(Being a Declaration by a Global Emergency Assembly of Umuada Igbo, December 10, 2022 regarding the Future of the Igbo in the Distressed Federation of Nigeria).
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, Dear Compatriots.
(i) As the damaged and defective Federation of Nigeria continues in what appears to be its death throes and as Igboland finds itself in a downward spin into chaos and anarchy, Umuada Igbo have watched in horror and disbelief, the state of things in Igboland, especially the existential threats and the general breakdown of the fabrics of the Igbo Society.
(ii) Sadly, the Institutions that ought to have been in the forefront of searching for solutions to the rapid degeneration of our Homeland seem to have all caved in. The men upon whom the Igbo Society should have been relying for direction, seem totally overwhelmed by Nigeria. The Youth who zealously plunged into the arena with what they thought was a remedy that they first called “Biafra Actualization” and subsequently “Biafra Restoration”, turned out to be like quenching a fire with petrol instead of water. Thus, they gavethe Nigerian State what seems a perfect excuse to resume its unfinished genocidal push of 1970 in Igboland, hence the chaos and bloodletting now reigning over a land that abhors the spilling of blood. Killing, Maiming, Kidnapping, Widespread Idolatry and Money Ritual Practices of alarming proportions haveerupted amongst the Igbo younger generation.
(iii) Beyond the bloodletting, the ongoing externally-engineered destruction of Igboland seem to target particularly the very fabrics that held the Igbo Society together and so all
known vices and abominations are being orchestrated and openly rewarded. All shades of Igbo Renegades who take pride in doing the bidding of the Caliphate are being nurtured, empowered and promoted by Nigeria as “Igbo Leaders” while the honest and diligent amongst our men and women are being deliberately incapacitated, impoverished and humiliated.
(iv) Igboland is now heading towards desolation as fear pervades the atmosphere. Businesses and livelihoods are being destroyed especially on account of the violent enforcement of an ill-conceived Sit-At-Home by the “Biafra Restoration” group. Thus while Nigeria’s post-war chokehold in Igboland has already forced our most skilled professionals and skilled people into near-permanent exile overseas, the heroic determination of those who remained in the Homeland to continue to hold the fort, is being frustrated massively by this self-inflicted gross insecurity, threatening to force even more of our people to flee into economic exile in other parts of Nigeria.
(v) These developments are frightening reminders of the Pogroms of 1966 and the Genocidal War that followed between 1967 and 1970 which left 3.5 Million of our kith and kin dead; the Starvation Policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria which resulted in the severe malnutrition disease called Kwashiorkor that killed over two million Biafran children; the post-war Asset Seizure and Confiscation Policy of the Federal Government levied against the Igbo, and via the so-called ‘Abandoned Property’ Decree aimed at castrating the Igbo Economically; the Indigenization Decrees of the mid- 1970s executed at a time and in a manner that locked the Igbo out of the Formal Sector of the Nigeria economy. To date, none of these atrocities against the Igbo by the Nigerian State has been acknowledged by Nigeria and its collaborators especially Britain, much less redressed. Rather, as we have since found out through our search for a true solution, we now understand that the Unitary Constitution of Nigeria, imposed since 1979 is actually a Victory Charter to continue the War of 1967-1970, and to keep the Igbo in perpetual bondage in Nigeria. Just as was the case when the Federal Government’s Covid-19 Relief and Palliative distribution discriminated against Igbo people, plus the recent devastating floods that swept away lives and livelihoods across several communities, reminded the Igbo that Nigeria’s unfinished War business of 1970 is still being done in Igboland. In all these, Igbo women and children bear the brunt of the relentless wickedness of the Nigerian State.
(vi) It was against this background of extraordinary threatening circumstances that it became imperative for Umuada Igbo to invoke its sacred traditional powers of sanction and intervention, and step in decisively to arrest the situation, halt the engulfing dangers and help chart a Pathway out of the Existential Crisis the Igbo Nation is currently caught, at a time our Menfolk seem totally overwhelmed by the schemes of our enemies, we have risen to salvage our Homeland, just as our mothers did in 1929 when the British Colonial Marauders who invaded our Homeland had overwhelmed our Menfolk.
