Igbo leaders warns APC, PDP, denying us presidency proves we are not wanted in Nigeria | NN NEWS

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Leaders and groups in Igboland have warned that failure of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and the opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to zone their 2023 presidential tickets to the South East would amount to pushing the region out of Nigeria.

At various fora, Igbo leaders and organizations, including the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, have drummed it hard that equity, justice and fairness ought to bestow 2023 presidency on the South East. They, therefore, appealed to all Nigerians to support the zone to realise their quest.

The region’s position was amplified again on Thursday when Igbo leaders of thought converged on Enugu under the umbrella of Ahamefuna socio-cultural organisation hosted by former Governor of Enugu State, Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo. Several prominent Igbo sons and daughters who spoke were of the same mind when they addressed the issue. They insisted that denying the South East presidency in 2023 would prove that Ndigbo is not wanted in Nigeria.

President-General of Ohanaeze, George Obiozor recently advised that whichever part of the country that produces the next president would send a conspicuous message to all Ndigbo worldwide about their destiny in Nigeria. He called on the Nigerian political elite to avoid the prevailing political myopia and contrived amnesia surrounding the nation’s political history over the imperative of North-South rotation in order to secure the future and preserve national unity.

He said: “Nigerian politics is at a point of no return where national destiny is at stake and where patriotism and political wisdom must supercede personal ambition.” Other organisations like the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), World Igbo Congress have also pitched their tent with others on this vexed issue. For ADF President, Prof. Uzodimma Nwala, Presidency for the South East in 2023 is non-negotiable. Igbo leaders who converged on Enugu did not mince words as they appealed to the conscience of other regions in Nigeria to do justice to the zone.

Igbo notables at the event included Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu; Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, Prof. Anya O. Anya, Sen. Ben Obi, Prof. Uche Azikiwe, Mrs. Beatrice Ekwueme, Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo, Chief Achike Udenwa, Prof. ABC Nwosu, Chief Dubem Onyia, Sen. Azụ Agboti, Prof. Cyprian Onyeji, Prof. Uzodimma Nwala, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, Maj. Gen. Collins Ihekire (rtd), Maj. Gen. Godwin Ugwuoke (rtd), Dr. Joe Nworgu, Igwe Julius Nnaji, Prof Elochukwu Amucheazi and Chief Onyemauche Nnamani.

Chairman of the event, Iwuanyanwu stated that the Igbo were currently facing one of their greatest challenges. Tracing the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria history, he noted that the Igbo played a pivotal role in shaping Nigeria. Iwuanyanwu regretted that it was only in Nigeria that champions and Independence protagonists were not allowed to rule the country. He cited the late Dr Nnamadi Azikwe as a typical Igbo and Pan-Nigerian who unfortunately was not allowed to lead the country even after leading it to Independence.

He said: “All through history, we have been demanding what truly belongs to us. What else could be injustice, where then lies equity, justice, fairness when there was agreement that power should rotate between Northern and Southern Nigeria? Now that it is the turn of the Igbo people, they have started shifting grounds. We want a field where everybody could play. Nigerians should please be honest for at least once.”

The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe said what the Igbo are saying is simple, that the South East region should be treated the same way like other regions have been treated. The monarch said: “It has been said, treat a child like you treated his peers, so if we (South East) are given the same treatment like others, the country will be fine but if it is not done, the country will not be okay. And we have no apologies demanding what is our entitlement.” Just as he has none suggesting how the dream could be achieved. On this, he spoke at length: “In a plural society, we need to build bridges; we need to make alliances and we need to make deals with other people and I believe Ahaejiagamba (Iwuanyanwu) has just given us a summary of all the efforts we are making,” he said. “All I can say is that we don’t go to bed until we get what we want. We have to stay alert until we get what we want. All the Southern alliance, Middle Belt alliance, we have to stay with it.

He further observed: “Let’s face it, in Nigeria there’s jealousy towards Ndigbo, there is fear about Ndigbo, there is hatred towards Ndigbo and there is derision for Ndigbo. But we have no apologies, that’s how God created us and we have to continue to strive and work hard. We are known for hard work and for perseverance; we have no apologies for that. As we persevere, let’s not be proud about it, for if we do, it creates fear amongst others. And, it creates hatred and derision.

“We need to be focused and structured in our approach, the presidency project is not an end itself but a means to restoring the Igbo self-confidence and Igbo values and Igbo ethos, to make us more determined to be what God has chosen us to be, by seeing ourselves on equal level with others at the presidency level.”

The sentiments expressed by both Iwuanyanwu and Obi of Onitsha received endorsement from Gen. Ihekire (rtd) when he said: “Anybody in this country who is against rotating the presidency to the South East is very unpatriotic and does not love Nigeria, because if the presidency does not come to the South East it has dire consequences for this country. This is because it will further convince the South East about their position in the country.”

Widow of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Prof. Uche Azikiwe in her remark agreed that the demand by the South East to produce the next President of Nigeria is a just demand, stressing that “it is not too much for Nigeria to give us that.

“For what we have gone through, heard or read, Ndigbo have been sacrificing their position, that presidential position, for peace and unity of this country, starting from Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe. So, I don’t see why this time around, they won’t accept us and give us that position. Why are they afraid of the Igbo? When you find Ndigbo everywhere, wherever an Igbo finds himself or herself, he or she settles down and adjusts to that location, learn their language and culture. I appeal to the conscience of other Nigerians, please give us that opportunity. Ndigbo will build from nothing to something, that’s the same thing they will do when they are given the opportunity to rule Nigeria, we will turn Nigeria around. That I am sure of.”

It was learnt from reliable sources that Ahamefuna was one of the concerted platforms staged by the South East to push for the 2023 Presidency. One of those behind the Project, Sen. Ben Obi added that they have taken the case of the South East to other regions. He then stated: “Our response to detractors is clear. In this, we demand to be treated fairly and given a chance to participate as a full member of the Nigerian Project.” He further warned: “Igbo exclusion from government is continuing; a situation that was not helped by the strong Igbo support for Alhaji Abubakar Atiku in the 2019 elections.”

Like others who spoke before him, he lastly appealed to the Nigerian conscience: “Igbo, without counting costs, have supported other zones to produce Presidents of Nigeria. Now that it is our turn, we ask for reciprocal support, for the South-East to produce a Nigerian President with the capacity and confidence to deal with Nigeria’s numerous problems.” (Saturday Sun)

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