•No group is united in Nig, we’re proud of our republican nature
•Equity, justice require next president should come from S/East
•Emergence of Igbo president dependent on kingmakers —Chief Onyike
•Ebubeagu, Igbo presidency will fail ——Prof Okolie
By Vincent Ujumadu; Chidi Nkwopara; Dennis Agbo;
By Peter Okutu; Steve Oko &
When criminal Fulani herdsmen were Kaduna terrorizing the country, kidnapping for ransom, killing and destroying farmlands, the South West region of the country responded by setting up a regional security outfit which the region named Amotekun.
The Federal Government objected to the security outfit but all the governors of the six states in the region, with the total backing of all the stakeholders including the traditional rulers, the elders and the youths insisted until it became a reality with the State Houses of Assembly passing the bill to give it a legal backing.
In the South Eastern part of the country, some youths, backed by IPOB, attempted to replicate Amotekun by establishing the Eastern Security Network, ESN. But last week, the five governors announced their regional security outfit which they called Ebube Agu.
This, however did not enjoy the overwhelming support of the people of the South East as it happened in the South West.
There were discordant tunes everywhere and the opposition to the formation of Ebubeagu was so fierce that IPOB threatened that whoever joined it could be on the way to join their ancestors.
Following this seeming disunity, not unusual among Ndigbo, there are talks that it would be an uphill task for the South East to achieve a consensus that will enable them produce the president for the country in 2023.
Some Igbo leaders and stakeholders have however shared their views on what non Igbo consider as lack of unity among Ndigbo declaring that discordant tunes over Ebube Agu should not suggest that Igbo would not be united on 2023 presidency.
Ndigbo do not need to be 100% united before producing the President—Ohuabunwa
Former Chairman of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, in his opinion argued that the discordant tunes over the Ebubeagu regional security outfit announced by South East governors did not in any way suggest that Ndigbo were not united on the Nigeria President of Igbo extraction project in 2023. Ohuabunwa said that “Ndigbo do not need to be 100% united before producing the President of the country in 2023.”
The former President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria rather submitted that what was needed was for other regions of the country to first agree to allow the Igbo to produce President in 2023. He further argued that when ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo was running for President in 1999 the whole Yoruba nation was not united behind him but that did not stop the race from producing the President as the major political parties ceded their presidential tickets to the region.
According to him, Ndigbo are republican in nature and can never be on the same page on every matter unlike some tribes where the opinion of one person is upheld by others. He said that the discordant tunes that greeted the formation of Ebubeagu regional security outfit did not suggest that the Nigeria President of Igbo extraction project could not be achieved. Mazi Ohuabunwa challenged Nigerians to first agree that Ndigbo would produce President Muhamnadu Buhari’s successor and see whether or not the tribe would be united in producing a competent presidential material..
“It doesn’t require any special unity. Ndigbo can always agree at critical times. Let Nigeria first accept that Igbo will produce President in 2023. Were Yoruba united in 1999 when Obasanjo became President? Some Yoruba openly opposed him. Equity and justice require that the next President should come from South East”, he said.
Ohuabunwa noted that everybody had his own concept of Ebubeagu or regional security outfit for the South East, and that the differences among the people did not mean lack of unity.
In his own submission, the Chancellor of Gregory University, Professor Greg Ibe said that the governors should be given more time to come out fully on the modus operandi of the security outfit.
Professor Ibe said that “since the governors are the political leaders of Ndigbo for now, they should be given some time to decide on the modus operandi of the regional security outfit.”
Professor Ibe said he believed that the governors must be doing some consultations on how best the outfit could be run to produce the desired result. He said that the discordant tunes over the security outfit did not in any way suggest that Ndigbo were not united on the quest for the 2023 President of Igbo extraction adding that as time draws nearer the coast will be getting clearer. He however, harped on the need for Ndigbo to stay united on the project to avoid losing the bid to other regions saying, “when you fail to get yourself organised somebody somewhere will do it for you and foist it on you, coming together now is the way to go”.
Igbo flexible leadership, something to be proud of — Amucheazi
Secretary of Igbo Leaders of Thought, ILT, Prof. Elochukwu Amucheazi said that the republican nature of Ndigbo was responsible for their flexible leadership, which he said was nothing to worry about but a thing of pride to the ethnic group. He further said that there was no ethic group anywhere in the world or in Nigeria that would always have consensus on topical issues, such as security or leadership and expressed his support for both Ebube Agu and ESN.
Prof Amucheazi, an emeritus Professor of Political Science in the University of Nigeria Nsukka, was the National Coordinator of Mass Mobilization for Self Reliance, Social Justice and Economic Recovery, MAMSER under the General Ibrahim Babaginda administration in 1987.
He said that for the fact that the Igbo appear divided on the security machinery such as EbubeAgu or Eastern Security Network, ESN, should not be a thing to worry about, maintaining that when the time for Igbo presidency comes in 2023, a president of Igbo extraction will emerge without much qualms.
Amucheazi said: “I welcome the establishment of Ebube Agu, the ESN can continue their own independently. I expect the governors to rally round and equip Ebubeagu, fund them and give them incentives. There is no group that is not divided over one thing or the other, whether it is Ndigbo, Yoruba, Hausa or Fulani or the middle belt. Every time people talk about north speaking with one voice but the north is made up of over 200 ethnic groups. They claim that they are supervising others but they are not, it’s a handful of them, the cabal, which take decisions and even amongst them there are people who differ. You don’t expect unanimity in any issue at a particular time. The important thing is for the governors to live up to their responsibility.”
He said that the seeming division among Ndigbo will not jeopardize the Igbo Presidency project.
“We are winning the presidency; Ndigbo will have the presidency in 2023, if the election will take place. All these things they are saying are merely to divert our attention, to see if they can outsmart us but it’s all nonsense I can tell you. Why should we have consensus when both the APC and the PDP will have separate candidates? These are diversionary talks that people are saying. I don’t think there is any problem in all these things, no matter their diversionary method. No group is united in Nigeria, sometimes people say there is no leadership in Igboland, but it is our flexible leadership which is what we have to be proud of. The leadership is there and at the appropriate time it will emerge,” Amucheazi said.