Alleges high-ranking Igbos have continued to sabotage aspirations
He’s right…Igbo republican nature a problem — OHANAEZE
By Anayo Okoli & Ugochukwu Alaribe
Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, who represented Abia North senatorial district in the eighth Senate, has said that some Igbo people who betrayed Dr. Alex Ekwueme during the PDP presidential primaries in Jos, in 1998, made things difficult for Ndigbo in their quest to occupy the presidency.
He alleged that Ekwueme who was the leading candidate during the PDP primaries, was already coasting to victory when some Igbo sons betrayed him and since then, Ndigbo have not been able to speak with one voice.
Ohuabunwa, who stated this in an interview with newsmen in Umuahia, insisted that Ndigbo need to sit back and take a stock on why they are yet to produce a president.
He stated that some high ranking Igbo sons whom he described as bad eggs in the political system have continued to sabotage the aspirations of Ndigbo to lead Nigeria.
In his words: “I think Ndigbo have always aspired to the Nigerian presidency. As far as I’m concerned, I can give you account of Ndigbo who had aspired to lead Nigeria. But we have ourselves to blame on the situation. I think we need to sit back and take a stock on why we are yet to produce a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction. I was present at Jos, Plateau State for the PDP presidential primaries in 1998 where Dr. Alex Ekwueme was the leading candidate for the party’s presidential flag; Ndigbo were already coasting to victory, but Ekwueme was betrayed by our own brothers. I was a delegate from the state because I had already won my election into the House of Representatives.
“Those who took us to Jos got there and sold Ndigbo out. Dr. Alex Ekwueme was already on course to win the presidency. We lost to our brothers who sold out Ekwueme for their selfish ends. We know these people and we clap for them. They are the commercial agents in the system.
“After the sell out, this same people later came to say they want to become President. Our problem is that some people will sabotage and use others to negotiate. Until we come together, take stock and pluck the bad eggs out of the system, it would be difficult to actualize Igbo presidency. Ndigbo have been unable to produce a president because of these commercial agents.
“Now, this same people have started shouting and selling out Ndigbo again. I won’t like to shout for Igbo presidency while some people are using it to betray us for their selfish ends. It can never work. Any Igbo person that feels he is qualified should aspire because if we are to go by geopolitical considerations, it is the turn of the Ndigbo to produce the next President of Nigeria. But it is time for our people to speak out against these commercial agents in the system.
“You don’t get the presidency by just shouting it. We need to stand out, but instead of standing out, some people will use their brothers to negotiate.”
However, reacting to the allegation, Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prince Uche Achi- Ogbaga said: “I would not say that he is wrong. Instead, I see it from a different perspective.
“So, it is not sabotage so to say, but our way of life. We make upright decisions and stick to it not minding whose ox is gored.
“Igbo do not renege on political promises and agreements. IBB, Abacha, Abubakkar, OBJ, Yar’Adua, GEJ, all had Igbo in their kitchen cabinets and they gave out their hearts in all ramifications.
“The present administration could not achieve or impress Nigerians because no Igbo have been trusted to be brought in to give direction to the government.
“Earlier, there were visible political interplays that depicted the spirit of one Nigeria. MKO Abiola was from the South-West. He contested the presidential election with Alhaji Bashir Tofa, a northerner, in 1993. MKO won overwhelmingly before.
“It was annulled by the then military President IBB. The northerners did not consider ethnicity nor islamism. The North did not mind that Tofa was their own blood. OBJ defeated other contestants (including Buhari from the North) in the presidential election with votes from other regions (including the north) other than his own Southwest region.
“In short, in the first term OBJ (PDP) lost to AD in the his own Southwest. They did not mind that he was their own blood.
“In 2011, GEJ won the presidential election including votes from the north. He defeated other candidates including Buhari from the north.
“Then ethnicity was not the issue, religion was not the issue as well.
“In the case of Ekwueme in the PDP primaries of 1999, it was a negligible few lgbos who worked against him and one could not have expected the entire lgbo politicians, given our egalitarian and republican nature, to queue behind one person when such could not even be obtained in other regions in previous or later political episodes.
“The present ethnic chauvinism and religious extremism was ignited and deliberately perpetrated by the present administration for an orchestrated selfish, myopic infested and thoughtless driven intentions.
“The lgbos are nationalist in nature. They depict, exhibit and dramatise it in all ramifications.”