It said the Igbo would rather use diplomacy as a tool for peace and conflict resolution.
The President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, stated this at the 2018 Igbo International Leadership and Good Governance Retreat held at Abagana, Anambra State.
The retreat was organised by the World Igbo Leadership Council and the World Igbo Information and Communication Network.
The event, which was third in the series, was attended by renowned Igbo scholars from Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers states.
The first retreat was hosted at Ibusa, Delta State by Prof. Pat Utomi in 2016, while the second was hosted by Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu in 2017 at Uburu in Ebonyi State.
Nwodo, who commended the organisers of the annual retreat, said though it ac not in doubt that Igbo were facing large scale marginalisation in Nigeria, the way to overcome it was not through fighting another war but by adopting peaceful means and dialogue.
While citing the issue of states and local governments’ creation in Nigeria in which he said the Igbo were shortchanged, Nwodo noted that such anomalies could be corrected through dialogue and making other Nigerians to see the need for equity and justice in the Nigerian project.
He said, “The military created states and local governments and gave the North the highest numbers, not because our population was the smallest but was just part of marginalisation.
“But we should be patient and continue to do what we have already started, knowing that the battle is no longer the type that will be fought with guns but with intelligence.
“We have suffered so much and that is why we should apply diplomacy. One of such diplomatic moves is the planned handshake across the Niger in which Igbo leaders will be negotiating with Yoruba leaders in Enugu in the coming week.”
In his address, a former president of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Anambra State chapter, Chief Chris Eluemunor, said as someone who fought in the Nigeria -Biafra war of 1967-1970, he would not like another generation of Igbo to experience such war again.
He added that what the people should be fighting for “is the restructuring of Nigeria in such a way that everybody will be happy.”
Eluemunor said Ohanaeze had nothing against the Indigenous People of Biafra but was not comfortable with its approach to the issue of Biafra.
He recalled that the leadership of Ohanaeze invited the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, on several occasions for dialogue, “but he failed to use his brain and rather resorted to insulting everybody.”
He added, “What the Igbo people want is restructuring because if you restructure properly, it is as good as being independent in your country. You cannot declare independent in an enemy territory and expect him to allow you to go just like that.
“What Ohanaeze is saying is that it is restructuring that will give us what we want. Our people are doing business in all parts of the country and in a restructured Nigeria; Igbo will have a good base. We learnt our lessons during and after the civil war and we would not like our people to make another mistake.”
The Special Adviser to Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State on Igbo Affairs, Prof. J. I. Okonkwo, said Igbo had so much to do to get to their desired destination.
Okonkwo said, “We embrace education, but we lack knowledge. We are not following the right steps that will help our cause and until we do that, we will continue to complain in Nigeria.”