Allay fears of secession
By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-LEADERS OF the South East Geopolitical Zone have renewed their demand for the president of Ibo extraction in the 2023 presidential poll,insisting that it was the turn of the Ibo to occupy the position.
This came as they allayed fears of secession if given the position to occupy the the number one position in the country,saying the region was more concerned about the unity of the country.
Speaking under the aegis,”Igbo Leadership Development Foundation,ILDF”,at a media conference,Thursday,they said denial of the region to produce president in 2023 would be misconstrued as not accepting it in the Nigerian entity.
The group, which comprises the likes of the former Minister of Power and ex-Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria,Nsuka,Prof. Chinedu Nebo,Chairman of New Generation Leadership Development Foundation,Dr. Godwin Udibe,Seasoned writer and Media Management Consultant,Dr. Law Mefor,Dr. Emeka Okengwu,Nze Elvis Agukwe ,Dr. Ifedi Okwenna, Comrade Auston Ifedinezi,among others,regretted that the country had not been fair to the Igbo race following its continued alienation of the region in national affairs.
Reading a prepared text of the briefing on behalf of the group,Dr Law Mefor,said the group and its allies were planning to organize debate for national unity,which he explained,”centred on Restructuring and Rotation of Presidential Power in Nigeria.”
“If not a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction, then why?If not in 2023, then when? If not in Nigeria, then where?,” the group asked in a prepared text read to newsmen through Dr Law Mefor.
According to the group,”The task of building a united, progressive nation is a task that must involve all patriotic citizens and accomplishing such an arduous task will be impossible if any part of the country is alienated or excluded.”
The text read further: “Regrettably, our dear country Nigeria is still facing challenges of national unity, integration and development,he said,adding that,” These challenges are borne out of the fact that the structure of the country and mode of governance have remained too dysfunctional, forcing most indices of development to stubbornly persist on the negative side.
He added:”The other side of the same coin is the knotty issue of presidential power in Nigeria.
“When the nation returned to democratic governance in 1999, a convention was struck on rotation of power between North and South Nigeria and between their zones.
“This has led to the production of two Presidents from the North West of the country and 1 from South West and one from South South, leaving out the South East and the North East in the equation.
“We also believe that in the same spirit of rotation, presidential power needs to return to South in 2023, and particularly to the South East since it is the only zone yet produce a President for the country in the present dispensation from the Southern divide.
“Our group recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari, in his maiden media chat, challenged the South East people to organize and assert their rights within an indivisible, indissoluble Nigeria. We also note that the 5 States in the South East will not make anyone from there Nigerian President. In fact, the Constitution requires a spread of at least 25% in at least in 24 States to produce a Nigeria President.
“This reality is part of what has informed the decision of ILDF in conjunction with Igbo Renaissance Foundation, World Igbo Summit Group and others to convene the Great Debate on Restructuring and Rotation of Presidential powers in Nigeria come January 30, 2020 here in Abuja. This national conversation to engender unity and equity has become quite inevitable and needs to be supported by all well-meaning Nigerians.
“We plan to invite key Nigerian leaders, groups and critical stakeholders, irrespective of their persuasions and leanings to bring their best and finest arguments to the table. Even God Almighty once told man as recorded in the Holy Book, Come, let us reason together. And like a former Prime Minister of Britain Winston Churchill once said: Let’s jaw jaw than war war.
“Our group plans to move round the country to engage other zones and to lobby and convince them on the inherent benefits of Nigeria President of Igbo extraction.
“One thing is sure in this proposal: the very nature and culture of the Igbo is business-like. Though the leadership of Nigeria by an Igbo man or woman may not be a silver bullet or a cure- all for the leadership deficits of the country, he or she certainly will not run Nigeria in a patronising manner. His or her leadership shall be a win-win for all sections of the country since he lives among all Nigerians in all nooks and crannies of the country.
“While touring zones of the country, one other big issue to engage our team is dispelling the notion that the 1966 military coup was an Igbo coup. No ethnic group carries out a coup against a government in which they enjoy commanding heights and primacy of place; or, botch a coup which they orginzed to enthrone their own hegemony as Generals JTU Aguiyi -Ironsi and Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu did to stop that first military porsche.
“Ndigbo have been greviously accused in this regard and even more grievously have they borne this burden of fallacious history. To us, therefore, it is high time we set that record straight for the sake of posterity and for the sake of generations of Nigerians who have been fed this lie for decades.”