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Soludo, Okowa, Ozekhome, others attend 2022 annual Zik lecture

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Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo has assured of sustaining the ongoing partnership between the State Government and Ziks Lecture Series.

Governor Soludo gave the assurance through the Deputy Governor, Dr. Onyekachukwu Ibezim during the eleventh (11th) Zik Lecture Series held at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

This year’s event is themed: Nigeria in the Throes of Insecurity Towards 2023: Any Panacea?

The lecture series initiative was conceived in 2006 by distinguished Senator Dr. Ben Ndi Obi, to immortalize the good works of Nigeria’s foremost nationalist, statesman and pan-Africanist, the inimitable, Rt. Hon, His Excellency, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, first President, and first Indigenous Governor-General of Nigeria.

According to Governor Soludo, the lecture is worth sustaining as a way of entrenching the evergreen role played by the great Nationalist in the Country’s development, especially through the Zikist movement.

Speaking further through the Deputy Governor, he said that the Zik Lecture Series has come to stay, reiterating that the State Government has declared November 16th a public holiday in honor and memory of the great Zik of Africa.

Governor Soludo also recalled that the Zik Mausoleum in Onitsha have been completed to honour the legacies of the great Zik, stressing that his government is doing all it can to immortalize Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe; a great Igbo son and icon who was one of the founding fathers of Nigeria.

The Governor who lamented that the present generation is deviating from the principles of Dr. Azikiwe, pointed out that Zik stood for strength in unity, democracy and freedom of speech.

He advised ndi Anambra and Nigerians to look at and hold on to their diverse strength within.

He praised the Delta State Governor for his timely response in withdrawing unnecessary roadblocks at their end of the Niger Bridge which had been causing untold hardship to the people.

The Guest Speaker who is a constitutional Lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Chief (Dr.) Mike Ozekhome SAN, traced the history behind Nigeria as a Country, described it as an artificial amalgamation of people who were not consulted, emphasizing that the indices that guarantee unity must be nurtured and respected.

He noted that the perceived indivisibility of Nigeria is out of place and regretted that successive leaderships had taken the nation’s unity, indivisibility for granted, stating that the Nigerian problem is that of leadership and followership.

He stressed that Boko Haram and others including forms of self determination are mere symptoms of insecurity as against the root challenges which are social, educational, family among others.

Speaking on the detained leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, Ozekhome called for his immediate release, insisting that his protracted detention would further aggravate the insecurity in the southeast region.

“Nnamdi Kanu is not a separatist, he is fighting a self determination course which is globally recognized. IPOB didn’t start the violence. It was peaceful until September 14 when the Nigerian Army known as the “Operation Python Dance” invaded Kanu’s home.

“Mazi Kanu lost his parents and over 20 lives were lost in the tragic incidence.”

“Let me seize this opportunity to beg Mr. President, on bended knees, without prejudice, to release Nnamdi Kanu. We’re not saying he should subvert justice. What will bring peace to the region is not his continued detention,” he added.

Among other things, Dr. Ozekhome suggested that the Nation should consider running a unicameral National Assembly rather than bicameral or have members sit on part time basis, after which they recieve sitting allowances.

Earlier, the Governor of Delta State and the Vice Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, remarked that he was glad to be a part of the dialogue that centers on national security situations ahead of the forthcoming 2023 General Elections.

Governor Okowa proposed the need to draw up a domestic plan that addresses these challenges in the medium and long-term, expressing optimism that the 2023 general elections will be conducted in line with the guidelines of the new electoral act which compels Biomodal Voters Accreditation system and electronic transmission of results that will go a long way to reduce hijacking of ballot papers.

Senator Okowa who also chaired the occasion, commended the organizers of the event for their steadfastness and drive to see a greater Nigeria.

In his address of welcome, the Vice-Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Prof. Charles Okechukwu Esimone, applauded the organizers for pulling through the huge logistics challenge of arranging the event which came so soon after the suspension of the eight-month long ASUU nationwide strike.

He said that the lecture series was instituted through the Faculty of Social Sciences and an instrument of Senator Ben Obi to immortalize Dr. Azikiwe, the political totem of Nigeria’s independence struggle and quest for the emancipation of the black race.

In a separate remark, the benefactor of the Zik Lecture Series, Senator Ndi Obi stated that the series has impacted significantly and contributed enormously to knowledge and national development.

Senator Obi pointed out that his vision is to have the Zik Lecture Series and Legislative Studies Institute- a legacy project that will permanently institutionalize the series which will eventually grow to be a channel of robust research and academic excellence.

He called on the Federal Government to recognize and immortalize Zik of Africa who was pivotal to the independence of Nigeria.

In attendance were Chief of Staff to Governor Soludo, Mr. Ernest Ezeajughi, former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, the Anglican Bishop of Awka and Archbishop of Niger Province, the Most Rev. Alexander Ibezim, Chairman of South East Traditional Rulers’ Council and Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, Traditional Ruler of Awka, Obi Gibson Nwosu, among others.

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