‘Reinventing the Political Consciousness of the South East’-Press Conference of the South East Political Summit (SEPS)
Gentlemen of the press, we heartily welcome you all to this world press conference. It has become auspicious and imperative for us at the platform of the South-East Political Summit(SEPS) to address you at this momentuous and critical period of our history.
Although the concept of ‘South-East’ was a grand design to break-up the Igbo nation, make us landlocked and deny us economic respiration from the sea, we use it here without forgetting that Ndigbo are in the Middle Belt as well as in the South-South.
Every search for solution begins with a single step and from a single spot. So we begin from the South-East. South-East is the heart of the habitation of Ndigbo, a global race that thas has been classified as one of the world’s 10 great tribes. We are disturbed by the state of this people that our late sister, Professor Catherine Acholonu, in her locus classicus, THEY LIVED BEFORE ADAM; PRE-HISTORY OF THE IGBOS, THE NEVER-BEEN-RULED, argues gave birth to all known world civilizations.
There is an enormous degree of burden placed on our shoulders to chart a new course for our people so that we can remove the curse caused by political lethargy and it’s attendant socio-economic downturn of our society.
There is a yawning vacuum that needs urgent attention, to be filled by alternative statesmen who have the interest of our people at heart, to rescue our political space from the doldrums of political somnabulism.
Why is the homeland of the first indigenous Governor General, President of Nigeria and the man who inspired nationalist agitations in Africa (the great Zik of Africa) in this sorry state?
What happened to a people that gave Nigeria her first indigeneous military general(Aguiyi-Ironsi)?
What is happening to education among the people that gave Nigeria her first indigeneous Vice-Chancellor (K.O.Dike), first indigeneous Ph.D(Adiele Afigbo) and the Father of African Literature (Chinualumuogu Achebe)? What is wrong with the economy of a people that produced Africa’s first millionaire and the man whose Rolls Royce was borrowed by Nigeria to drive Queen Elizabeth 2 during her on a state visit in February, 1956 (Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu)? What is now wrong with the people who gave the world the Father of the Internet (Philip Emeagwali)?
How can the place that was the fastest growing economy in the 1960s under M.I.Okpara be in such developmental quandary? Where are the Nwafor Orizus, Alvan Ikokus, K.O.Mbadiwes, Akanu Ibiams, Ofia Nwalis, Mbonu Ojikes, Z.C.Obis, Sam Mbakwes, C.C.Onohs, Oyibo Odinammadus, etc of South-East politics?
Why have we continually remained the underdogs despite having produced the Margaret Ekpos, the Dora Akunyilis, the Stella Oduas, the Okonjo-Iwealas, the Ndi Okereke-Onyiukes, the Chimamanda Adichies and the Onyeka Onwenus?
What has happened to the greatness foreseen by the Eze Kanu Ojis, Igwe Charles Abangwus, Igwe Edward Nnajis, Igwe John Nwodos, and other great royalties of our people?
These are the people who produced the first president of Liberia, and the current president of Gabon.
The apathy, cultural surrender and political ignorance that has ravaged our territory and reduced us to mere spectators in the political struggle of the past 20 years is the reason why we have decided to take the bulls by the proverbial horns. We have decided that it is time to sensitize, mobilize and conscientize our people to rise up and fully occupy our political space. We are not a political party. It is not just another political presure group! It is rather, a mass movement geared towards re-inventing political consciousness in the South-East.
Our goal is to ensure that democratic decision-making returns to our people. We desire that men and women of integrity, sincerity, honesty and sacrifice return to the political drivers’ seats again.
We are aware that pristine Igbo society operated the best democracy the world ever knew. In those days when the people gather under the big trees or the town squares to deliberate, families and clans, age grades and elders pick the best, the most-trusted and the virtuous to represent them. We are no longer going to have leaders who would tell the people they are supposed to serve that things are hard, yet they live in opulence and splendor. We are searching for leaders like Michael Okpara and Akanu Ibiam, whose estates, companies, hotels, outlandish houses we cannot see today among the people. They were selfless, they lived for the people.
Ndigbo need to be told that 33 years ago, in 1985 when Okpara died, his body was kept in the morgue so that a bungalow could be erected at his place before his burial. Although we should honour our leaders while they are alive, Okpara is an example of selfless service.
Compare this with the kleptomania of the current crop of leaders and you would agree with us that this re-invention of political consciousness is timely. We already have tens of thousands of members waiting in every village, every town and local government area in the South-East who share our goals and who are worried by the political ignorance exhibited by our people. They are determined to embark on this historical mission to free our people from this self-imposed bondage.
According to Lin Quan Yu, father of modern Singapore, ‘the basic principle for social transformation is a merit-based society’. We can no longer sacrifice merit on the altar of political parasitism, sychophancy and rapacious politicking. George Washington, the 1st President of the United States of America once said that ‘worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble’.
Our political class have borrowed trouble with their words, body language and action. They should be worried now that the people want to take back their power. However, they have an option;THEY EITHER REPENT AND JOIN THE SEPS TRAIN AS IT MOVES TO THE FREEDOM STATION OR RISK BEING RETIRED INGLORIOUSLY WITH THE PERMANENT VOTERS CARD (PVC), WHICH IS DEADLIER THAN AN AK 47!
South-East must be administered by those chosen by the people and not by anti-people politicians who play agency roles for forces outside our political space. Our State, Local Government and Ward coordinators are men and women who have waited for platforms such as ours.
They understand the urgency and the importance of the task at hand. Those who want to lead us must be people of proven integrity, men and women for who politics is not merchandise. Any party that fields a candidate that has credibility problem, or that has a past with can of worms would have itself to blame at the polls because we have resolved to take our destiny in our hands. We believe that sovereignty belongs to the people and our members would mobilize the people to take back power from the usurpers.
We call upon you all brothers and sisters to come with us.
You artisan, you trader, business man and woman, professional, captain of industry, religious leader, traditional institution, politician and student, we call upon you to be part of this great journey.
The die is cast. Welcome on board the electric train called South East Political Summit. See you at the freedom station where the train will finally stop!
Thank you and God bless you.
Eberechukwu AnigboguDirector Anigbogu-Leader
ThankGod Ofoelue – Head of Media