political leaders have historically been more inclined to serve
the interests of the Nigerian nation often at the expense of those
of Ndigbo. This philosophical orientation was the major reason why
the most eminent of Igbo politicians, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, unceremoniously
absconded from Biafra in the heat of the Civil War to support the
effort of the Federal troops to scuttle the secessionist struggle.
Zik and Dr. Alex Ekwueme both attained high political offices at
the national level but many still feel that their tenures were devoted
more to Nigerian nationalism than for the advancement of special
interests of Ndigbo.
of the unique cultural heritage of Ndigbo, it would be unrealistic
to expect that our collective interests will be best articulated
by a group of select elites or chieftains as are the practices in
the North and West. The less-than-adequate role that the Ohaneze
Ndigbo has played toward filling a leadership void for Igbos is
self evident. There are no clear-cut criteria for belonging to the
Ohaneze–Ndigbo and it appears that anyone can become its mouthpiece
as situations warrant.
unacceptable leadership structure has very serious consequences
that are detrimental to overall interests of Ndigbo. Even if the
Ohaneze shall continue to provide the forum for articulating interests
of Ndigbo, there ought to be a clear delineation of its make up,
leadership structure and most importantly, a clearly defined and
understood set of agenda that will act as a road map to guide everyone
who represents Igbo interests. There should also be a code of conduct
that binds the members of Ohaneze and all others who have been given
the responsibility to represent Ndigbo at the local, state or regional
and national levels of government.
There ought to be a conscious effort to include youthful elements
within the policy-making structure of Ndigbo in order to ensure
continuity when the elder members retire or become incapacitated.
Women should be given a voice in Ohaneze for political reasons.