In the following address given eleven years before Nigerian independence, Nnamdi Azikiwe calls for self-determination for the Igbo people as they along with other ethnic groups march toward an inevitably free Nigeria. This address was delivered at the Ibo State Assembly held at Aba, Nigeria, on Saturday, June 25, 1949.
The Ibo people have reached a cross-road and it is for us to decide which is the right course to follow. We are confronted with routes leading to diverse goals, but as I see it, there is only one road that I can safely recommend for us to tread, and it is the road to self-determination for the Ibo within the framework of a federated commonwealth of Nigeria and the Cameroons, leading to a United States of Africa. Other roads, in my opinion, are calculated to lead us astray from the path of national self-realization .
In this Address Nnamdi Azikiwe was merely calling for a United Political Front through which the Igbo Nation can pursue for self determination through the framework of the Nigeria state. This is the safest route through which our people can achieve their goal and aspirations. Ojukwu took thirteen years in exile to reach the same Conclusion, Political Frontier is the Safest way to continuously push for self determination with minimal lost of human life and Properties for every war ends in a political negotiation and round table discussion.
After 13 years in Exile at the Ivory Coast Ojukwu came back and decided to join Nigeria Politics . “I joined NPN to bring the Igbos into the main stream of Nigeria’s politics since I was the one that pulled them out in the first place,” Ojukwu was quoted severally to have replied when asked why he joined the NPN upon returning from Ivory Coast.
Not loog after the 1983 election, the military struck. The General Muhammadu Buhari’s regime that toppled the civil administration clamped Ojukwu and other politicians of that era into prison. . He was detained for 10 months.
Having put his hand in the plough, there was no going back for the Igbo leader politically. In the third republic , he joined the National Republican Convention, NRC, and aspired to contest the presidency. He said the surest way to show that the civil war had ended and the Igbo fully integrated into the affairs of the nation was to allow the Igbo become president.
However, General Ibrahim Babangida promptly disqualified him from running for president alongside other “old breed” politicians. During the General Sani Abacha regime, he was one of those elected to the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) of 1994 to 1995.
At the inception of the fourth republic, Ojukwu first joined the All Peoples Party (APP, now All Nigeria Peoples Party) in the Fourth Republic. Together with Dr. Olusola Saraki, Chief Tom Ikimi, the late Lamidi Adedibu, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Dr. Ezekiel Izuogu, the late Chief Sam Mbakwe, all political soul mates who could change Nigeria along defined lines. Their efforts at building a strong national party failed when the APP lost at the 1999 polls, as many of them left for the ruling party. But Ojukwu soldiered on. He later founded the Peoples Democratic Congress which was not registered as a political party.
Then in 2002 with Chief Chekwas Okorie, the former military governor formed the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). It was in APGA that he came close to realizing his dream of offering service to the people. Though the two attempts he made at governing the country on the platform of the party was not successful, the party won governorship elections in Anambra and Imo State in the last general election.
Today APGA have deviated from the Founding Principles of Ojukwu and Chekwas Okorie hence the emergence of the United Progressive Party the UPP to push on with the dream of Salvaging the Igbo Nation through a Political Frontier. As Ojukwu rightly Quoted
“I still believe that the one thing that will bring peace, absolute peace, to this country, the type of peace we want attached to development, is to liberate Ndi Igbo and there is no better act of liberation than accepting that they have equal right in Nigeria.”
“There is absolutely no way you can look at the Nigerian federation, the way it was conceived, and say it is a good federation. One of the federating units is bigger than the other units. The other thing is that everything that has worked in Nigeria, or appears to have worked, seems very much to have been an imposition. The idea that sovereignty belongs to the Nigerian people is all fiction as far as Nigeria is concerned.”