By Chioma Gabriel
CHIEF Frank Kokori, former General Secretary of The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG and a nephew of former Deputy Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly under Okwesilieze Nwodo administration, Prince Nice Kenechukwu Okwor, have added their voices to the call for Nigerian President of Igbo extraction.
In his recent interaction with Journalists, Chief Kokori said the problems with Nigeria boil down to leadership and the inability of Nigerians to vote incompetent people because of pre-occupation with the money politicians use to buy their votes and consciences.
Looking holistically at the state of the nation, Kokori said that Nigeria’s problem would only be solved when the leaders and the led learn to do things in the interest of the country. Kokori also supported the Presidency going to the South-East in the interest of equity and justice.
On the debate of whether the East has competent hands should the Presidency go to the zone, Kokori affirmed that the region has a lot of competent people just like other zones in Nigeria, but lamented that due to money politics, those competent leaders end up not seeing the light of the day.
Kokori went ahead to suggest the likes of Mr. Peter Obi for consideration, based on his character, track record and unassailable disposition to life. His words: “I am not an Igbo man, but there are few people in Nigeria that I know that if you give them this position (President) in the East, a person like Peter Obi, he won’t be tribalistic. Peter Obi can rule this country. We are not friends but I have got some close experience with him. Look at what he did in Anambra and he left a lot of money with the successor (Willie Obiano) to continue with the development of the state. This is a few of the good people that we have and you can’t change them. Peter Obi is a good man, simple, focused, he demystified power.”
Besides the likes of Obi, Kokori continued: “I also trust Okwesilieze Nwodo and there are few others. There are some good people in this country. They are everywhere in the North, South, Middle Belt, etc, that I know personally that can do something. I just mentioned the Igbo. Others abound in other places.”
On the coming election in Edo State, he called for a level playing ground and for all those concerned to allow the best candidate according to the will of the people to emerge.
Why an Igbo needs to be President—Okwor
In his own submission, the Canada-based Prince Okwor, nephew of a former deputy speaker of Enugu State State House of Assembly, under Okwesilieze Nwodo, said the Igbo should be given an opportunity to contribute their own quota in nation-building of the country.
“I am a strong believer of the Nigerian dream and I hope that together, we can achieve it by a proper restructuring of our old fashioned agenda and a total amendment of our constitution ever since the colonial days. Let’s make a revisit to the whole constitutional laws to suit in our today Nigeria. Igbos are Nigerians and should be opportuned to contribute to nation building.
“For so long, zoning has been working and I think it’s acceptable by my people. Changing it now will distract a lot from the peace the people are enjoying for over 20yrs of democracy now.”
Okwor asked the Igbo to exercise patience over the agitation for a new state of Biafra, saying “Yes, the struggle is real but I must plead with our people to be patient with the country. Let’s see if we can achieve our purpose by presenting a new Nigeria with an Igbo President. Considering the fact that we have been through a lot in the past, we cannot afford to go with nothing. I urge that the Igbo be given a chance to do what’s right.
“There should be a structure that will create unity among us. There should be equality in every aspect of our national inheritance from all angles. Again, I think the Igbo should be given an opportunity to head the country for once to balance the equation. And it must have to be a leader with integrity
“Our leaders have their roles to play and the masses on their part have to be realistic about assisting the government to build a better Nigeria for all.”
Talking about Enugu State where he hailed from, Okwor said that Enugu State, unlike other states in the south east is very peaceful under the present Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
“The sitting governor has been trying his best to build a friendly relationship amongst the politicians in the state and positively, he has been contributing vehemently to the successful growth of our state. Considering the security of our dear state, I suggest the governor builds more security measures that will help to eradicate the crimes in the state. He should import some security equipment and endeavour to provide a better job opportunity for the youths so that their minds will be occupied. He is trying his best and he is a good guy from the grassroots and responds to anything concerning the masses.
“For Dr Ngige to call for the banishment of a man of Prince Engr Arthur Eze’s stature, not only in Nigeria, but the entire world is, to say the least, most irresponsible, callous, derogatory and unbecoming of an accidental minister.
“Let us warn that if Ngige makes any further unpleasant statement against our principal, we shall be left with no option than to publish some facts and materials at our disposal which will shock Nigerians on the person and individual known as the labour minister.
“Arthur eze’s personality is a profile of world recognition on grounds of philanthropy, industrialization, business acumen, economic vibrancy, and political sagacity”.