The Coalition of South-East Youth Leaders (COSEYL), said South-East states were under political siege, a plan he said was meant to kill the idea of the zone producing the next president of the country in 2023.
The group said the political siege on the zone became obvious following harassment and intimidation of some political leaders in the zone by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
President General of COSEYL Hon. Goodluck Ibem disclosed this on Monday through a press statement he jointly signed with the Secretary of the group Kanice Igwe and issued to journalists.
He said the recent distraining and sealing of a family property of former Abia stake governor Sen. T.A Orji and intimidation of notable political leaders from the zone by the EFCC was a clear indication of a claim that the zone was under siege.
He further stated that another prominent Igbo man Sen. Orji Kalu was hurriedly tried and imprisoned,
while some other prominent people from the zone are facing different kind of political harassment just to blacklist the zone’s presidential ambition.
Ibem said the war against Sen. T. A Orji would be viewed as a war declared against the zone, but however called on the people of the zone to rise against the political marginalisation.
He said COSEYL would organise a peaceful protest in each state of the zone against the alleged intimidation of Sen T.A Orji and others in the zone.
The statement read in part Coalition of South-East Youth leaders, the umbrella body of all the youth organizations in the South-East zone is alarmed by the distraining and sealing of properties in Abia state by EFCC.
It is only a court of competent jurisdiction that has the right to seal or keep the public off a building, but it is very alarming that of all the six geopolitical zone in Nigeria, only the south-east personalities are targeted for prosecution.
The zone was marginalized recently during the Coronavirus induced lockdown when federal government allegedly distributed cash to other zones.
The reason for this victimisation is not far from the 2023 presidential election and that is why they have touchlighting every prominent personality in the zone.
It is very shocking and sad that of the six geopolitical zones in the country, only South-East political leaders are being targeted for prosecution. Political leaders who served at the same time with their South-East counterparts are moving about freely without any harassment, arrest or sealing of properties in their states and regions. It smacks of political blackmail that South-East leaders alone are paraded or tagged by the current administration as corrupt in recent time.
Recently, the federal government took a foreign loan of $22.7 billion for infrastructural development as we were told. Out of such wooping sum of money, no project or Kobo was budgeted for South-East even when some states in the zone are oil producing states that produce part of the revenue through which the government will service and even amortize the said loan. Without mincing words, it appears that only intimidation, pain and harrassment are directed to the South-East zone while democracy dividends are directed to other zones.
During the lockdown attendant to the coronavirus pandemic when every responsible and responsive government all over the world gave palliative to all its citizens, palliative and cash transfer meant for all zones were shared to only the northern states leaving the South-East to their own fate. Northerners living in the South-East zone, to the knowledge of COSEYL, got palliatives and cash transfer from federal government social investment program while the people of South-East got nothing from the federal government in the name of palliative. The marginalization and intimidation of the zone is totally unacceptable to us to COSEYL.
We know the reason for such victimization is not far from and unconnected to the 2023 presidential race. Since the zone declared its interest for the office of the president, those who feel they parade political potentates and potential presidential materials and who think they can annoint and sponsor their own for the plum job have been plotting various schemes to edge out the region resulting sometimes in, harassment, investigation, detention and illegitimate conviction from the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC.
Because of their desperation to nail potential presidential materials from the zone, a former governor of Abia state was hurriedly imprisoned by a court presided over by a judge that lacks jurisdiction to hear or treat the case. Most court officers who knew what their fellow benchers were doing kept quiet because a Southeast son is the political victim.
This time, they have directed their seachlight in Abia State again by distraining and seal off properties in the capital city of Abia state in other to spite the region. Have Ndigbo been marked and earmarked, selectively, for such attacks because of 2023?
The distraining of estates belonging to Trademore International Holding limited owned by a private businessman who is not a politician located at Luxury Apartments, Millennium Apartments, and Ogwumabiri Event center located along Bank road and Finbars road, Umuahia, Abia state is a clear signal that there is a sinister motive behind the whole exercise.
Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and Senator Theodore Ahamefula Orji did excellently well when the held sway as governors. Abians appreciated their selfless service to them which the reciprocated by voting them each for second tenure. Those of us who were in Abia saw what they did with the lean resources at their disposal during their tenures.
It is now a political norm in Nigeria to humiliate and harass any former governor from the South-East no matter his level of performance and good works. Barr. Sam Mbakwe, former governor of old Imo state, and Chief Jim Nwobodo, former governor of old Anambra state, were arrested and incarcerated after a wonderful and impressive service to their people simply because, they were Igbos. Former Vice President of Nigeria Dr. Alex Ekwueme who had nothing to do with award of contracts was equally arrested and detained while the president Shehu Shagari who held the axe of that very government was only placed under “house arrest”.
After 36 years, history is again trying to repeat itself where the same South-East leaders are being used again for target practice after an impressive and selfless service to their people. We will not allow an urgly past to repeat itself again. Abians are happy with their former governors and we demand that they should be allowed to make more positive contributions towards the growth and development of the state and South-East in particular and the nation in general. We know those who borrowed and hired vehicles to campaign for governorship in other zones but after their tenure as governor, the started carrying money in bullion Vans and no body have invited them for questioning let alone prosecuting them.
The South-East is under serious political seige since the zone declared his intentions and desire to contest for the highest office in the country. The EFCC’s so-called investigation on the families of Senator Theodore Orji, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and others is just a ploy to blacklist our political leaders and portray Ndigbo as very corrupt people who are not capable and morally upright to present a credible presidential material for the office of the president come 2023.
Engr. Enyinnaya Nwafor, the son of a former deputy governor of Abia state and currently the Chief Executive Officer of Tunnel End, and Rock Waters Integrated Services LTD has also been taking to cleaners by some unseen forces using the anti-graft agency, EFCC. Could his offence be that he is an Igbo man who should not, by any legitimate means under the right circumstances, prosper in his endeavors?
We call on our people to not be deceived over the wide publication giving credence to the distraining and sealing of purported or perceived Senator T. A. Orji family’s properties or establishment were it is believed he has interest. This fight is not about the family of the former governor but a ploy to tarnish the image and reputation of an entire region. We have been humiliated and persecuted enough, for long. Time is now to stand and resist these politically motivated attacks as collectively, we say “enough is enough”.
We demand that EFCC should allow our leaders to concentrate on their duties at the National Assembly or at any other pace.
Certain of these politicians from the region or Igbo extraction are people who have made their marks in other endeavours before stepping into the political turf with a view to rendering accountable service from their own. Nigeria belong to Nigerians of any faith, creed, region and party affiliation. Since every other region has presided over the affairs of this great nation, the South-East should, in all fairness, have a feel of leadership.
Each state of the South-East will organise a one-million man peaceful protest on the same day in defense of our leaders who have been targeted for humiliation and harassment. The grand finale of the protest will be in Abuja. Date of the peaceful protest will be communicated to all. Ndigbo cannot be silenced.