Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Elder statesman and former Minister of Finance, Dr Kalu Idika Kalu, has expressed deep worry over the absence of “a strong voice” to speak for Ndigbo.
The former presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, who made the lamentation while delivering the keynote speech at the Ikengaonline monthly town-hall meeting, said the ugly development was responsible for the relegation of Ndigbo to the background as though they were second citizens which they are not.
“Ndigbo have the worst set of leadership. We need a formidable leadership instead of complaining all the time. If we develop and stand on our feet, we may not need to be complaining to anybody.
“Ndigbo should get a leadership that would be able to speak for them,” he declared.
The elder statesman regretted that Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the political leaders in Igboland, especially the South-East Governors, had failed to provide the needed leadership to command the respect and loyalty of Ndigbo, hence the seemingly rudderless leadership in Igboland.
He further regretted that non-state actors were taking undue advantage of the leadership vacuum in the zone to cause confusion.
Dr Kalu explained that the search for a united voice for Ndigbo informed the establishment of Ala-Igbo Development Foundation, ADF, about 10 years ago, but noted with concern that the organisation had not achieved its aims and objectives.
The former World Bank Consultant who played a key role in the establishment of ADF, explained that the idea behind the organisation was to have an umbrella body that should act as both a voice and a think-tank for the development of Igboland.
According to him, ADF is designed to command the respect and loyalty of all Igbos home and abroad including the political class.
He said the body should provide direction and the road map for South-East regional development and industrialisation of Igbo land in general.
Dr Kalu who said Ndigbo had no apologies to live in any part of Nigeria, regretted that currently there is no strong voice speaking for the race against the myriad of persecutions and unprovoked attacks they face in different parts of the country.
“I was involved in the formation of ADF. We feel it can do much more so that by this time Ala Igbo can be strong enough to stand.”
He stressed that Igbo political leaders should be able to develop the South-East such that the zone would not need to be depending on monthly allocations from Abuja to survive.
The former Minister tasked political leadership of the zone on infrastructural development and development frame work for Ala Igbo to run and be reckoned with.