Evang. Eliot Ugochukwu-Uko, founder of the Igbo Youth Movement, IYM, has re-echoed his stand that Nigeria would not make headway except it was restructured along the path of true federalism.
Ugochukwu-Uko, who has remained a leading advocate of restructuring, spoke as the IYM celebrated its 20th anniversary in Enugu over the weekend.
He said the dreams to develop the country would remain a mirage as long as Nigeria remained in its current state.
He declared: “We thank all those who embraced and supported us, we also thank all those who fought and are still fighting IYM, for they unwittingly made us stronger,especially those who called me ‘Elliot onye ala restructuring’.
“We reiterate, that the delay in restructuring Nigeria is both unpatriotic and unkind. Nigeria will never make progress under this unitary system. Any Nigerian who pretends that Nigeria can survive without restructuring, is lying to himself.”
Speaking on the journey so far for IYM, Ugochukwu-Uko said, “It’s been 20 years of God’s grace and blessings all through. In spite of man-made obstacles along the way, God’s favour has sustained the IYM these past 2 decades.
“I was inspired to establish the IYM because there was a false notion that Ndigbo has been permanently silenced by the civil war defeat. I wanted to inspire others, especially the younger generation to speak up and stand up for their rights. The elders were cowed by the humiliation and trauma of the defeat of 1970.
“Quislings, vassals and collaborators occupied the space, masquerading as Igbo leaders. Only a righteous, upright, selfless and sacrificial movement could inspire the younger generation to stand up for their rights. IYM was designed to inspire the younger generation to defend their rights and protect their future.
“I designed IYM to pure and holy, beyond reproach. It’s been extremely frustrating and difficult over the years. But the sacrifices has been well worth it. Today the Igbo younger generation have finally found their voice. I am grateful to God Almighty, who created the IYM for the purpose which the good Lord himself ordained and supervises till date. To God alone be all the glory and honour.
“I remain eternally grateful to leaders whom God used to mentor, guide and direct me over the years, great men, who found time to attend our, conferences, seminars and conventions over the years. Leaders like Chief C. C Onoh,Chief Sam Mbakwe, Dr Chuba Okadigbo, Dr Alex Ekwueme, Chief MCK Ajuluchukwu,Justice Eze Ozobu,Prof Ben Obumselu, Chief Uche Chukwumerije, Col Joe Achuzia and Dr Dozie Ikedife.
“I remain grateful to my dear wife for unflinching support in the face of intense persecution from Igbo agents of the oppressor, who have undermined and subverted us tirelessly over the years. Sabotaging our every move. I remain undaunted and resolute. I pray that God will keep everyone alive in the next 30 years as I mark the 50th anniversary of the IYM. God who established the IYM will never allow the adversary triumph.
“The IYM was ordained by God, whose mercies and loving kindness has been leading and guiding the IYM these past decades. And my little secret is actually keeping certain vows I made as a teenager. The Lord has been helping me to maintain these vows and I give God all the glory. I vowed many years ago, never to join any political party, never to accept any job or contract from any local, state or federal government.
“I vowed never to wear gold watches or any jewellery for that matter all the days of my life. Never to fly first class, no matter how God lifts me up financially, never to accept any chieftaincy title in my life time, never to acquire a V8 SUV or any V8 or V12 engine automobile as long as I live. To remain faithful to my wife all the days of my life etc. God has helped me greatly to maintain these vows, even as I approach 60.To God be the glory.
“I didn’t want to lose my head and become carnal and banal. I pray to remain focused and humble. That’s the secret of the success of the IYM. I promised myself never to drift towards vainglory and pride.
“I wanted to leave a pedigree. To inspire others, that it is possible to place group interests above self interest. That a man can stand on the truth in an upright manner without stain, without reproach. That is the spirit behind the Foundation and the activities of the IYM.”