Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Alaigbo Foundation, Igbo National Congress, among others, yesterday, agreed that a president of Igbo extraction is achievable in 2023 as the Igbo are working towards its realization.
This came as an ex-Biafran soldier and prominent traditional ruler in Enugu State, Igwe Spencer Ugwuoke, expressed doubt over the realization of a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction in 2023 because ”Ndigbo lack unity of purpose.”
Ugwuoke, who is the traditional ruler of Obimo autonomous community in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State, insisted that lack of unity of purpose by the Igbo and deficient political structure would make it difficult for them to realize the dream.
The monarch said Ndigbo cannot be talking from both sides of the mouth without any recognizable leader and hope to capture presidential seat in 2023.
“This country has many miracles that occur at their own time; but I must tell you that there is no indication that an Igbo man will emerge president of Nigeria in 2023. This is because the Igbo have refused to forge a common font politically unlike what we have in other major ethnic groups in Nigeria; even the minority tribes are more united than the Igbo.
“Though, the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Nniah Nwodo, has improved the status of the Igbo in terms of achieving common ambition, there are still a lot to be done. Even among us, there are still some of us sabotaging Nwodo’s efforts.
“We have to go back to Ohanaeze Ndigbo and make it the authentic mouthpiece of the Igbo because, as it stands now, the organisation is deficient in equitable representations of the different traditional institutions in South East, which is why it is difficult to speak with one voice. You always hear of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos, Abuja, Jos, South Africa and what have you. This is wrong and it is the origin of the discordant tunes affecting our political fortunes in Nigeria. Where have you seen the Oba of Benin and Sultan of Sokoto being countered by their subjects? It only happens in South East.
“When you are looking for something, you should not create enemies. You cannot be opposing Buhari’s administration and expect him to back you up for the presidency in 2023.
“Let’s create a platform to promote the pains of the South-East as a geopolitical zone that has not produced a president. Let’s get leaders of thought, traditional rulers and chairmen of the state council of chiefs to meet their counterparts in other geopolitical zones for support. Let our politicians put their interest in a common pot for the interest of the zone and not be originators of discordant tunes.
“Igbo Presidency is realisable but there has to be a long term plan geared towards achieving it. It is not possible in 2023”, Igwe Spencer said.
Igbo presidency achievable in 2023 — Ohanaeze
Disagreeing with Igwe Ugwuoke, the umbrella organisation of the Igbo said Igbo presidency is achievable in 2023.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo through its spokesman, Uche Achi-Ogbaga, said Igbo presidency is achievable, adding that there is nothing like lack of unity of purpose as all Igbo cannot be in one political party or think alike.
He said that Ohanaeze Ndigbo has been galvanizing both Ndigbo and other ethinic groups and all parts of the country towards achieving this project.
Beware of enemies of Ndigbo — Mbazulike Amaechi
First Republic politician, Chief Mbazulike Amechi berated those who think that Igbo presidency is not realizable, describing such people as enemies of Ndigbo. He said that if presidency of other sections of the country was possible, then Igbo presidency is more possible and have more potentials of realization than others.
His words: “In politics, just like in anything else, nothing is impossible.So, the traditional ruler who said that Igbo presidency is not possible is out of reality, he is not being realistic.
“Igbo presidency like every other political action is possible. However, Igbo presidency does not mean that Igbo man will be president of Igbo’ alone, for an Igbo man to become the president of Nigeria, he has to be president of Nigerians in general not Igbo people. He has to be president of all Nigerians and Nigeria as a country, he has to be for everybody in Nigeria.
“I have always told Ndigbo that to produce the president of Nigeria, we have to be organized, you have to strategize, you have to plan, you gave to work, to produce the president that will be for all Nigerians.
“To be president of Nigeria, you have to have handshakes across the Niger, across the Benue, you have to reach out, you must recognize the fact that Northern Nigeria has a large population and there is nobody who can be president of Nigeria without the support and cooperation of a large section of the North. So, the Igbo man who will be the president must have the support of a considerable section of the North. The same thing is applicable to the West, he must have the support of the West.
“Igbo votes alone cannot give anybody presidency of Nigeria and so, for an Igbo man to become president in Nigeria, he must reach out and make friends and also make sure that his political party has the spread to help him secure the seat of the president. So, whosoever that is saying Igbo presidency is not possible after meeting all these conditions does not know what he is talking about, in fact he is an enemy of Ndigbo.
“So if you are asking me about the possibility, honestly it is possible. There is every possibility of achieving it, it is possible and I must say I am personally working for that. Seriously, I am personally working for that, we can achieve it and I am putting much effort in the work I am doing for that.
“Remember, since after the civil war, many sections of the country, many influential people in Nigeria do not still believe that the war has ended. Some of them are still fighting the war collectively against Ndigbo but the Igbo have ignored them and gone ahead inspite of those people and I am encouraging Ndigbo to continue doingwhat they have been doing and not look back to avoid being discouraged.”
It’s achievable — Izuogu
Another top Igbo leader, Ezekiel Izuogu said , “The Igbo have to be faithful members of their party, they have to believe in the ideology of the party. If you are a progressive you must be a progressive that Nigerians know and not just pretending to be in a political party. You must believe in their ideology and then work with it and emerge as the candidate of the party if you are good”.
For example, he said: ” Olusegun Obasanjo emerged from the southwest and even though the Yoruba did not vote for PDP, the whole nation agreed that the presidency should go to the southwest.
“I am appealing to Nigerians to let us have the same mind. The Igbo have not gotten this thing since Nigeria was created,let us concede it to them and it will also help them to forget the issue of civil war and believe that they are wanted by other Nigerians.
“That will also stop the issue of Biafra because immediately you give the presidency to the Igbo, the issue of Biafra will end and that will allow the country to be a better place for Igbo and other Nigerians.”
We must build alliances with others — INC
Speaking also, the President of Igbo National Council, INC, Chilos Godsent was of the view that, “The first thing to do is harmonize the internal political structure and build alliances with other political blocs.Then, we’ll move into the three most popular political parties and bring up popular and credible persons that can be saleable”.
We must come together — Obasi
In his own contribution, the former deputy governorship candidate of All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, in the 2015 general election, Chief Jerry Obasi noted that the best way for Ndigbo to achieve the Igbo presidency is for them “to come together as a people under a united Nigeria and engage other areas of the country with a calculated objective to purge their minds of hate and phobia against Ndigbo.”
According to him, “The Igbo race in Nigeria has suffered series of mistreatments, socially, politically and economically. These forms of politically motivated mistreatments are compounded by a conspicuous and consumated conspiracy to deny the Igbo the Presidency.
“Ndigbo continually take obvious steps towards the realisation of this much taunted Igbo dream of Igbo presidency without realisation. It has always been deliberately truncated by haters of Ndigbo who perceive they have an axe to grind with Ndigbo. Since 1999 to date, Ndigbo have participated in all of the Presidential elections, including the 2015 and 2019 Presidential elections which gave birth to General Muhammadu Buhari.”
Chief Jerry Obasi said the issue of Igbo Presidency cannot be swept under the carpet, considering the socio-political challenges currently facing the South East region of the country.
He however agreed that the best way for Ndigbo to achieve the Igbo Presidency is for them “to come together as a people under a united Nigeria, engage other areas of the country with a calculated objective to purge their minds of hate and phobia against Ndigbo”.