It’s insulting for Obasanjo to tell Igbo to contest for 2019 presidency — Nwosu
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It’s insulting for Obasanjo to tell Igbo to contest for 2019 presidency — Nwosu

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Former Minister of Health, Prof. A.B.C. Nwosu, speaks on the issues surrounding the emergence of an Igbo as president in Nigeria

Question: Former President Olusegun Obasanjo recently called on the Igbo to take shot at the presidency in 2019. Do you appreciate his call?

Answer: We thank him for saying it but he is not the person who will tell us when we want to become president of our country.

Question: Why do you say that?

Answer: Obasanjo contested in 1999 against Dr. Alex Ekwueme. He also contested in 2003 when Dr. Ekwueme had declared (his intention to contest) and he won. So, it is not the first time people of Igbo extraction or affiliation have indicated interest in the presidency but they were stopped. Most importantly, Ndigbo feel insulted when somebody from outside tells them what to do. It wasn’t the Igbo who told other ethnic groups when it was their turn to have it. Telling us what to do, no matter how well meaning it is, doesn’t go down well with the Igbo. The Igbo people think they have enough leaders, wise men and more sensible people who can sit down for the South-East and determine what their political trajectory should be in Nigeria. It would also feel insulting if Dr. Ekwueme should advise the Yoruba to go for the presidency; or Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe or Ike Nwachukwu advising the Fulani or other zones on when they should be president. I think the Igbo should be left alone to determine where they want to go. If you want to support, please support them. If you don’t want to support them, when they have made up their mind, you also have the right to do so. But to give us an unsolicited advice like that, when you don’t really know what we want, is an insult to the South-East.

Former President Obasanjo was my boss; he is an elder statesman and we respect him very much, but respect is reciprocal. If he didn’t know it, he should know that Igbo people feel very sensitive about being tele-guided on what to do. And if you want to remember what (late) Professor Chinua Achebe said about the East, it has to do with this kind of thing. That was why he refused to accept national honours. I think that is why most Igbo will take sides with Achebe on matters like this. People should leave us to determine what we want to do.

Culled from Punch, February 5, 2017

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