2 The governor made the remark at a maiden lecture series organised in honour of elderstatesman, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu by the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Imo Council, in Owerri.
3 Uzodimma described Iwuanyanwu as a detribalised strong, lucid and articulate national figure who, even at 80, had continued to demand a united, peaceful Nigeria.
4 He further described the Igbo as a peace loving people whose commitment to nationhood was without a doubt, hence their ability to thrive in all parts of the country where they were resident.
5 The governor advised Nigerians to embrace peace and eschew all activities capable of jeopardising the country’s unity.
6 “Iwuanyanwu has stayed strong, lucid and articulate at 80 because most of his life has been dedicated to service of God and humanity, a reflection of the Igbo quest for Nigeria’s unity, which we, in spite of obvious misrepresentations, continued to uphold.
8 We must therefore, not resort to war in a bid to fight marginalisation.
9 We must eschew violence, embrace peace and unity.
10 “We may have our flaws as a race but a man cannot live in a land he loathes and remain progressive in his business and other endeavours.
11 We love Nigeria dearly and this, is without a doubt,” he said.
12 The Guest Lecturer and former President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Nnia Nwodo, described the celebrator as a quintessential model for today’s youths.
13 He called for devolution of power for a better Nigeria, adding that a restructured Nigeria would give each geo-political zone the sovereignty over their production and a sense of belonging.
14 “No attempt should be made to force Igbos out of political relevance; we are as qualified as other Nigerians and Nigeria needs all of us now.
15 “We must stop brooding over what has happened to us in the past, we can still make a country.
16 Our industry and acceptability are evidence of our preparedness to serve and our quest for Nigeria’s unity is unswerving,” he said.
17 Responding, Chief Iwuanyanwu commended the dignitaries and the organisers for honouring him.
18 He, however, expressed worry over the treatment of the Igbo people in the country and called for a restructured Nigeria to correct the perceived injustices meted on them, such as creation of more council areas and state police.