Thursday, December 8

Presidency 2023: What Igbo must do to get it

Share this:

*We must present our best to get support of other zones — Ahamba

*It is wrong to say Igbo are not showing interest — Abia monarch

*Interested aspirants should show interest first; stakeholders will scrutinize them — Enugu monarch

*Stakeholders must move round to search for the best person

*Igbo have lost courage; let’s join to fight for autonomy — Abia Onyike

“Igbo need aggressive mobilisation for whoever will be endorsed 

*lgbo political and religious leaders should convene a summit on the Igbo presidency 

*Northern elders frustrating Igbo Presidency project —  Prof. Igwe

*Igbo Presidency is feasible, will end agitation — Youth leader

By Anayo Okoli, Peter Okutu, Chinedu Adonu, Chinonso Alozie, Ikechukwu Odu, Steve Oko & Emmanuel Iheaka

AHEAD of 2023 general elections and the growing clamour for the  people of South-East zone to produce the next President of Nigeria, is it really achievable? Are the people of the South-East actually doing enough to realise this much cherished desire? What really are the Igbo expected to do to realise this desire? Why are Igbo politicians reluctant to openly declare interest like their colleagues from other parts of the country bearing in mind that power is not given but struggled for? What steps should be taken to best achieve this lofty wish?

Chief Mike Ahamba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said Igbo is ready for the great tasks ahead of the Igbo Presidency project, insisting that the zone will present its best to Nigeria. Ahamba urged the people of the South-East to come together and present an acceptable presidential candidate that would garner votes from the other zones of the country.



He said Igbo would not conscript any person into the race but would solidly support a willing candidate, who must be a quality and acceptable candidate, to pursue the project. Such person, Ahamba said, would have the full support of the people.

“There is nothing you can do about it except to only support a willing candidate. You can’t conscript somebody and send him without the necessary tool to vie for the election.

“If I am coming out to contest in the presidential election and another is ready to sponsor me, I should be ready to come out and say that I am ready to contest in the election and then solicit the support of the South-East zone. You can’t achieve it with an empty hand.

“As we are saying that we want an Igbo candidate, are you expecting the northerners to sponsor an Igbo candidate? Let me put it this way; some of those who have come out do not have the support of the people yet. Some have come out testing the ground before announcing it publicly,” the legal luminary said.

On the insinuation that presidential aspirants from the South-East zone are first seeking and waiting for the endorsement of the North, Ahamba dismissed the idea, insisting that “charity begins at home”.

“I don’t accept that, that is how we play down ourselves. When my book comes out, you will see; I ask, why should our people do that? Who do you have from the North that is supporting you?

“The truth is that it is a wrong attitude of our people. Over here, nobody wants to back anybody with his money. If you have the money, you become a presidential candidate. It is not the best attitude.

“The proper and best way out is that people should move around and see some of their good materials and pick the one that will get votes from all over the country and tell him to come out and we will back him. He must be of good quality and will be acceptable to the people of the zone.”

Prominent Abia monarch, the paramount traditional ruler of Abiriba Ancient Kingdom, Abia State, Eze Kalu Kalu Ogbu,  Enachioken Abriba, dismissed the insinuation that Igbo politicians are not showing enough interest in the presidency come 2023, pointing out that a number of Igbo politicians from different political parties have already indicated interest to contest in 2023 presidential election.

Eze Ogbu insisted that Ndigbo have men and women with proven integrity who can competently handle the position if given the opportunity.

  “Igbo have competent and eminently qualified persons from diverse walks of life to run and win.  Already, Igbo are in different political parties that are qualified to present them as candidates. It may not be correct to say that they are not doing enough to show interest.  

  “Let the Igbo continue reaching out to other nationalities and groups. That way, they would strike the appropriate synergy to win the election. Igbo had supported people from other zones in the past, getting those others to support them should be taken for granted already,” the royal father said.

He said Igbo should be allowed to take their turn at the seat of power come 2023 in the spirit of equity, fair play and justice.

  According to a prominent Enugu monarch, Igwe Spencer Ugwuoke, the traditional ruler of Obimo Community in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State, Igbo presidency project is a serious project for the Igbo.

