COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE HANDSHAKE ACROSS NIGERIA CONFERENCE 2 ORGANISED BY NZUKO UMUNNA ON THE 28TH OF APRIL 2023 AT AMADEO EVENT CENTER ENUGU NIGERIA.
Recall that Nzuko Umunna had previously organized Handshake Across the Niger in 2018 and Handshake Across Nigeria 1 in 2019. Both events were held in Enugu and Lagos respectively. Aware that Nzuko Umunna is a think tank group of Igbo professionals in Nigeria and in diaspora. Noted for playing the role of bridge building among ethnic nationalities, Nzuko Umunna organized the Handshake Across Nigeria 2 in line with the organizations core mandate on the 28th of April, 2023. The conference chaired by HRM. Prof. James Ortese Iorzua Ayatse, CFR, (Tor Tiv) had the theme: BUILDING BRIDGES FOR A NEW NIGERIA. Some of the dignitaries that attended the event include the following: HRH. Prof. James Ayatse (TOR TIV) and Chairman of the Benue State Council of Traditional Rulers (who chaired the occasion); Peter Obi (Former Governor of Anambra State and Presidential Candidate of Labour Party); His Excellency Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Governor of Enugu State); Barr. Peter Mba (the Governor- elect of Enugu State); Dr. Placid Njoku (the Deputy Governor of Imo State) represented the Governor of Imo State – Senator Hope Uzodimma); the Ebonyi State Secretary to the State Government represented the Governor of Ebonyi State – His Excellency David Umahi); and Prof Pat Utomi (Chairman Board of Trustees of Nzuko Umunna). The Special Guests of Honour were Senator Shehu Sani, Engineer Isaac Balami, Dr. Umar Tanko Yakasai (represented Alhaji Tanko Yakasai), and Iba Gani Adams – the Are Onakakanfo of Yoruba land was represented by Otunba Fafowora. The Royal Fathers that attended include the following: HRM. (Amb) Igwe Lawrence Agubuzu (Chairman, South East Council of Traditional Rulers); HRM. Oba Gabriel Ayodele Adejuwon CFR (Onisan of Isan Ekiti Kingdom, Chairman Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers); HRM. Eze Samuel Agunwa Ohiri (Obi of Obi-Orodo, South East Coordinator, National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria; and Snr High Chief Adegbonmir represented the Deji of Akure. The religious leaders that attended include Archbishop Chibuzo Opoko (Secretary, Joint Body of South East Religious/Traditional Leaders and Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia), Bishop Dr. Sunday Onuoha(President Vision Africa), and Rt. Rev. Dr. Christian Onyia (Anglican Diocese of Nike Enugu State). Others include representatives of Association of Igbo Town Unions, Society of Igbo Professionals, and Nkata Ndi Iyom Igbo amongst others. The conference was attended by leaders of all ethnic nationalities in Nigeria. Participants at the Handshake Across Nigeria Conference 2 unanimously agreed to issues raised at the conference and adopted the communiqué as a working document.
1. HANDSHAKE CONFERENCE CALLS ON THE PRESIDENT TO RELEASE MAZI NNAMDI KANU
Aware of the powers bestowed on the President by the virtue of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the conference calls on the President to direct the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation(AGF)) to enter a nolle prosequi and unconditionally release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from unlawful incarceration at the DSS cell.
2. HANDSHAKE CONFERENCE RESOLVES TO CONTINUE THE BRIDGE BUILDING PROJECT
Aware of the tremendous impact the previous handshakes and this present conference had on the leaders and people of all ethnic nationalities, mindful of the need to deepen the conversation of building a new Nigeria among Nigerians, the Handshake Conference resolves that more Handshake Conferences shall be organized and equally resolved that the Handshake Conference be moved to other parts of the nation as conference 1 and 2 were done in Lagos and Enugu respectively.
3. HANDSHAKE CONFERENCE CALLS FOR EQUAL CITIZENS RIGHT
The Handshake conference notes with dismay the glaring presence of inequality, lack of equal participation, imbalance in citizen’s right and right to aspire and achieve lofty dreams. The Handshake conference demands for a Nigeria where every citizen must be granted equal right and justice.
4. HANDSHAKE CONFERENCE INSISTS THAT FOR NIGERIA TO BE A WORKING DEMOCRACY THAT EQUITY, FAIRNESS AND JUSTICE MUST BE HER BEDROCK
The Handshake Conference observed the lopsidedness in dispensation of justice, equity and fairness. Therefore, the conference insists that for Nigeria to practice the true sense of democracy, the country must operate the true tenets of democracy and abhor tribalism, nepotism, and the likes.
5. HANDSHAKE CONFERENCE RESOLVES THAT A REPLICA OF NZUKO UMUNNA IN ALL ETHNIC NATIONALITIES IS VITAL AND CALLS FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF NZUKO UMUNNA MOVEMENT
Cognizance of the various heavylifting projects and interventions by Nzuko Umunna, initiators of the Handshake Project and a reputable think tank group, and in the spirit of peer review mechanism, the Handshake Conference encouraged all ethnic nationalities to setup a replica of Nzuko Umunna in other zones of the country to help foster National Unity, cohesion and inter ethnic engagement.
6. NZUKO UMUNNA IS HAPPY TO INAUGURATE HER NEW LEADERSHIP
Propelled to continue the mandate of bridge building and providing leadership in difficult times, Nzuko Umunna is excited about her new leadership being piloted by Prof. Chinedu Nebo, a Former Vice Chancellor of University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) and ex Honourable Minister of Power. Nzuko Umunna wishes him and his team a successful tenure.
7. THE NU PRESIDENT SEEKS SOUTH EAST INTEGRATION AND NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP
With regards to the urgency and importance of the South East Integration and national partnership, the new President of Nzuko Umunna declares that moving forward, South East integration and sustaining of national partnership through Handshake will be the major focus of his tenure.
8. HANDSHAKE CONFERENCE THANKS THE ENUGU STATE GOVERNMENT AND GOVERNOR RT. HON. IFEANYI UGWUANYI
The Handshake Conference conveys their deepest sense of gratitude and appreciation to His Excellency Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for being hospitable and for hosting the Handshake Conference.
9. HANDSHAKE CONFERENCE GREETS SOUTHEAST GOVERNORS
Handshake Conference acknowledges the role and support the South East Governors extended to the Handshake Conference particularly the Host Governor Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Governors of Imo State and Ebonyi State for all forms of support, and also thanking Governors of Anambra and Abia State in principle.
10. HANDSHAKE CONFERENCE THANKS ALL
Finally, Handshake Conference thanks all Royal Fathers, Special Guests, Youths, Students, Women groups, leaders of all ethnic nationalities and the media for honouring the invitation and participating actively in the Handshake Across Nigeria Conference 2.
Prof. Chinedu Nebo Dr. Uju Agomoh