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Ohaneze: please wake up

I woke up today in my usual writing mood thinking of Ohaneze, a good idea that sits there unutilized for years. What is it actually doing? What is it there for? Not only does it have all stalemates around it, Ohaneze often is all sound and fury signifying nothing because of undeclared intentions. What is preventing it from declaring its intentions and acting accordingly? Sometimes it is dead. No one hears of it. Other times it barks. It whines. It grumbles. It cries. It sobs. It is pitiable, an apex organization of a whole indomitable, indefatigable and industrious Igbo people known all over the world! Does it see the tough and perilous times ahead of people of the Igbo race or nation in Nigeria, sooner or later?  If there is another unprovoked genocide what would Ohaneze do? Is it in anticipation? Or will it be taken unawares in the event of such? Is Ohaneze thinking?
Is Ohaneze comfortable in advisory role? is it okay as a mere spectator at the ringside watching the explosive device that Nnamdi Kanu’s incarceration represents which a simple mistake can touch off and it blows up in everybody’s, face? Nnamdi Kanu may just die in detention by accident or design {God forbid) and uprising or violence of un-controllable proportions we did no bargain for will begin and everybody is a bigger soup than we have seen before. Any conflagration from such will engulf all of us, plus Ohaneze. Ohaneze would Just be there, an old man watching while the pregnant goat under tether gives birth which it knows is an abomination in Igbo land. There is a black goat that must be found when there is, yet daylight. But Ohaneze is there doing nothing as darkness fast approaches. The goat will surely be lost. When that happens what shall one say to Ohaneze? People won’t take it kindly with her. So Ohaneze itself is in danger too, caused by its own indiscretion and irresponsibility. It pretends to be doing something while doing nothing, -deceiving people. There will be a day of reckoning.
Let’ s then do something for an Ohaneze that doesn’t seem to know where it is going, where it came from and where it stands, the thing is to say to it that taa’bu gboo: Wake up, man. The world looks up to it to do something and also say something about the fate of Ndigbo now before it is too late. Without being told, I believe Ohaneze is the child of the civil war. The Igbo experience warns them to be organized, be prepared, have committed leadership and do everything to unite for any eventuality. They must not assume that they are safe and fail to be vigilant at any time. That’s the need for Ohaneze, a rallying point for collective Igbo group action, military, diplomatic, political, economic and so forth. There should be an organ that will speak for the people and stand up for them under all circumstances.
Instead Ohaneze is known more for what it is not than for what it is. It is not political. Ohaneze is an NGO, but needs government to be effective. It is not ethnic. No, no, no, that is the last thing it will wish to be. After ail they are detribalized, a word used to play safe. Yet Ohaneze couldn’t afford not to be a name in Igbo language, a tribal language. An English name could  have suited. It is non-religious. It is neutral in this. It is secular, like Nigeria.
It is Nigeria-inclined to curry favour. It is not Biafran Yet it grew out of it and needs to derive its base, and relevance from the people and area. The individuals there in Ohaneze also want to avoid carrying the baggage of Biafra. It can’t stick with it. Thus Ohaneze seems to have a dubious character. It is neither here nor there. Being neither this nor that, it is typically Nigerian. If Ohaneze claims to be a leader it must be steady and steadfast.
Our burden in this article is therefore to tell Ohaneze what it can be. It has to be somehow identified with something and have a definite character. There must be a declaration by Ohaneze that this is what we are and this is what we are out to do and are doing. They must be honest about this.
As a socio-cultural apex organization which the media call it, Ohaneze has no admirable functions. Those who constitute Ohaneze can only be self-serving in It. Socio-cultural means nothing and alludes to nothing. The social aspect of it makes it a club, a gathering of people who want to eat, drink and socialize  and enjoy. They may have no agenda but just to sit around, crack jokes. have fun and make one another happy. It is not a serious organization. Seriousness detracts from its intentions or aims and objectives as a social club. Their ‘stock in trade is relaxation and goodtime. They represent nobody but themselves; they fight for nothing. They defend no cause, just or unjust.
The cultural aspect makes it look even more unserious, I know what we associate culture with here – dances, singing and musical performances of all sorts, especially by-poor, downtrodden people for the entertainment of the well-to-do and for which they are paid’ little  or nothing. In fact we have a very limited sense of what culture is. However culture is still on the lighter, unserious side, without sweat. People looking up to them just waste their time. If Ohaneze is at the apex, it means, it engages in custodianship, preservation, development and organization of cultural events at ihe highest level, which it has never done’. So it is a misnomer to call the group “Ohaneze, the apex Igbb socio-cultursl organization”. It has never been that’. It will riot succeed in being that. It should have a more serious assignment than that.
Ohaneze has never had any political pretence. It denies this outright. It dreads politics. Yet this is where it can find relevance and something to do. The Igbo problem in Nigeria is largely political. They were systematically denied political relevance, power and participation because they outsmart everybody in them. The freedom the Igbo look for is political. Political competition in Nigeria is unfair against them, it eventually degenerated into going for their lives and eliminating physically. One of the aspirations they have is to be in political control one of these days in order to neutralize the political forces tormenting them. It is a pipe dream and a gamble. This is an intolerable vaulting ambition to the other tribes in the contest with them. This is a definite challenge to an Ohaneze that wants to do something.
The Igbo do not need the   presidency. What they need is the economy, self-reliance and freedom to develop  at their own unfettered pace. They must get free from being slowed down, caged or stunted. Freedom is the target. And Ohaneze should champion it.
Ohaneze as an igbo word and name means all the people in action together. But as constituted and conceived Ohaneze is a secluded group of big men( I haven’t heard of women in it), relating organizationally with nobody in Igbo land. It bears nobody’s burden. Occasionally it takes up the issue of a Nigerian president of Igbo origin. Ohaneze is a simpleton in this, afraid of getting involved in the enormous mobilization required for it. Ohaneze won’t be political, but it wants an Igbo president. There is no tactics, no strategy, no road map. If it is achieved there will be no clout around that, president to keep him in power or even to prevent him being killed. It is a funny group. You may even ask: after getting the igbo president, what next? Will he be able to get all we have been denied or all we entitled to in the position, including Eiafra? Of course no.
Are Ndigbo still in  the Biafran struggle? Should they be? Biafra symbolizes freedom from where  they feel cheated, insecure, unsafe and suppressed. That’s the way I see it. Should the Igbo try to get used to their place in Nigeria? Ohaneze has a duty to calm the storm about this. It should at least take a stand on the Biafran question. Unequivocally it should take a position and say yes or ‘no to Biafra. If it says yes, Nigeria must haunt her individually and as a group. Is that their fear in coming out full blast? If it says no, it’s people must denounce her and it will lose substantial base, loyalty and support. But it must declare its clear, unequivocal stand .We as Ndigbo can’t be knocking still at a door that is closed and locked. Ohaneze is defined by its attitude to Biafra. It must back it or back out of it, leaving nobody in doubt about this.
If Biafra is an extreme sentiment or radical idea about the rnarginalization allegations against Nigeria, Ohaneze has a duty to caution about that and convince its people on a moderate approach which wilt not endanger lives and perhaps lead to another bloodshed. Ohaneze should have anchoring in the grassroot. It should get support from branches and have strong reliable international links, it should have well-defined actions it is prosecuting, it must carry all the people along, it has to be the moral authority in Igbo land, commanding the respect of all the people, the government, the church and all, by its transparent concern for all Igbo people in the world without exception.

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