Consequently, Igwe Ugwoke has urged South-East politicians who are interested in vying for the presidency in the 2023 general elections to declare interest and allow the Igbo stakeholders to scrutinize, select and support the best aspirant among them.

According to the revered monarch, the stakeholders should also embark on aggressive mobilisation for the chosen aspirant. He said that a delegation of Igbo leaders should go round to consult with the traditional rulers from other geopolitical zones in the country, talk to them to convince them of the need to give Igbo a chance to produce the president of Nigeria.

Insisting that no tribe in Nigeria  is more Nigerian than the Igbo, Ugwoke commended the courage and determination of the former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, who recently declared his interest for the presidential seat.

According to the monarch, given the leadership qualities of Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, he will make one of the best representations of the aspirations of South-Easterners if he declares interest to run for the presidential  position.

“It is for the interested aspirants to declare interest to run for the position. South-East is entitled to the presidential position to address this cry of marginalisation of the zone, just as South-West and North-East are entitled to the position.

“The Igbo stakeholders will assess those who declare interest and give our collective support to the best aspirant. The traditional rulers and some prominent leaders of thought will go into the field to lobby and mobilise for the chosen aspirant.

“If the Ooni of Ife sees Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, the Chairman, Anambra State Council of Traditional Rulers; the Chairman of Enugu State Council of Traditional Rulers, and other prominent rulers and stakeholders from the South-East, mobilising for one aspirant; he will know that we are serious. The delegation will visit all the traditional rulers and other stakeholders in other geopolitical zones to convince them that given the contributions of Igbo in our national development, an Igbo man deserves to be the president of Nigeria. We will canvas for their support.

“I am happy that the former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, has declared interest in the presidential race. The next person who I know will not have any opposition from Enugu State and entire South-East if he declares interest for the presidential seat is Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State. No party or religious affiliation will oppose him if he declares interest in the position.

“Igbo need aggressive mobilisation for whoever will be endorsed by the stakeholders to run for the president of Nigeria from the South-East,” Igwe Ugwoke noted.

Igbo elite group, Alaigbo Development Foundation, ADF, through its spokesman, Hon. Abia Onyike lamented that Igbo politicians are lagging behind in declaring interest for the race to the presidency because they have been submerged in the contest of political power in Nigeria.

ADF enjoined Ndigbo to join hands in fighting for the independence/autonomy of Igbo nation as a major ethnic nationality in the Nigerian Federation. He, however, noted that Igbo presidency is not the best option for the South-East now that Nigerian Federation is not only chaotic but problematic, insisting that Igbo may not benefit much if one of their own becomes the president under the present arrangement. It was the considered opinion of Onyike that the struggle for Igbo self-determination is more holistic than the struggle for president of Igbo extraction.

“It is not mandatory that all the Igbo presidential candidates must declare interest; if the kingmakers of Nigeria believe they are convinced that the Igbo man should be president of Nigeria, they can draft anybody as they did in 1999.

“First and foremost, we in Alaigbo Development Foundation, ADF, are fighting for self-determination of Igbo nation; the right of a nation of Igbo independence/autonomy as a major ethnic nationality in the Nigerian Federation.

“We are fighting for a situation where we can become an autonomous republic that can be recognised under the United African Nation because we have discovered over time, that the Nigerian Federation is not only chaotic, it is problematic and quest for Igbo presidency is one of the most difficult and complex events.

“Like you have already pointed out that there are not many Igbo politicians declaring interest in the so- called Igbo Presidency. the reason is that we have been so submerged in the contest of political power in Nigeria to the extent that even our politicians have lost the courage required to face that kind of contest and that is why they appear to be lagging behind.

“That notwithstanding, we will not oppose any effort by any Igbo man to fight for the seat of Nigeria’s president because it is their right to do so, in so far as we are still with the Nigerian Federation. After all, in 1999 when the kingmakers of Nigeria decided to bring up a Yoruba man as the president, in the person of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo; Obasanjo did not declare interest to run for any presidency, he was in the prison but they went for him to bring him out of prison. They drafted him into that presidential contest. So in the same way, if the kingmakers of Nigeria believe that they are convinced that the Igbo man should be president of Nigeria in 2023, they can draft anybody capable and they abound among the Igbo.

