By Ugochukwu Alaribe – Umuahia
Following the failure of the Igbo man to clinch the presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressive Congress,APC, and the major opposition party ,the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, chieftain of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prince Richard Ozobu,has said that the Igbo can only actualize their dream of producing a Nigerian president through going into political alliances with other sections of the country.
Ozobu told Vanguard since it is known that no section of the country can produce a president on its own,Ndigbo could have long concluded an alliance through the support and acceptance of other zones.
He advised that producing the president requires tact ,strategy and long term planning and alliances in reaching out to various interest groups across the federation.
In his words; “No tribe can get the presidency alone,you must get the support and acceptance of others through going into alliances with other sections of the country.Since Igbo leaders are aware of this fact, what have they done to get the support and acceptance of other zones for the Igbo presidency project?
“You can see that most of the Igbo aspirants in the last presidential primaries were not even prepared. None of them told us their agenda. Most of the Igbo presidential aspirants were only campaigning in Abuja.We didn’t see their posters in any of the Igbo cities.There was no interface with Igbo leaders on their vision. Igbo votes can’t make anyone president neither can it deny anyone the presidency as we have seen.
Therefore ,we must learn our lessons. We must emulate the great Dr.Nnamdi Azikiwe and Dr. Michael Okpara who entered into alliances with the North during their time. You saw that the Igbo benefitted from the Azikiwe and Okpara alliances with the North.
It was through alliance that we produced Ekwueme as Vice President and Ume Ezoke as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The Igbo have done well in commerce and industry ,but we lack same quality in politics. President Muhammadu Buhari chose his running mates,Dr.Chuba Okadigbo and Chief Edwin Umezuoke from the South East in 2003 and 2007, respectively ,but the Igbo rejected their sons. If Buhari’s nomination of Okadigbo or Ume Ezoke had succeeded, it would have been the easiest way to produce a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction.
But Buhari went to the South West zone for the second time in 2015 after 2011,and the alliance with the South West worked. So, 2023 is pay back time for the South West. You can see what the Igbo lost? We ought to have learnt our lessons from 2003 and 2007,but we didnt.”
He lamented that the Igbo ,especially the South East zone, also missed the opportunity of replicating the 1999 agreement which the then two major political parties produced two presidential candidates from the South West zone,because of its inability to build alliances.
“Because of lack of strategic planning and inability to align with other sections ,we missed the opportunity of getting the type of agreement which the then two major parties in 1999 elected their presidential candidates from the South West.
We need to reach out,negotiate,build bridges of friendship and alliances and support and assure other tribes of what will be their benefit in Igbo presidency.
If we desired the presidency in 2023, we ought to have started planning for it more than 10 years ago,it requires proper and long term planning,not a fire brigade thing. Political alliance is the only way to actualize presidency project. It is either we embrace it or continue to lament exclusion.”