Oluwo Advises Tinubu On Handling Ndigbo

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In an apparent volte-face, while advising Nigeria’s President-elect, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on how to address the issues of the Igbo people in the country, the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdurosheed Akanbi, may have retreated from his former trenchant position against Ndigbo.

The traditional ruler of Iwo, Osun State, South-West Nigeria, had early last year thrown the system in a flux when he declared that he cannot trust any South-Easterner (Igbo) to be the President of Nigeria.

In glaring ethnic partisanship, the Oluwo had submitted that “no Nigerian will feel secured in the hands of a leader, whose ethnic attachment deprived other Nigerians their rights”.

In the statement by Akanbi, through his Chief Press Secretary, Alli Ibraheem, the traditional ruler posited that “the failure of the South Easterners to change their approach will amount to chasing shadow on their political journey of producing Nigeria’s President.

“The civil war wounds meted on south easterners is a weak factor to institutionalise policies capable of tearing the nation apart. I have people from across Nigeria in Iwo, including the Southeasterners. They do not only have their businesses, but also built their houses and own farmlands. Such is not only peculiar to Iwo, but to other parts of the country, except the Southeast. A Nigerian in Nigeria should be able to own land anywhere.

“The style by the Southeasterners is barbaric. Such is not only detrimental to their economic viability but also to their political recognition. As a traditional ruler, I can’t trust any Southeasterner as my President.”

The Oluwo added: “You can’t be a leader on sectional interest. With such unsophisticated, primitive and uncivilised thinking, no Nigerian from other zones will vote a south easterner as their President.”

However, in the face of strong criticism from various quarters, notably the apex pan-Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, against his fallacious hateful statement against the Igbo, the Oluwo had released another statement that at best, according to keen analysts, offered watery reconciliatory defence against the former.

That follow-up statement by Akanbi, also issued through his Chief Press Secretary, Alli Ibraheem, read in part: “Oluwo remains one of the leading monarchs canvassing for a united Nigeria, equity and justice, most especially for the Igbo tribe because I myself has suffered marginalization. I’ve invested heavily on sustaining Nigeria’s unity and will continue doing so. I expected a swift eradication of the sit-at-home order by the Eastern Security Network (ESN) and the IPOB, which I trust their cooperation with stakeholders and Ohanaeze Ndigbo can curb. I’ve reached out to respected monarchs from the East, most especially the highly respected Obi of Onitsha and Igwe Agubuzuo of Enugu.

“The demarcated restriction is a self inflicted punishment in a united state. No monarch feels the pain of the Igbos like I do. The Ohanaeze Ndigbo should read more about my activities before jumping on the media. My message is to their advantage should they see it as such.”

Perhaps, seeking to further placate the Igbo, the Oluwo in his latest statement counselled Tinubu to call a special summit to address the tensions produced by the just-concluded General Elections.

In a statement personally signed by him, the monarch regretted that some Igbos leaders’ comments about the 2023 General Elections had allegedly exacerbated the grief of the Igbo.

Akanbi stated: “The spirit of brotherhood should be seen and experienced. Nigerians are like different types of water. The colour of the kegs represents our language, although the content remains unchanged. We must respect the content regardless of colour.

“The attitude and utterances of some Igbos indicated that the wounds and damages inflicted by the Nigerian Civil War from July 1967 to January 15, 1970, were still fresh.” The Igbos suffered the greatest loss of human life and property. They are our siblings. The wound inflicted by the conflict is harmful to Nigeria’s unity.

“I know Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the President-Elect, to be a wise leader. He should prioritize Nigeria’s unity by reintegrating Igbos to further solidify Nigeria’s unity. The president-elect must contact them. We are all one spirit trapped in a body.”

The monarch encouraged Tinubu to work towards a united nation so that the citizenry could flourish faster as a whole.

He stated that a national dialogue will promote unity and healing for the country.

He urged Nigerians to learn from their mistakes, forgive, and move on.

The Oluwo added: “As the nation’s father, I patronise everyone. I am the first traditional ruler in Nigeria to purchase an Innoson automobile built in Nigeria. Let us involve Igbo leaders, particularly traditional chiefs. The dialogue can be extended to IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra) leader Nnamdi Kanu. It is always preferable for all of us to jaw jaw than than war war. I’m hopeful that Ohaneze Indigbo (sic) leaders will pay attention. To confront the hate in the minds of some Igbos, a civil manner should be used. I am the Oluwo of Iwoland, but to all Igbos, I am also an Igwe, Obi, and Eze in Yorubaland. We consider Igbos to be our brothers and sisters.

“I will always be available to provide advice to this government. And I would always be eager and delighted to serve on any committee aimed at strengthening Nigeria’s unity. I pray for the President-elect’s successful tenure in office.”

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