Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has condemned a statement by to the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, in reaction to a recent press interview in which he advised Ndigbo against placing all their political eggs in one basket.
“I am only practicing what the late leader of Ndigbo, Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu taught us,” he said, warning the “new” MASSOB leadership “to show little respect to the elders who have immensely contributed and continues to contribute to the wellbeing of the South-East region”.
A statement on Sunday by his Special Assistant on Media, Nwachukwu Obidiwe, described Ngige as a consummate Igbo leader who would never disparage the Igbo or work against their interest.
It reads: “With his sterling pedigree as former President General of Aka-Ikenga for eight years, member of Ohaneze Strategic Committee and member, Imeobi Ohaneze, Ngige only advised our people to rise above the prevailing self-pity, awaken the resilient spirit for which Igbos are known and quickly re-strategise as other geo-political zones in the country are currently doing.”
“I wish to put on record that my position is exactly the same position our late leader, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu took in 1982 when he left the Igbo dominated NPP to join the NPN.
“Ikemba reasoned that while Igbos give support to Zik’s NPP, there was also the wisdom in spreading our political net to the waters of the ruling party. Ikemba did so to ensure that Ndigbo was not all boxed into a regional party or enclave which can disconnect or limit their participation in the nation’s apex political conclave.
“If Ojukwu thought that doing otherwise was myopic in 1982, why is a section of the Igbo crucifying Ngige for preaching and practicing the wise counsel of our eternal leader, Ikemba,” the statement quipped.
“It is therefore clear that the ‘new’ leadership of MASSOB needs a clearer and undistorted interpretation of the truth in my position, which is that it is politically unwise for us to repeat in future elections, the 2015 presidential election voting pattern where all our eggs were dumped in one basket; the basket failed and the eggs all broken.
“I wish to further add that there is enough opportunity for the Igbos to make up whatever perceived loss it currently encounters, but our leaders need to shun the creeping political narrowness and play politics more astutely.
“What matters most is not how “big” the positions we occupy are, rather, what we are able to achieve for the Igbo with what we occupy.
“Today, work is on-going on all the major federal roads in the South East; Enugu- Onitsha, Enugu- Umuahia-Abia-Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt -Owerri, Oba-Nnewi– Arondizuogu- Okigwe, to mention a few while Julius Berger has been mobilised to the tune of N6 Billion for the 2nd River Niger Bridge. There is also the Benin-Onitsha rail line, with a separate bridge across the Niger, which was not originally in the Jonathan-PDP coastal rail master plan.”
The statement added that this could not be achieved with all the so called “big” positions (SGF, Deputy Senate President and Speaker, Ministers of Finance, Health, Aviation, National Chairman of ruling party, Head of army and police etc.) that Ndigbo occupied under the Jonathan administration for six years but that the APC government was doing so in just one budget cycle; that is, between 2016 – May 2017, “knowing full well that 2015 budget was Jonathan’s.”
The statement reminded the “new” MASSOB leadership that Ngige as Governor of Anambra State was the only governor in the zone who gave MASSOB full protection against harassment by the security agencies because of their non-violent approach to struggle.
“I did not only protect MASOB from undue harassment by security agencies, I sent them food from the state treasury and employed its members in the formidable Anambra Vigilante Service. This was to give stability to the security architecture of the state. The founder of MASSOB, Chief Ralph Uwazurike is alive and can testify to this.”