Newly elected President General of the Pan Igbo socio-cultural association, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, said in spite of the national attention accorded his election, the wellbeing of Ndi Igbo would be of paramount interest to him even as he pledged to avoid partisan politics.
Speaking at the inauguration of the chapter of the association in Enugu, Nwodo said he was concerned about the position of Ndi Igbo in Nigeria. The ethnic group, he said, was the leader in virtually all spheres of society including the economy, a situation that was no longer the case. And he is planning to engender Igbo renaissance.
“Less than 48 hours after my election, President Muhammadu Buhari congratulated me. I received a call from the Afenifere. The Afenifere later placed an advertorial for me in the newspaper and said they will like to meet with me. I received a call from the Deputy President of Arewa Consultative Forum, asking me when we are going to meet.
“Former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme called me. Ebitu Ukiwe called me. Emeka Anyaoku called me. My former boss, General Abdusalam Abubakar called me. They all congratulated me.
“I received a call from Archbishop Onaiyekan. When the election was going on, the Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Professor Onah and Bishop Martin Kukah of Sokoto Diocese called and said they were praying for me. You can see the national attention given to our election.
“But, one of the decisions I took is not to speak to the press. In the handover note given to me, I was made to understand that the youth wing was proscribed for speaking to the press all the time.
“We are going to have our national executive meeting next Thursday, where all the state chairmen and members of executive will be in attendance. There, we will talk about how to review our constitution, our budget and other critical issues and thereafter, if we talk to the press, it will be Ohanaeze Ndigbo speaking,” he said.
He recalled that late Dr M. I. Okpara, as Premier of the defunct Eastern Region, built a steel company in the east, which became the first steel company in the country before Aladja, noting that Golden Guinea and Mirinda soft drink, brewed in the East, were no longer in existence and pledged an Igbo rebirth.