Unmasking Chief Nnia Nwodo

Unmasking Chief Nnia Nwodo

If a snake fails to show its trademark, women will use it to tie firewood, so says Igbo proverb. On 5th June, my attention was called to a Europe based Nzuko Ndigbo online to look at what we shall do in view of the Fulani trooping into our homeland while there was lockdown. Only the ignorant and stupid will feel less concerned with the manner and time these able bodied men of fighting age hid in Dangote trucks and other articulated haulage motors, and streamed into our homeland. Remember we always say, -Anaghi agwa ochi nti na agha esula-, meaning that –A deaf is never told there is conflict-, and as such we knew that the sons of the Sahel are not resting on their oars, even with the covid-19 lockdown. Have we forgotten the words of our people when they said, -Since the Dinta has refused to stop shooting, Nwaeleke the bird will keep flying without perching? So we all were worried, and wanted a working action plan. One of our leaders sent me the link to the online emergency meeting and I joined immediately. As I was admitted into the ongoing meeting, I perused through, but there were many attendees. I saw many faces and others who wouldn’t want to show theirs. However, many persons attended from different European countries. Remember, the reason of the gathering was to fashion our response plan to the security situation at home.
As the meeting progressed, we were informed Ohaneze president Chief Nnia Nwodo is being waited for to address us. I looked forward to hearing from the Ohaneze leader on plans to combat the influx, and I planned to ask clarifying questions on dark spots pertaining to the security situation in Igboland. Like me, there were others who wanted to ask questions on the issue that brought us together, but the organizers left what attracted us to the gathering, which was security, and tactfully tailored the agenda towards forming a European version of the WORLD IGBO CONGRESS. They are not my brief today, because they should have been. Chief Nnia Nwodo epitomises whatever will come out of that group as they are in incubation stage of WORLD IGBO CONGRESS – Europe. And if you remember again, what attracted many to the adhoc gathering was to make a quick response to the killing and trooping in of core northern men of fighting age, into our land while the country was in lockdown.
As Chief Nnia Nwodo entered, pin-drop silence was demanded, and it was given by the online audience. We accorded him rapt attention as his office and the weight of his impending speech demanded. In a nutshell, the Ohaneze leader spoke in two phases due to connection issues. Most importantly, he addressed the security situation which is a source of concern for many that gathered. Although he spoke eloquently, but I was disturbed on the ingredients of his talk as it was tasteless. Honestly, his address to us on the night of the 5th June, 2020 marked a watershed on my views about his position as an Igbo leader. I still ruminate on that address in my thoughts, often juxtaposing it with happenings across our motherland today. Our generation must seek out fearless and courageous leadership because we lack it. Now I remember the last chapter -WHO IS THE 21st CENTURY IGBO LEADER- of my book on the political history of Igbos, which I titled –WHITHER NDIGBO?-, written and published during my National Youth Service Corps year in Sokoto, after I left Unizik. Chief Nnia Nwodo rubbished any question bordering on insecurity, and even describing it as if it was an alarmist view point. He argued that the situation at home was in control, and there was no cause for alarm. He equally advised the gathering not to support anyone or group seeking for support either logistically or otherwise. He cited examples of our harmonious relationship with the Fulani and others, hence no need to lose sleep. He equally made reference to the Enugu State Government preparedness, including spending on logistics like mobility and setting up forest guards. There were other tissues of verbal assurances he made on that day to disabuse minds on that gathering of European based Igbos towards the frightening insecurity in Alaigbo. I and a few others tried to raise fundamental and pertinent questions, but like I said earlier on, the organisers of the group had primordial intentions of setting up World Igbo Congress in Europe, but rode on the back of people’s genuine concern to support in any way, the Fulani threats and killings in our land. After Chief Nnia Nwodo’s speech, few others echoed his line of thoughts, and the desire to raise instant support, either to the US based World Igbo Congress or into an emergency purse died there.
My argument in all these rests on the need for our generation to follow a responsive path. -No one is more hated than he who speaks the truth-, so says Plato the Philosopher, and we know it is true. As I usually say, -The beauty of Igbo philosophy is that anybody can be great- so the positive side of our republicanism must come into play, we need passionate defenders of our land. Chief Nnia Nwodo let our people down because we are now counting mutilated corpses, raped and kidnapped women and impending famine due to fear to farm and destruction of crops by Fulani cattle. Ohaneze has positioned itself as a poisoned chalice unworthy to use by our people for a drink and bereft of pragmatic efforts in mobilising the average Igbo, not to talk of acting as a watchful elder over a pregnant goat. One of our greatest waterloos is genuflecting at nonentities masquerading as Igbo leaders and elites. We are known for certain qualities, and some of them mark out exceptional leaders among us. One of such great attributes is defiance to injustice and unbridled passion for truth. Who are those laying claims to leadership today? Remember that we usually say that, -Igbo ma okoro ga aga mba rifo nri-, literally meaning –We know those who are capable of representing our collective interest-. But the enemy and those who want our land keep raising their stooges as our ‘Leaders’. I recommend WHITHER NDIGBO for all. In the light of what Chief Nnia Nwodo said on the 5th June, 2020 via zoom to some Europe based Igbos, the question is, do our people feel safe in farms and their homes today?

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