Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has praised the republican nature of Ndigbo which he said was again on display in the election of a renowned diplomat, Professor George Obiozor, to lead the prestigious apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
The Governor noted that with the election of the professor of international relations to pilot the affairs of their people, Ndigbo are sending a strong message to the rest of the country, and indeed the world, that they remain willing to find common grounds with any other group ready to reciprocate their gesture.
He said the only thing left for the erudite Professor Obiozor, a former Nigerian ambassador to Cyprus, Israel and the United States to do is to chart a progressive path for Ohanaeze which accommodates Nigeria’s diversity and democracy and he would find that all people of goodwill stand ready to cooperate with him.
Noting that charity begins at home, Bello explained that more important than any outside support is the support that the new Ohanaeze leadership will get from her own people. He therefore called on all Igbo sons and daughters to rally round their new leaders even as he promised to visit him physically soon in the spirit of true brotherliness.
Governor Bello, who said that the struggle to entrench democracy deeper into the fabric of Nigerian society is a team sport noted that Ndigbo remains one of the Most Valuable Players (MVP) on the field. He also repeated his famous quote, ‘Ndigbo needs Nigeria as much as Nigeria needs Ndigbo’.
Governor Yahaya Bello pledged the support of his administration for the new Ohanaeze Ndigbo leadership pointing out that Kogi State shares many similarities with Ndigbo including contiguous territories, language and culture. The State helmsman also pointed out that a significant population of Ndigbo live and do business across Kogi State, with one of them, Moses Okezie-Okafor from Ukpor, Nnewi South LGA of Anambra State occupying a seat in the Kogi State Executive Council over which he presides.
‘Kogi State has benefited from her relationship with the peace-loving and mercantile Igbo nation and has built a symbiosis with them over the centuries which we will like to expand in the days and years ahead in partnership with Prof. Obiozor and his team’, he said.
Governor Yahaya Bello therefore advised the new Ohanaeze leader and a former Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, NIIA, to invest his considerable experience and contacts, both within and outside Nigeria, to make sure Igboland in particular and Nigeria in general enjoy unity, peace and progress during his tenure.
The Kogi State Governor saluted the outgoing President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief John Nwodo, for a successful tenure even as he wished the incoming President-General and all the other new executives of Ohanaeze Ndigbo a productive time in office.