Once again, prominent Igbo leaders, have once again drummed up the call for the 2023 presidency to go to the South-East for the sake of equity and fairness.
Those who spoke included Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma; Chairman of the Elders Council of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Emmanuel Iwuayanwu; First Republic Minister, Mbazuluike Amechi; the Obi of Onitsha, Alfred Achebe; former military governor of old Imo State, Ike Nwachukwu and the immediate past President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, John Nnia Nwodo.
The Igbo leaders who made the plea on Sunday at a reception in honour of the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Professor George Obiozor, organised by Governor Hope Uzodimma, at the Government House, Owerri, said the region has cried long enough and 2023 was the best time for them to get the presidency.
According to Uzodinma who gave the keynote address at the occasion, the “Igbo have cried enough in their quest to produce Nigeria’s President of Igbo extraction in the 2023 general elections” and as such, all political parties should zone their presidential tickets to the South-East region.
“I am worried that while the Igbo have an unassailable case over their post-civil war treatment and plight in the Nigerian federal project, the logic of that case may be compromised by the temperamental actions of non-state actors, to the peril of everyone.
“This is why I think that the time has come for every patriotic Nigerian to rise and address the Igbo question. What cannot be taken away is that for too long, the Igbo have cried out profusely over their plight.
“This plight is comparable to the plight of the southwest over the annulment of the June 12 elections. Following that annulment, the southwest felt short-changed.
“They cried out for justice. While some groups did so responsibly, others resorted to violence. The instructive thing here is that at a point, the patriotic zeal of the political class in Nigeria was touched and they rose in unison to acknowledge that the Yoruba had cried enough and that it was time to wipe their tears.
“That was why the two major political parties in Nigeria fielded only Yoruba candidates for the 1999 presidential election. Of course, even a political neophyte knew that this was not accidental, but a well-planned act by a group of patriots who had placed the unity of Nigeria uppermost in their minds.
“It is now obvious from every indication that Ndigbo have also cried enough about their marginalization. It should also be clear to the political class that the time has come to wipe these historical tears of Ndigbo. What is more, most of the patriots who engineered the plan that made the southwest produce the presidential candidates for the two major political parties in 1999 are still alive and active in politics.
“That same undying love for the country that inspired them to do what they did for the southwest in 1999 should inspire them to do the same for the southeast in 2023. The West, the North, the East and the South are all important in our quest for national unity.
“This is a clarion call on the political class to do the needful. As the Igbo saying goes, ‘E mee nwata etu emere ibe ya, obi adi ya nma,’ this simply means, that the only way to make a child happy is to treat him or her the same way you treated the other child,” Uzodimma said.
On his part, Iwuayanwu said:
“Any Igbo man that is not hungry for this Igbo presidency is a fool. I chaired a committee on this issue. The South-South, South-West and other regions have all agreed that the South-East should produce the presidency including the Middle Belt. We are seriously on this issue of Igbo presidency.”
Also contributing, the Obi of Onitsha, said:
“We have said that Igbo will rule Nigeria. We have agreed to pursue it, but in doing that, we must give peace a chance in Igboland. We must stop killing our brothers and sisters. We must make peace and create opportunity for our youths. We need peace harmony and reconciliation.”
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