By Stanley Emejuru
Owerri, the Imo state capital, was thrown into wild jubilation on Tuesday following the declaration of interest by Prof. Chidi Osuagwu to contest for the president of the apex Igbo leadership body, Ohanaeze Ndigbo. Osuagwu, an accomplished academic who is famed for his integrity and devotion to the welfare and progress of Igbo people announced, his intention run for the office during a chat with newsmen.
Various stakeholders in Imo however took turns to express their delight that the revered Osuagwu at last made a decision to serve Ndigbo. Dr. Emma Nwala said the declaration of Osuagwu has brought joy, succor and pride to Imo people, who have always wanted to make a difference in Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
“We know Osuagwu very well. We know what he stands for. He represents the best of Imo State; dedicated, thorough, focussed, sincere, passionate and visionary. We have been worried that he might choose not to contest. But today our worries are gone. We are reassured that with him as the helmsman of Ohanaeze, Ndigbo everywhere will breathe fresh air,” he enthused.
Earlier in his address during the declaration, Osuagwu highlighted that this moment holds enormous possibilities Igbo people. For him, “The dreams of greatness that we share as Ndigbo shall never be aborted. Our undying spirit of dedication shall persevere. The unity of Ndigbo everywhere in the world must be restored. And our forebears’ vision of a greater and prosperous Igboland must be alive in our time.”
He further revealed that. “For several months, I have had calls from various groups and well-meaning Igbo patriots, urging me to make myself available for service to our people. I am deeply humbled by their faith in me, and I assure them that every step I take will continue to justify the confidence reposed in me,” he pledged.
Continuing, Osuagwu asserted, “After seeking the endorsement of God and consulting with my family, friends and numerous other believers in the cause of Ndigbo, I wish to announce to you today that I will be contesting for the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. This decision is born out of my deep conviction that with a leadership that is imbued with a great measure of integrity, credibility, character, vision and passion, Ndigbo can make the future we seek and unleash the potentials of our people.
“The tasks before us are enormous, and even daunting. But let there be no doubt, my people, they shall all be met.
“We have a responsibility to recalibrate the Igbo homeland economy, by building confidence in our people both in Nigeria and in the Diaspora, to begin to consciously think home and replicate the wonders we have done across the world right here in Igboland. We have a duty to permanently end the spilling of Igbo blood anywhere in Nigeria no matter the pretext under which it occurs. We have an obligation to listen to the grievances of our youths, to talk to them, to address their worries and to guarantee a brighter tomorrow filled with opportunities for them. The dignity of Ndigbo, the sanctity of Igbo culture, and the protection of all Igbo interests must never negotiated, tampered with, nor compromised.
“We must reconnect with our people, reestablished trust in our leadership and collectively address our challenges. It is time to heal, to reunite and to progress.
“The long years of injustices against our people in Nigeria, and the litany of deprivations meted out to us, must now give way to a new era, when Ndigbo must retake our pride of place. This is what must happen!
“No matter what we think of the past, we must never be prisoners to it. Ndigbo, we now have a great opportunity to be that which we desire,” he said.