By Ochereome Nnanna & Clifford Ndujihe
OWERRI—ALL is set for a grand summit of Igbo political leaders, especially those positively disposed to the preservation of the zoning arrangement of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, today in Hotel Concorde, Owerri.
The summit, which is organised by the Igbo Political Forum, IPF, will be chaired by former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, has “Setting A New Agenda For the Igbo Nation,” as theme.
This is coming as deep-seated controversies trail the parley with some groups urging
Igbo leaders to distance themselves from the gathering because it was allegedly meant to endorse a northern presidential aspirant.
One of the groups that kicked against the parley is the Eastern Peoples Forum, which claimed that the South-East and Ndigbo were for President Goodluck Jonathan, just as one of the organisers, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu, dismissed as false allegations that the parley was to endorse a northern presidential aspirant.
Kalu said: “Those saying so don’t know what they are talking about. They are just out to malign people. The meeting is to discuss strategies for Ndigbo, rebuild political alignments, look at the political structure and framework for Ndigbo to launch themselves into political action as well as to update Ndigbo stakeholders on what is happening because our people are scattered all over the globe.
There is nothing like endorsing anybody. The meeting would have been held long before anyone declared to run the presidential race.”
To show that Ndigbo were taking the parley seriously, he said that Igbo leaders had started arriving in large numbers and “we started accreditation this (yesterday) evening.”
Indeed, as at yesterday, Dr. Ekwueme led a long list of Igbo political dignitaries, who arrived for the event.
They include former President of the Senate, Chief Ken Nnamani, former Governor of old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo, former Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Chief Simeon Okeke; former running mate of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Director General of the Aliyu Gusau Presidential Campaign Organisation, Senator Ben Obi; former Minister of Health, Prof. ABC Nwosu; Director General of the Bukola Saraki Presidential Campaign Organisation, Dr. Udenta O Udenta, and the Secretary of the IPF, Chief Chyna Iwuanyanwu.
Others are former Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Victor Umeh, leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, Barrister Ralph Uwazuruike; and a host of others.
Ikemba Ojukwu sending delegation
Leader of APGA, Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu, will be sending a high-powered delegation.
Today’s summit had been proposed since July 2010 when Igbo leaders signed a pact with their counterparts from the northern states, which was represented by a powerful team, including presidential aspirants, General Ibrahim Babangida and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; Malam Adamu Ciroma, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, Profs. Jibril Aminu, Ango Abdullahi, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, Chief Audu Ogbe and others.
The pact upheld the zoning principle of the PDP and called for the presidency to be occupied by a Northerner in 2011 to complete the unfinished turn of the North consequent upon the untimely demise of late President Umaru Yar’ Adua.
It was agreed that the Igbo nation would support the North in this endeavour, whereby the North would return the favour after only one term in office and support the Igbo in producing the president of the country in 2015.
Speaking with our correspondent, the IPF Scribe, Chyna Iwuanyanwu, argued that the South East was the only geopolitical zone in the country that has not occupied the office of President in an elected capacity.
He said: “The Yorubas fought because of the annulled June 12 election and the presidency was zoned to them in 1999. The Niger Delta fought, and their son, President Goodluck Jonathan, was chosen as Vice President of Umaru Yar’ Adua.
Today, he is the President of Nigeria. The Igbo nation has determined that 2015 is their year of destiny. Zoning of the Presidency to the North for only one term of office is the surest way of achieving the emergence of Igbo president.
“We, the Igbo nation, have sacrificed our right to contest the presidency this year. It is a deliberate and tactical withdrawal to enable us prepare for 2015, our year of destiny.
Our insistence on zoning is not meant to thwart the ambition of President Jonathan or that of the South_South. Rather, it is an assertion of our right to pursue Igbo political interest and to stay true to a sacred pact that is designed to promote and preserve the stability of the Nigerian nation.”