clamouring for break up, we are for restructuring in a united Nigeria. They are against election in Anambra State but we are for the election. Ohaneze from all indications is more informed than IPOB which is led by Nnamdi Kanu, a man in his 40s”, the Ohaneze scribe explained.
On the venue of the event, Barr. Okwukwu stated that it is yet to be determined because of the crowd that is being expected. According to him, all governors of Igbo extraction have been invited more than a month ago, with Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa given his word to be there. He said Governor Wike of Rivers State has since also been notified, and invited as governor of host state, and that all the security agencies in the state have also been informed about the proposed meeting in Port Harcourt in a very good time.
The Ikwerre born Ohaneze chieftain hinted that the meeting will be used to pray is for peace in Nigeria, for the wellbeing of Igbos and the rest of humanity.
All said, are the arguments of Ohaneze Ndigbo plausible? Are the fears of Ogbakor Ikwerre Convention valid? Will the government and people of Rivers State, as well as security agencies stop the Ohaneze Ndigbo meeting from holding in Rivers State? Only time will tell.

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