BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
Some stakeholders in the South East have debunked widespread insinuations that the country would cease to exist should the Igbo produce the next president in the 2023 general elections.
The stakeholders, including, civil society organisations, analysts and leaders of thoughts in Igbo land, while speaking in Enugu, capital of Enugu State, said that the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, could not force an Igbo President to declare Biafra.
A lecturer from Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Diezani Aja, said that some tribes in the country had tried to force their kins in the presidency to declare them an independent nation without achieving the aim.
Aja stated that any attempt by Kanu or any group in the region to mount pressure on an elected Igbo President would fail.
The lecturer stressed that an Igbo man would emerge as Nigerian President once the people of the South East begin to show greater commitment to the politics and governance of the country at the center, urging that the Igbo should aggregate their resources and interest to fight for the presidency in the coming elections.
He said, “The rumour that Nnamdi Kanu or IPOB will force an Igbo President to declare Biafra is not something that anyone should worry about because it’s not new. In 1993, the Yorubas formed Oduduwa Nation and kept pushing Olusegun Obasanjo to declare them a country just as the Ijaws did in the time of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“So, even if Kanu will force an Igbo President to declare Biafra, it’s not a must that he (the president) will grant such demand, after all, situations like that had arisen in the past and they failed. What is important now is for the Ndigbo to start talking about integration and how to create strategies that will give room for a Southern presidential candidate to run in 2023.
“We (Igbos) still have a year and some months to plan and I am sure that good mobilisation and aggregation of resources of all stakeholders will definitely give us what we want. This presidential candidate doesn’t have to be someone from a known party but someone whose personality can be marketed. In the past elections, the Igbos provided credible and good candidates and I believe that can still be achieved as we approach 2023 general elections.
“If the South can come out with their resources to fight for power and equity, we will definitely get the presidency. We have all that it takes to produce the next president of this country and for justice to prevail, the South East should be allowed to rule Nigeria.
“If an Igbo woman, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, can be the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, what stops us from producing an Igbo President? The Igbos just have to work with the right frame of mind, use the right strategies and achieve what they want.”
Also, the Executive Director of Igbo Concerns Network, Chukwuma Okenwa, noted that it was just for the South East to produce the next president but observed that the Igbos are not organised and ready to occupy the number political seat in the country.
Okenwa said that Igbo presidency would calm secession agitations in the country, adding that Nigeria would be more united and strengthened with an Igbo person ruling at the federal level.
He advised the Igbos to show seriousness, organise themselves and agree on leaders that would champion the course of producing the next Nigerian president.
He said, “The Easterners are not organised. They need to first ask themselves what they really want because the reality is that for peace, we (Igbos) have to allow negotiation. I believe that an Igbo President in 2023 will, to an extent, calm the agitation of the Biafrans. But, our (Igbos) inability to walk together and agree to a king (leader) is part of our problem and will continue to be a threat till we agree. Nobody will ever take us serious if we continue to disparage our leaders and ignore them.”