THE UNDERLYING CRISIS OF IGBO DIRECTION IN A RUDDERLESS NIGERIA.
Watching things go from bad to worse over the last few years and desiring to lead the search for a Redemption Pathway, Umuada Igbo decided to probe deeper into how things got so bad in Igboland, with a view to helping chart a Pathway out of what has clearly become an existential threat to the Igbo in Nigeria.
That probe revealed a huge underlying anomaly which can be summarized as the absence of consensus on the direction and pathway to Igbo future in the Nigerian Union. We found out that there is a cacophony of voices comparable only to the fabled Tower of Babel when the discussion is about the Igbo Direction and Pathway to a better future.
We also found out that there had been significant efforts in the past to build a consensus that will define the Pathway to Igbo Redemption and that those efforts had to navigate between two broad tendencies.
From our findings, the most elaborate of the efforts at building a Consensus for the Igbo Pathway to a safer and better future was the Three-Day Emergency Conclave of the Leaderships of Major Igbo Organizations, held August 10-12, 2018 in Enugu under the auspices of Ndigbo Consultative Assembly (NCA), which was chaired by Dr Arthur Nwankwo and which had in attendance the Leaderships of major Igbo Organizations, home and abroad (see Conclave Communique in Appendix).
Following widespread consultations, the above-mentioned Conclave had requested the Leadership of each of those Igbo Organizations to come forward with their own Propositions including the “HOW?”, by which the Igbo should Navigate its future in the failing and increasingly dangerous Nigeria. All the Organizations present took their turn to present their Propositions, and questions were asked regarding Modalities, Strategy and Roadmap.
We learned that as discussions progressed, compatible propositions from various Organizations began to come together around the public communications documents of three Organizations. These were:
(a) Ohanaeze’s Ekwueme Square Declaration of May 21, 2018 which outlined a process that required the National Assembly to pass an enabling Law to commence a Constitutional Conference that would feature a Constituent Assembly and produce an outcome that will be ratified by Referendum of the people, after which the National Assembly will repeal Act No.24 of 1999 (ieDecree 24 of 1999aka “the 1999 Constitution”).
(b) Alaigbo Development Foundation in its December 21, 2017 Memorandum titled: “THE FUTURE OF ALAIGBO & THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA” (ie the Green Book) that demands immediate Restructuring for Igbo Regional Autonomy or Igbo will opt out of Nigeria and establish an Independent Republic.
(c) The ALADIMMA EPISTLE 2012 by the Igbo Caucus of the Lower Niger Congress (LNC) which presented a Constitutional Reconstruction Proposition that can deliver a Federation, a Confederation or Units of Independent Sovereign States (Countries) depending on the outcome ofReferendums by Regional Blocs.
The common ground for all groups was the Rejection of the Unitary Constitution of Nigeria (1999) as the basis of the Nigerian Union.
At the end of their intensive deliberations, two main groups emerged namely:
(a) In the first broad category were those who felt that there is no future for the Igbo in a Nigeria that has proved so damaging and unworkable and therefore that the Igbo must find the earliest possible way of removing Igbo Nation completely from Nigeria. In this category we find the various Self-Determination groups in the greater eastern part of Nigeria including the various shades of the “Biafra Actualization” and “Biafra Restoration” agitations.
(b) The second broad category are those who accept that something is wrong with how Nigeria is structured but that the Igbo will fare better to remain in Nigeria (One-Nigeria). This camp is further divided into two between those who seek to install an Igbo man as President of Nigeria, (Igbo Presidency, they tag it) and those who propose that Restructuring of Nigeria will address what they describe as Igbo marginalization.
Guided by the fact of common ground for the wholesale cancellation of the 1999 Constitution and the need to put a timeframe to the Union Reconstruction option, the Conclave had resolved as follows:
“1. Given the fact that after more than 50 years of disputes, (since 1967) including a 30- month Genocidal War against the East, the Question of Appropriate Constitutional Arrangements for Nigeria has remained unresolved, the Conclave recommends that the well-known Constitutional Grievances of Nd’Igbo should now be referred to a General REFERENDUM of the People.
