BY TONY EDIKE, ENUGU
Deputy Senate president Ike Ekweremadu reviewed Saturday the increasing cases of insecurity in the country and declared that the factors that gave rise to the 1967 civil war were still very prevalent in the country.
He stated that the country was still struggling to survive as a nation stressing that everything possible must be done to ensure the unity of the country.
Ekweremadu who paid a condolence visit to Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu in Enugu over the death of the former Biafran leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, urged Nigerians to use the demise of the Igbo icon to address the issue of how best to co-exist as one nation.
He said: “The things that gave rise to the civil war are still with us and that is why many years after the war we had the Modakeke/Ife crisis; the Jos crisis between the Fulani and indigenes, the Umuleri/Aguleri crisis in Anambra.
“So those crises are still there because what gave rise to the war was the massacre of people who are Nigerians living within Nigeria by the other part of Nigeria and that is still going on. So it is that same hatred for one another that gave rise to the civil war; we still have them here and there; and those problems are yet to be addressed.
“I believe that the best we can do for Ikemba is for all of us to sit down and talk to ourselves and see how to address this issue so that we can live as a nation because as at now we are all managing to survive as one country. It’s important that we address this problem.
“I don’t believe they are insurmountable; we can find an arrangement to accommodate everybody in Nigeria so that people can live peacefully wherever they find themselves and be able to earn a living there.”
Ekweremadu described Ojukwu as a humble person who abandoned his father’s wealth and its luxury to enroll in the army at a period when the Army was left for the poor; “moving from one place to the other without any luxury and without knowing what would happen to him the next moment; what better sacrifice could a man do for his people.
“So he loved his people; but what they have been doing since his death also shows that they also love him. So I hope that the people of the South East and old Eastern Nigeria will give him a befitting burial.
“But the important thing as I said is for us to address those issues he fought for because they have not been addressed; I believe it could be addressed and the vision he lived for will be realized in due time.”
“Ojukwu as a person came ahead of his time; Ikemba lived ahead of his time and Ikemba died ahead of his time; because his visions, his views are yet to be realized but I believe that surely they will be realized and it is then that Nigerians will appreciate him better.
He also poured encomiums on Mrs Ojukwu; “the important thing as I said is that the wife is my sister from Ngwo; I praise her because of the efforts she made to sustain Ikemba up till now; I recall when I was Secretary to the Enugu State Government (SSG) I had cause to visit Ojukwu with the then governor.
“Then he was very strong and full of life, and we asked him the secret and he said the secret was the ‘wa-wa girl’ referring to his wife Bianca; and she sustained that maintenance , the love, the care up till this time, I believe that’s why Ikemba lived up till now.
“We are very proud of our daughter and I am also sure that the entire Igbo race is proud of her as the wife of the late Ikemba.”
Also speaking after paying condolence visit to the family of Ojukwu in Enugu yesterday, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha urged the federal government to find ways of immortalising Ojukwu, adding however that the National Assembly would be fully involved in his burial.
Ihedioha was accompanied by some members of the House including Hon. Chris Azubuogu representing Nnewi North, South and Ekwusigo federal constituency who described Ojukwu as his mentor and benefactor.
Azubogu pledged to follow the footsteps of Ojukwu by rendering selfless service to humanity and to remain steadfast in fighting the course of the oppressed in the society.
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Issues that caused civil war are still alive – Ekweremadu