…As members chanted PDP slogan
By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Ovation was at its peak on weekend when the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Kaduna governorship candidate, Isa Ashiru Kudan, stormed the venue of the 2018 Igbo Cultural Day Celebration, held at Prison Staff Training College, Barnawa, Kaduna State.
This is contrary to what was witnessed when a convoy of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate and governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, arrived the same venue.
While the PDP guber candidate was represented by former Kaduna state commissioner of finance, Dr. John Ayuba and PDP Youth leader, Danjuma Sariki, respectively, the APC candidate, Governor el-Rufai, was physically present at the venue of the cerebration ground, and made rewarding remarks.
Although, the PDP representatives were openly cheered with rowdy welcome and consistent resounding ovation, the el-Rufai-led group of APC, who came much earlier than PDP, did not enjoy same patronage.
However, Governor el-Rufai, who maximized the opportunity and addressed the Igbos on the achievement of his administration, was also gloriously conferred with the Award of Honour and title of Ocho-Udo Ndigbo Kaduna (meaning, peace maker of Igbos).
In a welcome address at the occasion, president-general of the Igbo Community Welfare Association, ICWA, Kaduna, Chief Barrister Chris Nnoli (Ochendu), said Igbos in Kaduna and the entire 19 northern states appreciated Governor el-Rufai profoundly for his courageous act of being the first person to condemn the quit notice to Igbos in Northern Nigeria as well as order for the arrest of those behind the act.
According to the ICWA president, Governor el-Rufai’s singular act gave Igbos hope and strength as a people and reaffirmed the fact that every Nigerian has a right to reside in any party of the country without hindrance.
“We thank you so much, Sir, and in appreciation, have unanimously agreed to confer you with the award/title of Och-Udo Ngigbo Kaduna, meaning, peace maker of Igbos.”
Chief Nnoli also thanked the governor for his current soft stand towards residents of Gbagyi Villa, majority of whom are Igbos, saying his good work would surely single him out to succeed in due course, and prayed God to bless his return ticket in 2019.
He however reminded the governor of his promise to Igbos of including some of their people in his government, which according to the president, has not been fulfilled till date.
Barr. Nnoli also requested el-Rufai to set up security posts and centers along Ahmadu Bello Way to Junction Road and other strategic areas in Kaduna metropolis where most of their people and others are doing their businesses, to forestall the killings and looting by hoodlums during small or any crises in the state, “which we pray will never happen again, in Jesus’ name.”
According to him, the body reserved the particular day of every October of every two years to cerebrate and showcase their cultural heritage as a way of further uniting their people and strengthening existing cordial relationship between them, the state government and host communities, neighbors and friends, saying the delay was due to security challenges in the state within the period.
He highlighted some of the social and medical/health programmes undertaken in the state by their association for benefits of people.
Speaking, the governor thanked Igbos for the award of honour and title conferred on him, and promised to continue to protect lives and property and everyone doing their legitimate businesses in Kaduna state, including the Igbos, and remain open, adding that anyone, who leaves and does business in the state for years, automatically becomes part-and-parcel of the state.
Cultural displays, performance, such as dancing, raffle draw, among other things, marked the whole day cerebration, which attracted attendants from across the entire northern states.
Also speaking, PDP representatives that came late after Governor el-Rufai left, said they would provide Igbo the best enabling environment to improve on their businesses and give them their rightful place when assumed office in 2019, and called for their support.
The event became a PDP affair, as the cultural display eventually turned into chanting PDP slogan, shouting and dancing continuously.
On why they came late, the PDP youth leader, Sariki Danjuma, lamented that there was no formal invitation to PDP for fear that el-Rufai may disallow the Igbos from using the venue, but an impromptu arrangement was made after a latter thought to appear, thus they came.