- Guided by the sad experiences of the monumental Constitutional Disputations in the First Republic between 1962-1965 which birthed the 1966 Military intervention in Nigeria’s Political Arena and the resultant collapse of the Nigerian Federation, the Conclave recommends the deferment of further National Elections in 2019 that will be premised upon the rejected 1999 Constitution and in place of Elections, the initiation of an orderly transition process that will take the entrapped Nationalities from the present precarious reality of imposition, to a stable negotiated future.
- To preserve Societal Order during the period required to execute the winding up of the rejected Constitutional Order to the institution of the successor-Constitutional Arrangements, the Conclave proposes the emplacement of a Transitioning Mechanism that maintains Nominal Governance.
DATED THIS 12TH DAY OF AUGUST 2018”
As Umuada made our research, it is significant to note that it is to the credit of the LNC that these Resolutions of the Igbo Leadership Conclave were also adopted by other Blocs in an Alliance of the South and Middle Belt called the NINAS Alliance as the core Propositions of both the FREEDOM PARK PROCLAMATION of December 11, 2018 and the CONSTITUTIONAL FORCE MAJEURE PROCLAMATION of December 16, 2020 that we now see being implemented countrywide, with significant international buy- in as demonstrated by Policy Actions of key stakeholder segments in the international circuit. (See link to both Proclamations at Appendix)
It was therefore most surprising to Umuada that with this clear consensus on the Redemption Pathway for the Igbo reached since 2018, the Igbo remain in disarray! We found out that this was even despite the involvement of Igbo leading lights including DimChukwuemekaOdumegwu-Ojukwu, Chief C.COnohand Rear AdmiralNdubuisi Kanu, amongst many others, in processes that culminated in the NINAS Constitutional Force Majeure of December 16, 2020 (see ALADIMMA Epistle 2012, and Notice to the Constitutional Force Majeure in Appendix), the Igbo seem to be groping in the dark on the efforts being made to resolve the Nigerian Union Dispute.
Upon closer scrutiny for why things are where they are now with the Igbo in Nigerian Union Debates and Dispute, Umuada found out that most of those canvassing one solution model or another outside the Resolutions of the aforementioned Igbo Conclave of 2018 did not have any answers or clear and concrete strategy for how what they are canvassing could be realized.
Umuada found out also that, except for a few brave men like Chief John Nnia Nwodo and Commodore Ebitu Ukiweboth who are Signatories to the NINAS Constitutional Force Majeure Proclamation, there is a great deal of external influence driving the cacophony in Igboland since it was mostly Made-in-One-Nigeria “Igbo Leaders” who now speak for the Igbo, whether it was in the political sphere (Governors and Legislators) or in the socio- cultural sphere (Ohanaeze and other Igbo socio-cultural groups). Same for the Church Leadership. Every group was aligned to one external interest or the other.
Another curious observation is that, of the aforementioned two broad Tendencies, the masses of our People seem to be overwhelmingly attracted to the untangling and extrication of Igboland from the chokehold of Unitary Nigeria as defined by the illicit 1999 Constitution, (ie our People want FREEDOM and SELF-DETERMINATION). While the political elite seem to be irrevocably committed to One-Nigeria and the allure of political power (Presidency of Nigeria) which they are convinced has become their turn to take but under the abominable and most unjust 1999 Constitution, a well-known forgery.
This sharp division between the FREEDOM aspiration of the Igbo populace and the Political POWER aspirations of the Igbo political elite, whilst presenting a challenge of lack of consensus on the one hand, also provided an opportunity on the other hand, for Umuada to narrow down its choice of Course of Action to two main parameters, namely :
(a) the Will of the People, and
(b) a Clear Plan for Achieving that Will.
