The Minister of Transport, and a former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi has called on the Igbo nation to engage with others and immerse itself fully in national politics.
He stated that present day politicians of Igbo extraction, unlike in time past have found it difficult to play an active part in national politics, to enable them take up prominent roles, and benefit.
The Minister spoke on Thursday at the 12th Convocation Lecture of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State.
Even as he asked, he went down the path of history querying, ‘Why is Abuja politics so difficult for the Igbo to play?, (King) Jaja (of Opobo) was the Igbo born champion of the 19th century and Zik (Nnamdi Azikiwe) of the 20th century. The 21st century yearns for that champion. The theatre of politics for the coastal and inland states of Eastern Nigeria before colonialism, was in Bonny and for the colonial and post-colonial politics of Nigeria, it was in Lagos. Jaja excelled in Bonny while Zik excelled in Lagos. Why is Abuja politics so difficult for the Igbo to play?”
He postulated thus, “Perhaps, we are on the wrong track and employing the wrong paradigms. The Igbo nation should engage with others and immerse itself fully in national politics just like Jaja and Zik did. The handshake across the Niger celebrated recently in Enugu by Ohaneze Ndigbo and Nzuko Umunna is welcome but a handshake across the Benue is most desirable now.
“Just like Jaja and Zik did. The handshake across the Niger celebrated recently in Enugu by Ohaneze Ndigbo and Nzuko Umunna is welcome but a handshake across the Benue is most desirable now”, he said.
He added, “Since 1999, the Igbo people have always voted for the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP]. There is nothing wrong with that but the question must be asked; has the PDP justified that support or reciprocated it in any manner? Is that support really earned?
“The complaint now is that the All Progressive Congress [APC] government of President Muhammadu Buhari abandoned the South East and is marginalizing them. Without conceding to that, let us compare a situation where the PDP you voted for gave you a few appointments here and there and denied you any major developmental projects. As against the APC government of President Buhari, you did not vote for and who even if he denied you appointments, has certainly not denied you crucial developmental projects”.
Amaechi therefore called on the Igbo nation to “focus on solutions not recriminations”, adding,”In what political direction should the Igbo go? Let the quarrel with the north real or imagined stop. Let the recriminations stop and let us join hands as one people to chart the way forward for a brighter future for Nigeria”.
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