The recent statement by billionaire oil magnate, Prince Arthur Eze, to the effect that it will take God for an Igbo man to become Nigeria’s president should be food for thought by stakeholders of the Igbo extraction who should go back to the drawing board and put their acts together if they really desirous of producing the country’s number one citizen.
Eze said the Igbo people do not love one another and are not united. Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Eze advised the Ndigbo not to crave for a president of Igbo extraction but a president who would champion their interest, irrespective of his tribe. He spoke to journalists in Ukpo, Anambra state, penultimate Sunday, during a church service. He declared that he would support a good leader as Nigerian president, irrespective of the person’s ethnic group.
Eze said, “For the Igbo to be president, they must love themselves. Do they love themselves? The North is very kind. If you go to northern Nigeria, you will see churches everywhere. There are churches in Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna, Abuja and others yet they say there is hatred. Do we (Igbo) love ourselves? Only God can make an Igbo man president. We shall pray to God to find an Igbo man who has character to help people. I would prefer someone who has conscience; somebody who will remember me. I don’t care where you come from.
“I went to the North, they didn’t know who I was. They gave me $12m for the construction of Kano TV in 1980. I didn’t have one naira then. It was the same thing in Katsina, Borno and Kaduna. Then, they put me in the oil business. They didn’t care where I came from. Tell me any Igbo man who can do that?”
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo, an Igbo socio-cultural organisation, said that it is still committed to ensuring that an Igbo president succeeds President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023. The organisation explained that the quest for the South-east zone to produce the next president was in the spirit of equity, justice and fair play,
Mazi Chuks Ibegbu, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, at a meeting in Enugu on May 18, pleaded with political parties in the country to zone their presidential ticket to the South-east zone. On the possible candidate, the spokesman said stakeholders of Igboland and Nigerians will decide on the Igbo candidate they want to become president at the appropriate time.
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo denied claims that Nigeria’s former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon (retd), was appointed to negotiate Igbo presidency on its behalf. Ibegbu expressed shock over comments that Gowon was appointed by the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation to lead the negotiation for Nigeria presidency of Igbo extraction in 2023.
The group warned people who make statements using the name of the organisation to stop doing such or they will be prosecuted for impersonation. Ohanaeze Ndigbo also noted that it had not made any move yet and if such is to be done, appropriate organs of the organisation will notify Nigerians.
In another report, a human rights lawyer and former Nigerian Bar Association chairman, Chief Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, has kicked against the zoning of the presidency. According to him, Nigeria needs a president who is passionate about the country and has the type of passion Late Colonel Odimegwu Ojukwu had for Biafra. Ojukwu was a Nigerian military officer and politician who served as the military governor of the Eastern Region of Nigeria in 1966 and the leader of the breakaway Republic of Biafra from 1967 to 1970. Agbakoba stressed the need for the devolution of powers if the country is to make progress.
Similarly, the second Republic Governor of old Anambra state, Senator Jim Nwobodo, has stated that the 2023 Nigeria presidency belongs to the South-east and no other zone. He stated that the ceding of the next Nigeria presidency to an Igboman or woman was for the interest of justice, equity and fair play and urged all political parties to adopt South-east as destination for it’s presidential candidate.
Nwobodo, who spoke recently in his Enugu country home, while receiving a chieftaincy title, ‘Eziokwu bu Ndu”, bestowed on him by the traditional ruler of Amuri Ancient kingdom, stated that anyone who does not believe in 2023 Igbo presidency project does not wish Nigeria well. He said: “2023 will be the turn of the South-east to produce the Nigerian president. So, I am calling on other parts of the country to support the project for the interest of justice, equity and fair play”.
Eze’s postulates on the quest for a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction are quite instructive. It is, indeed, expedient to draw the attention of an average Igbo to the poor perception of being a Biafran or being of a Jewish descent. The suspicion that other components of Nigeria are anti-Igbo should be discarded forthwith to pave the way for the emergence of an Igbo president – the Igbo man should see himself as a Nigerian body and soul as well as embrace other tribes and be persuasive, collaborative and patriotic to the cause of ruling an egalitarian Nigerian society.