BY CLIFFORD NDUJIHE, Deputy Political Editor
SENATOR Uche Chukwumerije’s pedigree in the crusade for Igbo self identity is almost universally acknowledged. So, given the seeming lethargy that has enveloped the political leaders of the region especially with respect to the 2015 presidential contest, it was not surprising that Chukwumerije would make an intervention on the course and consequences of Igbo abstention in the contest.
Speaking penultimate weekend to a select audience of Ndigbo political elite, Senator Chukwumerije, PDP, Abia North warned that Igbo nonparticipation in 2015 would inevitably mean political suicide for one of three regional blocks upon which post-colonial Nigeria was founded.
The senator spoke at the 2012 end-of-year colloquium of the Igbo Youth Movement, IYM held at the Nike Lake Resort Enugu, under the theme: “Nigeria; in search of true federalism.”
Notable persons honoured at the colloquium include literary icon, Professor Chinua Achebe, Dr Okechukwu Ikejiani, and Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu for distinguishing themselves and making Ndigbo and Nigeria proud. Also honoured at the event were former Ohanaeze presidents, Justice Eze Ozobu and Dozie Ikedife, Prince Emeka Onyesoh of Nri Kingdom and Rev. Ukandu Ucheya.
Speaking on the topic “Ndigbo and 2015: An exhortation,” Chukwumerije said: “Ndigbo are in trouble politically and unless very urgent and decisive remedies are summoned to tackle this unbecoming situation we will disappear completely from Nigeria’s political map.
Every other national group, big and small, but the Igbo, are currently unifying their ranks, realigning their forces, establishing linkages, creating alliances and girding their loins for the grate political confrontation ahead. What do we witness in Igbo land other than disunity, inaction, inertia, silence? Can we continue to live like this, to abandon our homesteads for others to pollute, to confuse and to exploit?
“‘The answer is capital no! We must take control of our political destiny; we cannot outsource it to any other person or group. To do so is to mortgage our existence, our future, and our place in Nigeria’s political history.
Ndigbo must make uncompromising bid for presidency in 2015
Ndigbo must make an unqualified, unapologetic and uncompromising bid for the Nigerian presidency in 2015. Failure to this will amount to political suicide. Our presidential bid has all required moral content.
It also has a geo-strategic value as well as a demographic force behind it. Even though Ndigbo are the largest single demographic group in Nigeria , we won’t be making an ethnic bid for power. We will be making a national bid, by talking to others, by convincing them about the imperative necessity of a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction, by establishing strategic partnerships, by counting on our goodwill built over the years and by expanding our political capital wisely and judiciously.
A national bid for presidential power operates in the context of the existing political parties and formations and the aggregate interests they represent. Ndigbo are well represented in the PDP and can become even more relevant to the power dynamics and power relations in it if we do the right things and take the right steps.
We cannot be strong outside in the rest of Nigeria without being strong at home. Our unity is the source of our strength but that unity is currently lacking among the Igbo elite.
If we are united, no force, no matter how formidable it may be, will withstand our political resurgence, our political re-birth and a powerful bid for the presidency in 2015.
Igbo must carry other Nigerians along
The senator, who acknowledged that the Igbo cannot go it alone proffered elaborate strategies to actualize the objective. He said: “We cannot do this alone. We cannot accomplish our political project by ourselves alone. We need the support and understanding of others. We can never achieve this without effort, sacrifice and hard work.
We must have a team ready and up and running, meeting our contemporaries, our friends and neighbours, and even those who are not presently enthused about the prospects of Igbo presidency in 2015. It is our responsibility to convince them, to change their mode of thought and to bring them on our column.
Can we realize the goal of Igbo presidency in 2015? I honestly don’t know. Can we realize it in 2019? I also don’t know. Is any other group certain they will get it in 2015 or 2019? My answer is that if they are honest with themselves, they too don’t know. All I do know is that we will work very hard to attain this objective, we must do all that is needful to realize our aspiration.
Let us have a good political fight, let us render a good account of ourselves; let us say no to thunder and the other elements. Let us believe that we can, not by just mouthing it as a phrase or a slogan, but by working out our socks off beginning from today.”