Chief Goddy Uwazurike is a lawyer and the President of Aka Ikenga which is the think tank of the intellectual arm of Ohaneze, an Igbo socio-cultural organisation. He sees human beings as equal and should be treated with fairness. He believes in fundamental human right, a right of movement, right to dignity of human person, right to hold opinion and disperse it.
Speaking with ENCOMIUM Weekly, the legal practitioner told us what it takes to be a member of Aka Ikenga and more.
Aka Ikenga is the think tank of the intellectual arm of Ohaneze. We look at issues, diagnose them and come up with suggestions. If you attack the Igbo for instance, we too will reply you, measure for measure. We always stand for live and let live. You insult us, we go local and say same to you.
We don’t hold back, we don’t pamper you but we don’t insult you.
Is it in any way on the same pedestal or of the same manner of operation with the OPC?
No, OPC is a militia and cultural group of the Yoruba. The Igbo have their own, so is Hausa and Fulani. Ours is at the intellectual level, the think tank, we look forward, we project and all of us are under Ohaneze. Like I always say, all Igbo are under Ohaneze. Once you are Igbo whether on both sides of the river, you are under Ohaneze, and that is how the presidency of Ohaneze rotates among the states.
The last one was held by Delta State, Igbo speaking parts of Delta, after that we moved to Ebonyi, Enugu and it moves in that order. Rivers State will probably be the last because it moves in alphabetical order.
What does it take to be a member of Aka Ikenga?
At intellectual level we are careful in what we do. One of them is that, for you to be a member, you must have attained a certain level of education, at least first degree.
Second, you must have means because we don’t depend on government and we levy ourselves. Of course, your time and your talent must be there, your service to people, you must love and care for your people. If you don’t love your people you don’t have any business being a member.
We give everybody role to contribute in the best way, it cannot necessarily in millions. We are not many, we are not loud but we are effective.
Looking at Aka Ikenga, what has the association achieved under your leadership?
It’s not for me to judge myself but for you to investigate but I’m actually doing my second term as the President General of Aka Ikenga. We have two terms of two years and this is my third year. It was in my tenure that Chinua Achebe died. We initiated the traditional burial of Dikeh which means a strong man, of course we did our 25th anniversary, after we went for the National Conference.
We are here to project the Igbo position strongly. We don’t take what belongs to others but nobody should take ours as well and this has been the position of Igbo. We see every human being as equal and should be treated with fairness. Some people want to be ‘I before others’ but the Igbo position has been (Biri kam biri), live and let live and that is why under Aka Ikenga, we believe in the fundamental human right, right to assembly, right of presidency, right of movement, right to hold opinion and disperse it, right to dignity of human person and of course right to make a choice when politics comes around.
Has your association thought of preparing someone, an Igbo man for Presidency when the time is due?
Everybody is a potential president, you and I are potential candidates. So, there is nothing like bringing or preparing somebody. No, the best thing we do in Aka Ikenga is to make people get to know the right ways and correct ways of doing things not in the sense of teaching you.
We expose you to different kinds of knowledge. You never know who will be governor, you can never know who will be president, as a matter of fact that person you see as the next president might never be. Some current governors for instance, people never thought of them but today they are governors.
President Buhari lost so many times but today, he is the president, so it is dangerous identifying someone and say this is the man, no, rather you, improve people and put them on the pedestal in a broader vision, they will succeed.
What is your assessment of President Buhari under 60 days in office?
Like Asiwaju Bola Tinubu rightly said, he is on a honeymoon, we are yet to see him. There is no executive council at the moment, he is the one speaking on his own, his government is yet to take shape. Right now, we only have the president. I cannot assess him until September when he gives out his list. And they start functioning.
Are you preparing for any meeting/consultation with President Buhari?
We have our channels of communication with whoever is the president of the country and he doesn’t make noise. If you talk to somebody in confidence, let it remain in confidence.
What is your take on the President’s visit to US, do you see it as a success?
The man did his best but he got nothing in return, they are supposed to have lifted embargo on the purchase of arms by Nigerians but the United States government is only interested in making us accept gay, it is in the news, we hear America will do this and that, they should tell us how they want to support us.
They only said they will support him, he is a man of integrity but what is your support, they said nothing. If till now Boko Haram can buy arms but Nigeria cannot buy from the local market, they can only buy in the black market and that was what the government of former president wanted to do through South Africa but they embarrassed them in such a way that they were seen as doing money laundering while it was in the purchase of arms by black market.
Americans left the West to demoralize the Nigerian Army, it is an insult for them to say they are sending soldiers to train Nigerian Army. The visit was good for the president but bad for the country, we got nothing.
Over the years, you have been practicing law, where and when will you say was the very naughty time for you?
The legal profession is very strong and firm in Nigeria. Being a lawyer entails a lot of responsibilities, being a lawyer requires a lot of expectations. You hardly see lawyers who are chief launchers, you can make them chairmen, you concentrate on law the way you concentrate on your wife.
If you practice law occasionally, you will not succeed, you are like a business man with a law degree.