By Obinna Akukwe
Igbos who are interested in Presidency 2023 should join hands with Chris Ngige to ensure that Anambra goes APC in 2021.
I have been a proponent of Igbo Presidency since 2003, and got disappointed when Ojo Maduekwe, then Minister of Transportation, described the quest as ‘Idiotic’ when it is well known that former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme, narrowly lost it in 2003 PDP Convention because former Vice President Atiku Abubakar betrayed him.
In 2011, I cautioned against Jonathan’s re-election, together with many Igbo leaders, including Alex Ekwueme, because, a vote for Jonathan cannot be equated with Igbo presidency. Igbos’ were deceived by the mantra ‘After Jonathan, he will hand over to Ndigbo’.
During an Ohanaeze event in 2012 at Press Centre, Enugu, I challenged Ohanaeze leadership to provide proof of agreement that Jonathan will hand over to Ndigbo, and Nduka Eya (then Secretary General) and Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife (ex-governor, Anambra State) reluctantly admitted that no such agreement ever existed.
I wrote a widely published piece in 2012 titled “Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Auctioning of Igbo Presidency’ where I revealed that “Chief Nduka Eya has been insisting that transparency must be the watchword in Ohaneze Ndigbo financial dealings to avoid a situation where Igbo interests are sabotaged.
He insists that whatever largesse from anybody, group, forum and even the presidency must as a matter of policy be tabled before the Ime-Obi Ohaneze so that the forum would decide whether to accept the gift or not, and on what condition.
Dr Igaliwey claimed that he rejected his own share of Ohaneze national cake of N20 million naira which was an attempt to bribe him.”
I also warned during the colloquium in honour of late Ambasador Raph Uwechue, former President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo , in a paper I presented at the event in May, 2014, titled ‘ Igbo Presidency: Ohanaeze Should Negotiate With Jonathan’ and I argued that;
“Have the Yoruba and South –West not cleverly reached out to our traditional allies in the North with the purpose of boosting their other chances at the presidency while the Igbos’ are yet to concretize arrangements with the South-South that they will support an Igbo presidency after Jonathan’s tenure? Is there any agreement between Igbo elders, elites and that of the South-South that after the tenure of Jonathan, they will support the emergence of an Igbo man as President?
“I know that no such agreement ever existed, either orally or written and I challenge any Igbo leader to prove otherwise. I asked Ambassador Uwechue and Prof Nduka Eya ex-President and Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo respectively at different occasions whether there is any agreement and they both affirmed that none ever existed.
“I have also asked other notable Igbo leaders and South-South leaders and they all believed that no such thing existed. Therefore, on what basis do the Igbo believe that Jonathan will stick his neck for Igbo Presidency after his tenure elapses?”
The Igbo elders while applauding my calls, never negotiated anything, rather the negotiations was sacrificed for Presidential largess of N6.2 billion naira, and Ohanaeze asked Igbos to vote Jonathan without yet any concrete agreement.
I have written severally about the N6.2 billion naira largesse divided into N1.2 billion shared at Chelsea Hotel, Abuja in 2014 and N5 billion delivered in 2015, shared at Ohanaeze National Secretariat, Enugu.
In 2019, it was Atiku that bankrolled Ohanaeze and they refused to negotiate with Buhari and by the time Atiku lost, Ndigbo became imperiled again. My regret is that my friend Prophet Nwoko was killed by IPOB murderers because he revealed that Nnamdi Kanu was also settled by Atiku to get IPOB support.
I was appointed Director Christian Religious Wing of Pan Nigerian President of Igbo Extraction Coalition, PANPIEC, by the Alhaji Aminu Mohammed led group and Comrade Chuks Ibegbu, National Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
My brief is to ensure that Christian leaders worldwide buy into Igbo Presidency. PANPIEC is sponsored by Ohanaeze Ndigbo and have sensitized the nation on the noble project. I have sold the Igbo Presidency project to my fellow clergymen, especially in the north but one thing they always ask –why does Ndigbo hate APC. Why do they call APC a party of terrorists? Which platform will they use to achieve Igbo presidency. The northern clerics asked realistic questions, and rejected threats and rhetoric without motion.
I have relayed the opinions to select Igbo leaders and all I hear is rhetorical nonsense.-If Igbos don’t get presidency, they will secede’ ‘if they don’t give us presidency, we will follow IPOB.’ Those nonsense statements will not give Ndigbo any presidency, and nothing will happen if they lose it in 2023.
Igbos in strategic move has an APC state, but the hatred they have for Hope Uzodimma is as big as the one they have for Muhammadu Buhari. Igbos recently told Gambari led delegation that they want Igbo presidency, but the resentment they have for Gambari’s principal is monumental. The mathematics does not add up.
If Igbos want presidency, they should capture another state in the South East, at least as a bargaining chip. Anambra 2021 governorship election could be the manner Ndigbo will send the message that they want presidency in APC. With Imo and Anambra under APC, the Igbo presidency bid in APC will be stronger. With Enugu, Abia and Ebonyi in PDP they can still beg Secondus, Wike and Atiku for Igbo Presidency
Dr Chris Ngige , as leader of APC in the state has lots to do to actualize this. I met Ngige in Abuja just before the Supreme Court threw him away as governor, and in that discussion with another PDP chieftain, it is obvious that the man is made of steel.
He narrated how he defeated godfathers who wanted him to share state cake to them, and since then I have always stood by his ideals till date, even when they rigged him out of Anambra governorship in 2019 and 2013, details of which I don’t want to highlight.
After the death of Chukwuma Azikiwe, Buhari detailed Ngige to take charge of the burial as leader of government delegation. Dr Chris Ngige, Emejulu Okpalaukwu, Chukwuma Njaka, Ifeanyi Okwudili and myself met at Ziks house to evaluate levels of damage, and discuss how to give Zik’s first son a befitting state burial as directed by Buhari. Governor Willie Obiano, ex-Governor Peter Obi and Emeka Azkiwe fought any attempt for Buhari to attend the said burial. While myself and other members of the committee were ready for any showdown with Obiano, Peter Obi and their allies, Ngige, for reasons best known to him, withdrew from the fight, and Chukwuma Azikiwe was not buried properly.
I have written piece on the unfortunate bungling of Azikiwe’s burial and how Ndigbo missed opportunity to be in the mainstream.
Ndigbo should avoid unnecessary fights that will bungle Igbo Presidency. Igbo presidency cannot work without any additional state. What rights do Ndigbo have to demand APC ticket when they have rejected the party? All these threats and demands without commensurate actions should stop. Ndigbo should cooperate with Dr Chris Ngige to ensure that AP wins the governorship in Anambra State.
Dr Ngige should put on his war cloth, native intelligence and charisma and ensure that Anambra APC is united. All these attacks on his personality should stop for the sake of Igbo presidency. I heard that Governor Umahi is planning to defect to APC. I will comment on that later, but let Ndigbo not crawl back to a party they rejected, and begin to beg for presidency. APC is not a charity organization; it is a political power group.
Ngige should mobilize Ndi Anambra and Ndigbo for the governorship of Anambra State, and Ohanaeze, instead of empty threats, should join him to deliver the state to APC, so that the bargain for Igbo Presidency can begin.
Obinna Akukwe, Columnist, Activist, firstname.lastname@example.org, @obinnaakukwe