A leading Igbo socio-cultural group, Igbo Bu Igbo, has responded to the statement credited to Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha, who said during a rally of the All Progressives Congress, APC, which held in Owerri, the Imo State capital on Tuesday, July 3, 2018, that the attainment of Igbo presidency would depend on whether the Igbo support Buhari in 2019 or not.
While speaking as representative of President Muhammadu Buhari at the event, Mustapha had said that the strength of the Igbo in negotiating for the presidency after 2019 would be determined by the support the region gives Buhari at the next presidential election “so that you can navigate your way to the presidency of this country after the second term of President Muhammadu Buhari”.
However, in a press release signed by Dr Law Mefor-Anueyiagu and Jude Ndukwe, Chancellor and Head, Media and Publicity Directorate, respectively, the Igbo group said “Contrary to the thinking of the presidency, the destiny of the Igbo nation is not tied to any one man not to talk of Buhari whose presidency, both in character and in words, has not been fair to the Igbo”.
The statement in full reads:
“We noted with surprise the comments made by Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, who represented his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari at the southeast rally of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Owerri on Tuesday, July 3, 2018, and wish to state that the continued belief that the political destiny of the Igbo would be determined by their support for Buhari at the next presidential election is not only erroneous but an incontrovertible evidence that the presidency still does not understand the Igbo and how they are truly wired.
“Contrary to the thinking of the presidency, the destiny of the Igbo nation is not tied to any one man not to talk of Buhari whose presidency, both in character and in words, has not been fair to the Igbo.
“Ndigbo do not and will never succumb to such cheap blackmail. We will not take a detour from our political beliefs simply because someone somewhere thinks we are so desperate for the presidency to the extent that we would now begin to vote for a government whose administration has brought nothing but sorrow, tears and blood to Nigerians.
“While few have continued to wrongly vilify the Igbo for not supporting President Buhari at the 2015 polls, terming it a political mistake, events unfolding everyday in our nation have continued to justify the position of the Igbo on the Buhari presidency and elevate the Igbo as a region with exceptional vision for spotting political disaster waiting to happen even long before others see it.
“We have always been guided by our famed political sagacity, history and conscience in our choices for the nation’s presidency particularly as it concerns the current 4th Republic.
Our voting patterns have shown that we are neither ethnic bigots nor religious fanatics, nor do we trade in emotional considerations when voting for the president as we fully supported the emergence of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who is a Christian from the southwest; we fully supported the late President Umar Musa Yar’adua who was from the same State with the incumbent and also a Muslim, and we also fully supported former President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from a minority tribe in the south southern part of Nigeria.
“It is on record that the unfortunate events in our nation today have proved that all the past presidents we supported as Ndigbo were far better than the current administration. This is proof that Ndigbo have always been right in their political leanings.
“May we quickly remind the Mustaphas of this world that never has Ndigbo relied mainly on the presidency for survival. In fact, just like he said at the rally, we are leaders in the different areas of this nation’s endeavours including industry, trade & commerce despite the unabated harassment, intimidation, malicious maligning and persecution of our business and political leaders by this same administration.
In education, our students have kept excelling as Abia State has maintained top position in WASCE back to back in the last three years. All these have been achieved despite the systemic marginalization and official subjugation of the Igbo nation.
“Lastly, we wish to inform Boss Mustapha that the inability of his boss to be magnanimous in victory to all sides and prove that despite the happenings at the elections in which winners and losers must emerge no matter the voting pattern of any region, that he is the leader of the whole nation and not the president of only certain parts of the country thereby causing his ratings even before the entire world to continue to nosedive freely, is not the fault of the Igbo.
Three years down the line, Buhari has not given the Igbo any cause to regret not voting for him at the 2015 elections. Rather, he has enforced what we always knew about him to the chagrin of even a majority of those who merrily voted for him.
“Once again, we reiterate that our destiny as a people is not, cannot and will never be tied to Buhari. We have never flinched in making our political choices even if it means we have to go it all alone. For Ndigbo, time always vindicates us. It is Buhari who should court us with fairness, equity and justice, as expected of a leader, and not us expected to cower before him because someone thinks our political destiny is tied to him!”