“There are so many ways the quest for a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction can be achieved but let us have it at the back of our mind that the struggle for Igbo self-determination is more holistic than just the struggle for a president of Igbo extraction that will be in the office for eight years maximum and maybe after eight years, you discover that there is more frustration because they won’t allow you to achieve anything in the office.

“They won’t allow you to develop the country and achieve anything meaningful for the Igbo people. The situation will become worse. People will become more frustrated. That is the more reason why we in ADF are more concentrated on the quest for an autonomous republic of the Igbo nation,” Onyike stated.

Dr. Okechukwu Mgbeahuru, the Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Abia State, said Igbo presidency is possible in 2023 but cautioned Igbo political leaders against putting all their eggs in one basket.

Mgbeahuru said Igbo political leaders should reach out and consult widely in all geo-political zones; also make friends, “compromise and build bridges of understanding to gain support for the Igbo president project.”

The CAN scribe reminded Ndigbo that power is not given but struggled for and urged Igbo politicians who are interested in contesting in the 2023 presidential election to join political parties and make their voices heard.

“The election of a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction is long overdue. For equity’s sake, lgbo should be supported by other zones to become president in 2023. No lgbo man has been allowed to become the president of Nigeria, reasons being that the northerners see and treat the Igbo as minority. However, Ndigbo need to stand up and demand for their political rights.

“The Igbo must not allow the aspiration for lgbo presidency to be pushed down the drain. Igbo presidency is very possible in 2023, but Igbo politicians should stand up and demand for their political rights. Other Nigerians who love equity and justice are also supporting Igbo presidency in 2023, but are waiting for us to make the right steps.

“Igbo leaders should reach out to others across all  geo-political zones, make friends, compromise and build bridges of understanding to gain support for the Igbo president project. Igbo politicians who harbour presidential ambitions must make their voices heard because power is struggled for, not given. They must belong to all leading political parties to have a chance of emerging as presidential candidates”, Mgbeahuru said.

He urged lgbo leaders to convene a summit on the 2023 Igbo presidency as this would enable the people identify areas to strengthen  to ensure success.

Continuing, he added: “Igbo political and religious leaders should convene a political summit on the 2023 Igbo project. The discussions on the project should not be limited to the political class alone for obvious reasons. There is a great need for political realignment by yhe Igbo.

“We need to come together, put aside our ego and reason as brothers for a common goal. We should learn not to put all our eggs in one basket. Igbo presidential aspirants should not cluster in one party in pursuit of their aspiration; rather they should be more pragmatic.

“The Igbo Presidency project is achievable in 2023 if there is understanding among our lgbo elites and the youths”.

In the opinion of a respected  academia, Prof. Obasi Igwe, the role of Northern elders is in a way frustrating the pursuit of Nigeria President of Igbo extraction as they see it as a threat to their alleged Fulanization agenda.

According to Prof. Igwe, Igbo remain the most qualified and deserved to be President of Nigeria. He said for peace to reign and maintain a united Nigeria, power must rotate between North and South. He however urges interested Igbo to rise up to the occasion to struggle for power.

“Igbo are not doing enough to get the President and remember that power is not given. Yes, power is not given, Igbo are working for that. This is one of the narratives used to insult everybody. Did Ekwueme not do enough; did Odili not do enough, but in each case, extremely corrupt people excavated one thing or the other to deny the Igbo justice.  

“Ogbonnaya Onu from former ANPP was one of the founders of the APC, Chibuike Amaechi one of the architects of its “victories”; Prof Pat Utomi one of the bright stars within it; so, what other “enough” do they need for political parties zoning the office to the Igbo and letting these and other stars compete for it.

  “Today, for the average Yoruba and Middle Belt, their ethnic interests apart, wouldn’t mind an Igbo being President, so, why won’t they unite to ensure that political parties zone the office accordingly to the zone. They won’t unite because they complain of Fulani imperialism but still allow themselves to be pawns of its Caliphate.

  “Imagine what is happening in Nigeria currently. How can a country run like that and you expect growth and development? How can Government allow AK-47 wielding Fulani impostors to stay in the Middle Belt areas they have “conquered” while the aborigines languish in IDP camps and die off? That is why they are against power shift.

