29TH 2002.

Ndibe anyi, exelem unu. Nno nu. Agwo di na akirika

May I salute the distinguished and eminent sons and daughters of Ndigbo gathered here today in unity of purpose, to find solutions to the pressing challenges of Ndigbo and of the Nigerian nation. Nothing would have given me more joy than to be among this distinguished assembly of the leading lights of Ndigbo in diaspora.

However, the Senate of the federal Republic of Nigeria is reconvening at about the same time that the 8th convention Of the World Igb congress is holding. As the theme of this year’s convention rightly states, and as events at home indicate: “Agwo di na akirika”. It is important that I stay back to attend to urgent national concerns as the Senate resumes. However, I want to assure you that I am with you in spirit and in essence, and I will play whatever roie you may graciously assign to me.

Our nation, and indeed our young democracy are undergoing critical tests of survival. This is why I am unable to attend this year’s convention. The challenges of Ndigbo and Nigerians in general, are indeed more pronounced and even more demanding today than has been the case at anytime since our National Independence in 1960. Ndigbo and all Nigerians, are once again faced with tough choices and hard decisions, to protect our young democracy and to deliver good governance, to produce economic development and prosperity for our teaming population.

Certainly, what is good for Ndigbo, is also good for Nigeria. I believe in Nigeria and I believe that Nigeria has space for all her component groups and in particular for Ndig o. But we all need to work at it in unity and with a sense of mutual understanding and tolerance.

It is time once again for Ndigbo, as historical patriots, and leading champions of Nigerian nationalism, as so ably personified by the father of Nigerian nationalism, the late Right Honourable Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, to assume their rightful place in the land and join hands with patriots from across Nigeria, to produce a Nigeria we can be proud of.

A Nigeria where true democracy will reign supreme in an atmosphere of fairness and justice to all. A Nigeria where government can create a conducive environment for investors and Nigerians to pursue liberty, freedom and prosperity. 

Ndibe anyi, agwo di na akirika. For the past three years of our new democracy and two years of my Senate Presidency, the National Assembly has endeavoured to budgets, which if i aplemented as at when due, would have produced economic activities and reconstruction, and perhaps, prosperity at the grassroots across Nigeria.

However, let me assure all of us that things are not out of control. It is my convinction that we are learning from our mistakes. Let me also say that the period of the learning process is becoming too long. But all the same, I want you to know that I and indeed the members of the National Assembly are very concerned but determined to change things for the better.

It is the urgency induced by the poor state of our economy and the attendant negative spin-offs that has dictated that I should stay home at the Senate to see how we can repair our badly damaged economy, and arrest the drift, that is once again threatening democracy and the foundations of the Nigerian nation.

As I alluded to earlier in this message, the founding father of modern Nigerian nationalism was an Igbo man, the indomitable Rt. Ho1. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. It would be an honour to our beloved Zik, that Ndigbo continue in his legacy to offer leadership that unites Nigeria, to propel our country to the enviable heights that God has so benevolently ordained for her.

I am proud to report that since the last World Igbo Congress at New Orleans in 2001, we have been able to initiate, articulate and launch the NNAMDI AZIKIWE INSTITUTE, to immortalize the great Zik and offer Nigerians and Posterity, the opportunity to grasp the essence, philosophy, thoughts and deeds of Nigeria’s

foremost nationalist. The late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe served as the most acceptable rallying point for the preservation of Nigerian unity even in the face of very tough choices for Ndigbo.

The NNAMDI AZIKIWE INSTITUTE will serve as a source of Knowledge, inspiration and research center to immortalize the legend called ZIK.

Permit me to use the opportunity of the g’* Convention of the World Igbo Congress, to appeal to Ndigbo in Diaspora to support the full alization of the NNAMDI AZIKIWE INSTITUTE, to showcase the leadership of Ndigbo, as well as contribute to the history and political development of Igbo Nigerian and African leaders through quality research and the power of knowledge.

From the bottom of my heart, I wish you very fruitful and successful deliberations.

Ndibe anyi, ekelem unu. Da lu nu o. Chukwu gozie anyidum.

Senator (Dr.) Anyim Pius Anyim, GCON