The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, has extolled virtue of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigeria’s first president, who according to him, fought for the nation’s unity, while encouraging Ndigbo to emulate the patriot by championing peace in all their endeavours.
The monarch made the appeal at the third Igbo Nsukka United Front and Zik Annual Merit Award in Abuja, with the theme: “Nigeria of our dreams: Possibilities, challenges and realities.”
Represented by Alhaji Usman Abdullahi, the Sultan pleaded: “I call on my Igbo brothers and sisters, home and abroad, to emulate the good deeds of our father. He never fought for only the eastern part of the country, but he was with everyone.”
Chairman of the Council of Elders, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, on his part, urged ethnic groups clamouring for secession to have a rethink, noting that the country’s unity remained non-negotiable.
He, however, called on political leaders to be all-inclusive in their decision-making
He stated: “Secession is never an option. Everybody is thinking of being large or big. Nigeria today is a large area of about 200 million people. Why do you want to break it and go to a smaller place? So, I think that all these people talking about secession should please think about it.”
Also speaking, Governor Babagana Umar Zulum of Borno state, represented by the Commissioner for Environment, Yerima Saleh, observed: “Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was not only Zik of Nigeria, but was also Zik of Africa, who was regarded as the chief inspirer of the young nationalists on the continent, where the first President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, said in his autobiography that Zik inspired him.”
Bemoaning the state of the nation, the wife of the late nationalist, Uche Azikiwe, called on political leaders to ensure that the unity of the country was preserved for the labour of past heroes not be in vain.
Recounting historical events and efforts put in place to achieve independence, the keynote speaker, Mainasara Kogo Umar, submitted: “At that time, Nigeria was the glaring and shining talent of the international world.
“As 2023 approaches, we should imbibe that spirit of common brotherhood and eschew violence. We should think of Nigeria as a second treasure given to us by God to manage, bearing in mind that if Nigeria gets it right, Africa and the entire black world stand to be proud.”
IN another development, constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), yesterday, canvassed the unconditional release of detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, for peace to return to the South East ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The public notary, who extolled Azikiwe for his doggedness, spoke at the 11th Zik Lecture Series themed: “Nigeria in the throes of insecurity towards 2023: Any panacea,” which was held in Awka, Anambra State.
He advised the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, to enter a nolle prosecui (no case entry) for Kanu to be unconditionally freed.
Ozekhome feared a possible rise in tension and deaths if proactive measures are not taken by the government.
He observed that agitations for self-determination were not criminal, as the United Nations Conventions and African Peoples and Human Rights Charter and other protocols give back to them.