They want all their agenda takeover of Nigeria through RUGA, cattle routes, grazing areas, water resources; coastal ports/airfields concessions, flooding of federal institutions and parastatals with the Fulani or pro-Fulani to be completed.

  “As of today, the Igbo remain the most qualified and deserving to be President of Nigeria. They are showing their worth in all sectors of national life. The Igbo do not feel superior to anybody; but those endlessly raising the bars for the Igbo in admissions, jobs, politics, etc are the ones implying such primitive psychologies.  

  “It is now accepted that for peace to reign, and as a continuing expression of the affirmative action that seek to maintain a Nigeria, power must rotate between the North and South. People should jettison the narrative that the Igbo must climb Mount Everest to meet the standards demanded of Obasanjo, Yar’ Adua, Jonathan, or Buhari in order to be President”, Prof. Igwe stated.

  For a notable Igbo youth leader, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, Igbo Presidency project is feasible the agitation for Biafra cannot derail it.

  In his words: “2023 Igbo Presidency is very feasible and any attempt to derail the project anchoring it on the activities of the secessionist agitations is not only devilish, but mischievous.  

“The consequences of denying the 2023 Igbo Presidency will strengthen Biafra agitation and it will affect the corporate existence and threaten the unity of Nigeria.

  “The expectation of Igbo to achieve the desired results of having an Igbo succeed President Buhari in 2023 is ongoing. The only way to end the secessionist movement and stop them from armed struggle is for the Federal Government to opt for a political solution to the problem of Biafra agitation, which Igbo Presidency is one of it. A Nigerian President of Igbo extraction will end the activities of IPOB.  

  “Secondly, there are ongoing talks with the Northern Elders and the Arewa chieftains, especially the youths. We believe that the discussions through sincere engagements will change the Northern fears over 2023 Igbo Presidency.

  “The major political parties are the targets for Ndigbo to achieve this project; there are backstage activities ongoing that will justify the end of the process of making Igbo realize the 2023 Presidency project.

“No politician has openly declared interest in the 2023 Presidency, except former Senate President, Puis Anyim and chairman of Nigeria Pharmaceutical Association, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa and that is in PDP.   We are expecting the likes of Senator Rochas Okorocha, Chibuike Amaechi, and others in APC to join the race by 2022 first quarter.

“One of the practical steps to be taken seriously is the engagement of the other sections of the country especially the North. We are building up a new alliance with the North, but definitely, we will achieve this lofty position through consensus building and confidence”.

In his opinion, former National Deputy Chairman (South) of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Chris Ejike Uche, believes the Igbo have got no better opportunity to produce the President of Nigeria than now.

He however, submitted that loss of confidence in the Nigerian project may be affecting the Igbo and canvassed for the Igbo to be given the kind of consideration and support given to the Yoruba to produce the president in 1999 after the death of Moshood Abiola.

“For the Nigeria Presidency, the Igbo have got no other better time than now. The problems of Nigeria have overwhelmed those that feel they can rule this country but have demonstrated over the years their inability and lack of competence required to rule the country. The reason the Igbo appear not to be so enthusiastic about the presidency, is that from the policies and actions of the federal government, the Igbo feel they are not considered worthy to be part of the Nigerian project.  The Igbo have lost confidence in the Nigerian system. It was the same way the Yoruba lost confidence after the death of Chief Moshood Abiola. It was the ceding of the presidency to the West in 1999 that reintegrated them.

“The same consideration should be given to the Igbo, by supporting them to rule the country.

“The Igbo are not myopic; they are hard working. The only Igbo man who has openly declared interest to run for the presidency is Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa . Of course, he is very intelligent and does not have a dented image. I am delighted he has visited the 36 states of the country to make his interest known. That is the way to go. The Igbo must gear up and take what belongs to them.

  “I heard from grapevine that some persons are ready to run. Maybe, they will soon come out openly. The Presidency of Nigeria is a big deal. It is not just something you wake up one morning and jump into. You must be well prepared for it, more so now that everything seems to have collapsed in the country.

“The problem of Nigeria is leadership. Once you get the leadership well, it will address the economy. The country is in a woeful situation at the moment; bedeviled by insecurity and the economy in shambles. I strongly believe an Igbo man can fix the country”, Uche submitted.

Vanguard News Nigeria


Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *