The call for Igbo presidency begun the moment Alex Ekwueme lost to Olusegun Obasanjo in the Jos PDP primaries in 1999. I have written a number of articles in that regard since then. Many more related articles by pundits followed in that regard. The following article by George Ndukwu written almost 10 years ago and republished here borders on the same subject matter which continues to elude Nd'Igbo as Ndukwu observes...
This Day (Lagos)
February 6, 2003
February 6, 2003
By George Ndukwu
As a concerned young Igbo political enthusiast, this much orchestrated call for an Igbo Presidency by our leaders come 2003 got my mind rolling. A serious analysis of issues and political arithmetic [according to Oyi] will leave much to be desired considering them way, manner and method our leaders pursued this cause.
If you ask me one cannot achieve any socio-economic and political goals by mere asking and demanding. The PRESIDENCY of Nigeria cannot be given out on sentiments again after what happened in 1999. We have to work for it. This generation of Igbo leaders has not done much to deserve the presidency. Let us face the facts.
Dr. Alex Ekwueme is the most acceptable Igbo presidential hopeful. When he lost the PDP primaries in 1999, he licked his wounds & integrated into the ruling class. He asked us to vote for PDP without negotiating our political future.
Assumingly, he abandoned all his structures on the ground and practically dumped his ambitions and the yearnings of his people. He came back several months after the incumbent has declared to turn the tables. What happened? He was used as a bargaining tool by the PDP governors. Did he expect to break political alliances in his own party by mere sentiments in present day Nigeria?
Let us come to Ohaneze Ndigbo. These Igbo elders gathered together to champion the Igbo presidency project. We Igbo having yearned for visionary leadership allowed them to be. They were bold enough to make demands. They made attempts to produce a consensus aspirant. The made a lot of efforts. They failed.
Ohaneze never consulted widely before taking positions. They arrogated to themselves the privilege of knowing all and the liberty of speaking for the Igbos. Lacking political orientation, the ended up playing moi-moi politics. I maintain that though most of their comments were accepted, their followership is in doubt.
The cause for Igbo presidency can never be achieved on the pages of newspapers. It needs political dexterity. The plain truth now is that we are not even sure of 2007; talk of the Atiku factor.2003 is a forgone conclusion. Let's be pragmatic and work for the future.
The first step is to support PDP or risk losing everything including political relevance. I am skeptical about the political arrangements in ANPP. We should not forget in a hurry what happened to our southern aspirants there. The second step is for the Igbos to be more pragmatic and proactive. The concept of Ohaneze should be expanded into a national Igbo council with representation cutting deep into the fragments of Igbo nation. Consultations should equally be wide and should not exclude our compatriots from the north and south. Remember that we are talking about Nigerian presidency.
Nevertheless, we have some promising leaders. Owelle Rochas may have his flaws but he is a patriot and true son of Igbo land. Udenwa like his colleagues may have done less in governance but he is a study in leadership. He has transformed from a political neophyte with no structures on the ground to a don in his domain. He consults and rules by consensus. I challenge him to take up the Igbo struggle.
I hereby beg my fathers to have their sights on 2007 and the time to start is now. The Igbo national council should be put in place now and mandated to bargain for our political future and relevance before we cast our votes for PDP.
I have long stopped worrying about the failed hope of having a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction. The idea though not "idotic" lacks feasibility at least not with the large number of (vain glorious) errand boys paradeng themselves as Igbo leaders. You simply cannot relish in the beloved face of realism.
Ohaneze is adoping a bull dog approach. I wonder how far they reckon with their relevance. Igbos should be practical. Politics is not necessarily a mechanical show of bravado. It is that of dialogue, concession and compromise. For the Igbos it is a cash and carry affair. But must the Igbos produce the president before they enjoy good roads, before infrastructures are in place. This is the fundamentally flawed impression of our situation.
The Igbos are a recognised majority that prefer to adorn the minority tag. We actually back a centre, no co-ordination, we have self styled and self centred leaders. No organised agenda, no sense of purpose, no focused directors, indeed we are not really ready.
Not with the way we have gloriously demeaned the office of the senate president. No wonder we are on regular basis insulted as a unit like the new fangled idea of flagging off a presidential campaign with our death trap roads.
Igbos should be practical, forget about 2003 but use 2003 to negotiate for our tomorrow. We should be prepared to reach out. It is a cardinal principle in politics. We should get away from market place optimum.
The South East has a choice today to make between the devil and the deep blue sea, an action that will determine our understanding of Nigeria and how we value ourselves and our future.
I don't decieve myself with the bogus idea of 30 political parties. For all I know we presently lack a base and we never planned for one. The igbos have a lot to learn and understand.