By Providence, as we considered how best to proceed, the huge altercations that followed the recent Epistle of GovernorChukwumaSoludoof Anambra State, in which he dismissed Peter Obi’s 2023 presidential bid and recommended 2027 as the more appropriate time to commence the chase for the Igbo Presidency provided Umuada Igbo the landing gear for the choice it had to make. The November 30, 2022 Rejoinder by Tony Nnadi on behalf of the LNC titled: “Neither Peter ObI’s 2023 Presidential Pursuit Nor Chukwuma Soludo’s Prescription for a Post-2023 Timing for the Igbo Presidency Chase, Represents Igbo Political Priority at this Time” clearly established the fact that the Igbo political elite who seek political power under the 1999 Constitution are on a Mission opposed to the wishes and the SAFETY of their People, and this settled the argument for why Umuada Igbo will go with the Will of the People and their Safety from the spreading and deepening insecurity.
ACCORDINGLY, WE UMUADA IGBO DECLARE AS FOLLOWS:
(1) That in view of the Dangerous Existential Threats presently enveloping Igboland; and having consulted widely, Umuada Igbo is invoking forthwith, the Sacred Mandate and Powers of Sanction and Intervention, to step in and Lead the Search for a Viable Pathway for Igbo Redemption, and also to Lead the Charge through that Pathway, a Duty Imposed by Tradition on the Institution of Umuada when a Dangerous Situation Defies all other Solutions as is the case now in Igboland.
(2) That In the face of the self-evident total disconnect between the Igbo populace and Igbo political elite regarding the Pathway to Igbo Redemption; and in reckoning with the Consensus that was painstakingly generated in 2018 by the 3-Day Conclave of the Leaderships of Major Igbo Organizations at Enugu, Umuada has made a Determination that the Three-Point Resolution of that Conclave represents the current FREEDOM- FROM-BONDAGE aspirations of the Igbo populace as against the POLITICAL POWER aspirations of the Igbo political elite. Umuada therefore align ourselves completely with those Resolutions as referenced hereinbefore to the effect that Umuada will not support further National Elections in Nigeria under the Fraudulent 1999 Constitution.
(3) That in furtherance of the Decision to Lead the Search for and Charge through the Pathway to Igbo Redemption, Umuada Igbo aligns itself with, and adopts: (a)the ALADIMMA Epistle of 2012, (b) the Resolutions of the April 27, 2015 Solemn Assembly of the Peoples of the Lower Niger held in Port Harcourt, (c) the December 11, 2018 Freedom Park Proclamation and (d) the Five-Point Proposition of the December 16, Constitutional Force Majeure Proclamation of the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities
Alliance For Self-Determination, all attached herewith as Appendix, to the effect that Umuada will join the push for the initiation of an Immediate TRANSITIONING Arrangement in Nigeria instead of another round of Elections in 2023 under the 1999 Constitution which will only reinforce the bondage of the Igbo, no matter who becomes President.
In closing, we raise this alarm to you that the Homestead is on Fire. We call on all Umuada Igbo wherever they reside on the face of the earth to join the urgent but historical task of LEADING THE WAY out of Igbo Existential Crisis in Nigeria.
May the Mercy of God prevail in the affairs of Ndigbo in a Nigeria that destroys the lives of its people.
Dated this the 10th Day of December, 2022 Issued by Umuada Igbo Emergency Assembly. UMUADA IGBO.
These supporting documents mentioned in this Declaration can be found under the Archives tab of the Lower Niger Congress website at www.lowernigercongress.org
- The ALADIMMA Epistle 2012 (document #13)
- The Resolution of the Solemn Assembly of the Peoples of the Lower Niger 2015 (document #02)
- Igbo Conclave Communique August 2018 (document #20)
- Freedom Park Proclamation December 11, 2018 (document #16)
- Constitutional Force Majeure Proclamation Dec 16, 2020. (document #17)
- NINAS Interrogatories of Sept 26, 2022. (at the NINAS website www.ninasvoice.org, under the NEWS tab)
- Neither Peter ObI’s 2023 Presidential Pursuit Nor Chukwuma Soludo’s Prescription for a Post-2023 Timing for the Igbo Presidency Chase, Represents Igbo Political Priority at this Time (LNC website at www.lowernigercongress.org, under the News & Events tab)