Today it is an attack on a performing governor liked by his people, yesteryears it was something else unpatriotic to Ndigbo. I am surprised that Anyim Pius Anyim, GCON a distinguished Igbo son could mete out public insult on His Excellency David Umahi, one of the best governors in Nigeria and pride of Ndigbo. Umahi is not only loved and admired by Ebonyians but also Igbos at home and in the Diaspora. He is one of the talks of every Nigerian. His top-notch infrastructural development of Ebonyi State is outstanding and making rounds in the news all over the country.
We all have the right to freedom of speech and association provided they are not geared towards misinformation and breach of peace. Igbo leaders should learn how to serve the interest of their people and show respect to well constituted authority and eschew the ‘tear him down, pull him down syndrome’. The public conduct of leaders who are held in high esteem, should be reflective of what the followership should emulate . Peaceful dialogue and resolution is the best way and not public laundry of Igbo linen.
Most Igbo politicians at the federal level care less for the welfare of their constituents and Ndigbo in general. It is not just external forces that are killing “Igbo Pride” but also Igbos at the helm of affairs in both state and federal levels.
I am by no means holding the brief for Umahi. He is apprised of daily security and intelligence briefings and reports as Executive Governor of Ebonyi State. His reliance on such briefings/reports in securing the state does not make him a bad or vindictive governor. He cannot destroy the enviable state he built rather as Chief Security Officer of the state his duty is protection of lives and properties.
Selfishness of Igbo politicians:
I will not hesitate to commend Igbo politicians that pursue and protect the collective interests of Ndigbo in coexistence with others in Nigeria. Most Igbo politicians are self-centered, only pursuing their personal interest and those of close relatives and friends. Umahi has done well and is the pride of Ebonyians and Ndigbo. Anyim is a distinguished Igbo son but I find it very difficult where to place him amongst Igbo politicians. Anyim as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), skipped an opportunity to bring national and international pride in the area of artistic excellence to Ndigbo.
As a poet, intellectual, entrepreneur and song composer based in the United States of America, I was one of those that contested under Nigeria in the 2003 African Union anthem competition. I overwhelmingly came in first but recognized and paid the third prize. It is instructive to note that in the event, there were no first or second prize winners announced till date for that competition.
Word in the grapevine had it that agents and close associates to the political leadership in Nigeria at that time latched on to my Biafran heritage and end of war intellectual musical achievement to deprive me major international recognition. They felt it was politically incorrect or sensitive to allow an Igbo to be awarded a first prize in that competition. In other words, I was the true winner but the Nigerian state at the time got involved in the decision to skirt the honour.
As SGF in 2012, Senator Anyim was given a letter (petition) by Ohanaeze Ndigbo for delivery to President Goodluck Jonathan in regards to this issue. This was after years of efforts to correct the injustice fell on deaf ears. It is said that Ohanaeze reportedly nominated Anyim for the exalted office of SGF and when an opportunity came for him to support recovery of an International recognition taken away from Ndigbo, the distinguished SGF was missing in action.
Traces to the office of the Presidency revealed that the Ohanaeze petition was never transmitted to the Presidency. It remained in the office of the SGF who never gave words to Ohanaeze about its delivery or non delivery.
Had this happened West or North of Nigeria, I am sure such a person bringing honour to the country would have been recognized and honoured. His or her ethnic nationality would not allow such honour to go with the wind of state sponsored subjugation or injustice. Ohanaeze did their best, it is Anyim either by commission or omission that truncated the Igbo Pride of one of them producing the best judged anthem in Africa.
Igbo marginalization and neglect are also the making of some of their leaders.
I hereby through this medium humbly request Anyim to return the Ohanaeze letter, the accompanying Encyclopedia of National Anthems (2nd Edition) that cited my winning song God Bless Africa in it and the two complimentary CDs either to me or Ohanaeze. I thank Anyim for the job well done or undone for Ndigbo and Nigeria. I apologize if I overlooked any achievement to Ndigbo and Nigeria that Anyim may have recorded. Charity they say begins at home and in my books, Umahi’s charity at home speaks and stands out nationally.
Chief Charles Okereke
Winner African Union Anthem Competition
Abia 2019 JMPP Guber Candidate