The World Igbo Summit was established in 2015, with the aim of bringing together Igbo leaders, elders, great minds, intellectuals, critical stakeholders, business moguls and political leaders yearly to brainstorm on issues bothering the zone, with a view to finding solutions.
The summit’s objective is to foster cohesion among Igbo leaders to ensure effective coordination and responsiveness to the yearnings of Ndigbo.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of the 6th edition of the summit, which was held recently at Gregory University Uturu, the Director General of World Igbo Summit Group (WISG), Dr. Ifedi Okwenna said, “the summit has become a platform to develop the strategic formula for engagement of each segment of the Nigerian society, to achieve our agenda going forward, based on mutual trust, respect, and shared understanding”.
According to Dr. Okwenna the year 2020 has been a very challenging one as Nigeria’s socio- political and economic life was negatively impacted by the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, ENDSARS campaign, security challenges, which have made resetting Nigeria inevitable.
“As Ndigbo, we cannot be averse to this inevitable reality. Indeed considering our current determined quest for a president of Igbo extraction, we should use this opportunity to show strong leadership in reshaping and resetting the nation and in removing all obstacles and unjust structures that enthrone injustice, inequality, lopsidedness and maladministration in Nigeria”.
He concluded by saying, “Appreciating the current challenges faced by the country, and the need for Ndigbo to exploit the opportunities it presents, makes the THEME of the 6th World Igbo Summit very apt; Enduring Future for Ndigbo: Expectations and Challenges”.
Delivering the Keynote address titled; Wither the Efforts of our Heroes Past, Ndigbo Past, Present and Future, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, commended Organisers of the Summit for their effort in gathering Igbo leaders and elders to discuss important issues, aimed at promoting better understanding for the common good. “I specially thank the founder of Gregory University Uturu, Prof Gregory Ibe, for the sacrifice of steering the ship of sustaining this platform inspite of the COVID-19 pandemic; it shows the resilience of Ndigbo”.
The minister maintained “whatever interest Ndigbo have in our dear nation, be it now or in future, is realizable and achievable, provided we are united in the quest and the matter properly discussed, so as to get a buy-in from as many people as possible”.
Speaking further, Dr Onu called on politicians from the South East to work hard to ensure that the political parties they belong to considers the political aspiration of their people, “the two major political parties should take decisions with respect to satisfying the genuine interest of the people of the South East”. He thereby advised Ndigbo, to extend handshakes across the Niger, stressing, “this handshake will be in three places: in the south, with our immediate neighbors, in the west, with our western brothers, and in the north, with our northern brothers”.
In a lecture titled; Identifying the Political Interest of The Igbos of South East Geo- Political Zone in Nigeria and Strategies for its Actualization, former Senate President and Secretary to Government of Nigeria, Chief Ayim Pius Ayim, argued that though the geo-political arrangement has not found legal backing, it has been a key element in the allocation of political and developmental benefits, “the rotation of prime positions among geo-political zones has no doubt become a common practice such that, its breach generates political discontent.
The point to note is that a political benefit accruing to any geo-political zone cannot be satisfied by appointing any person outside of that geo-political zone irrespective of commonality of language or culture, i.e. political office zoned to the south east does not extend to Igbos from a zone outside the south east political zone”.
Chief Ayim stressed that Igbos of the South East geo-political zone are in continuous search of a system or polity that will guarantee and secure their social, political and economic interest based on equality of citizenship, equity and justice.
“It is, therefore, my position that those who posit restructuring have a point but should work harder to secure national consensus to make it possible. Also those who advocate for president of Nigeria from South East extraction should diligently and boldly pursue it for the time has come, and it is now”.
Correspondents report that the opening ceremony of the 6th World Igbo Summit witnessed attendance by many distinguished Igbo personalities, including the former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, former Governor of old Imo state, Sen.Ike Nwachukwu, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo and former Nigerian Ambassador to Israel and USA, Prof George Obiozor.
A communique is expected at the end of the summit.