Igbos For A Progressive Nigeria (IPAN) is currently one of the most vocal groups in the country. The group known chiefly for their messages of peace and unity is fast being recognized as one of the strong voices of Ndigbo. In this interview with Onitsha GRA’s Nkechi Obioma, Nwachukwu Chukwuemeka, the Vice President of IPAN, tells us what the group is all about. Excerpts:
Kindly introduce yourself to Nigerians.
I’m Nwachukwu Chukwuemeka, from Isunjaba Town, Imo State, an Educationists by initial qualification, currently a Certified Real Estate Consultant and Alternative Energy Systems Entrepreneur by Profession. I am the vice president of IPAN.
What is IPAN all about?
IPAN (Igbos For A Progressive Nigeria) is an Igbocentric Progressive Nigerian group. IPAN seeks to unite all Nigerians and specifically demands good governance across the nation. It speaks truth to power at all levels and specifically looks out for the progress of Igbos everywhere. What stands IPAN out among others is the foundational philosophy: Peace and Unity. While most other organizations look out for only their leaders and ethnic peoples, IPAN understands that without peace and unity nothing is feasible, and whatever exists will just be temporal. Patriotic and altruistic modes of engagement with others on issues, propagating the essence of oneness, creating an open egalitarian platform for Igbos at all levels. Those are just a few of the things which differentiate us from others.
In Nigeria of today, many people are calling for war, division. Why is IPAN calling for peace, dialogue and unity?
All forms of crisis still end up getting settled on a round table. Negotiations are normal in every transactional situation. IPAN believes in engaging in cerebral and pacifistic methods to resolve all contending matters always. Aggression and war are simply crude, tendentious of what some ill-informed people term as agitation. Agitation could rather be cerebral than warlike and aggressive. That’s the approach IPAN adopts. The founding fathers attained independence without firing a shot. That’s the power of engagement, superior argument, cerebral Jaw-a-Jaw. It’s a civilized and highly effective method, hardly fails.
As the Vice president of IPAN, how do you plan to help the group achieve a united Igbo and a peaceful Nigeria?
As someone who has been blessed to occupy the exalted position of VP of IPAN, a rare privilege indeed, my first obligation is to support and work closely with the President, who God saw fit to reveal to and use to espouse the IPAN vision. Nevertheless, I will employ all affable and gregarious means to cultivate the friendship and trust of other Igbos everywhere, in order to share to them the gospel according to IPAN. I have been lucky as a person to have been exposed to all sides of Nigeria in the course of growing up. An Igbo, born and bred in Lagos and schooled in the North and South-South regions. I speak most major languages in Nigeria. And as an inquisitive researcher of human nature, I delved into the major religions in Nigeria. I have first-hand knowledge of the traditions and cultures of the other side. It gives me the advantage when it comes to interactions, negotiations. My respect for them makes them respect and trust me more. Hence, IPAN as an organization has received more converts from other tribes than even the Igbos who we toil daily to represent and defend. However, our foray to ensure that majority of our people buy into our vision is an eternal commitment, continuous work in progress. We shall steadfastly espouse the message of a peaceful united Nigeria, being conscious of the fact that we are one of the biggest stakeholders in the Nigeria project. We the Igbos are real Nigerians!
What are the biggest challenges facing IPAN?
As is always the case in most positive missions, IPAN has had its share of challenges. Highest is the issue of finance. Our engagements require a lot of creativity and without finance all plans will remain in the realm of ideas. We need to utilize basic social tools for mobilization and to propagate our message. In the course of that, we have organized Quizzes, Essay competitions and other social activities. We do press releases and have to be constantly ubiquitous on all social media platforms, radio/TV interviews, etc. We also have a large number of foot soldiers doing various things in all our teams at the National, Zonal and Diaspora levels. It’s really big, but we have trudged on as much as we can. Thanks to the invaluable dexterity of the President of IPAN, Lawrence Rapuluchukwu Onuzulike, a man of vision and a goal getter. He has done most of the spending, putting in his personal resources to ensure IPAN continues to achieve milestones. Thank God IPAN is where it is today, but we need sources of funding, which is more difficult when you refuse to engage in subversive or nefarious activities. IPAN is on its way and we shall continue to espouse our philosophy of Peace, Unity and Progress.
Thanks for your time with us.
It’s my pleasure.