By: Prince Eze Ugochukwu
In modern governance, peace building and conflict resolution are tools for achieving stability and growth in the society. It enables parties with divergent views and interests to meet face to face and put their positions across for deliberations instead of the alternative which is armed conflict.
Governor Hope Uzodimma has showcased knowledge, wisdom and intelligence by hosting President Mohammadu Buhari and creating an interface between him and critical stakeholders of Igboland including the apex leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide.
It was the American Economist Henry Mintzberg who posited that a “Strategic Plan implies intentionally putting something in place which is then monitored from start to a predetermined finish”. By bringing President Buhari to the Southeast to meet with the leaders of the zone to jaw jaw, Governor Uzodimma has straregically put something in motion which will eventually culminate in positive outcomes.
According to the Chinese General, Sun Tzu, “Only a brilliant ruler and an excellent leader, who is able to conduct their intelligence with superiority and cleverness is certain to achieve great results”.
Taking a cue from the above quote, one can clearly give it to Hope Uzodimma in the very brilliant and clever manner with which he navigated the Nigerian President to Imo State in order for him to hear directly the grievances of Ndigbo as delivered by Professor George Obiozor the President General of the Ohaneze Ndigbo, who delivered Ndigbo requests and demands like an elder, deviod of any rudeness or insulting words.
The takeaways from Buhari’s interaction with Igbo leaders includes the promise by the President to complete the second Niger bridge, and the assurance to finish all federal road projects in the Southeast before the expiration of his tenure in office.
As Henry Mintzberg said, a strategic plan is “monitored from start to a predetermined finish” and that is exactly what it should be going forward.
Governor Hope Uzodimma is fully committed to monitoring from start to a predetermined finish the outcome of the interactive session with Mr. President.
Ambassador George Obiozor brilliantly captured the importance of the visit by Buhari in his speech when he said that, “your visit and presence today in Igboland and
Owerri, Imo State in particular has more than political significance. In
manner of symbolism, this visit has thrown light into the cloudiness and doubts surrounding the perception of the relations between your
Government and Ndigbo. Your presence reassures us that there is still reason for optimism for Nigeria and Nigerian unity” (unquote) Truly, the ice has been broken.
Nothing caputures Governor Hope Uzodimma’s belief in the Igbo cause than what Uzodimma said himself when he addressed members of the National Assembly Committee on Construction Review.
On that occasion, Uzodimma said plainly that, “For us as leaders in the South East, we have been canvassing a more equitable way of meeting the desires of our people. We may not have been confrontational about it, but certainly, we have not been complacent. While some people glory in politicising both the economic and security situation in the South East, our duty has been to douse tension for we truly understand the pains of our people. For those who through ignorance or pettiness have castigated us unjustly, we forgive you. That precisely is the burden of leadership on our part.
Uzodimma continued thus, “Let me, however, use this auspicious opportunity to tell these alarmists and pretenders to love of Ndigbo, that they are not more Igbo than I am and they do not love Igbos more than I do. The difference is that while they want immediate and sentimental public applause, I want enduring prescriptions that can comprehensively address the Igbo challenge in Nigeria.
Again Uzodimma said, “For us as true leaders, genuinely committed to the Igbo question, the question agitating our minds is – What exactly do Igbo seek from Nigeria? Without sounding simplistic, what we seek is justice and equity. When we talk of restructuring or devolution of power, we are talking actually of having an environment created for us to unleash our potential and talent without let or hindrance. We are also talking of being treated equally like every other part of Nigeria. More importantly, we are talking of being part of the decision-making process in Nigeria”
Going forward therefore, it is now time for Igbo leaders to close ranks using the opportunity afforded by the Presidential visit to Imo State as initiated by Governor Hope Uzodimma to push for that which rightly belongs to them.
Prince Eze Ugochukwu is the Special Adviser to Imo State Governor on Public Enlightenment