Thursday, February 21, 2013

As The Presidency Eludes Nd'Igbo

Between 2011 and now, thousands of articles have been published by Igbo writers, journalists, thinkers and their counterparts alike on the never ending simmering issue coupled with the facts and logic about the need for an Igbo presidency. I, too, have been part of the pieces over the years, and I have been weary of pointing out that the Igbo presidency should not be a life and death situation and, should not be the only option for Igbo to start building bridges. Though some made valid points while most in that instance threaded on a must Igbo presidency as a national right by way of waiting. The following article by Emeka Mamah for the Vanguard about 12 years ago and when the Fourth Republic had just begun should remind us something must have been amiss in that quest; and from my point of view, we have not gotten close ever since. Question is: what's the problem and how come?

Ohanaeze Seeks New Party For Igbo Presidency

By Emeka Mamah, Sunday Vanguard, July 01, 2001

Igbo people last week intensified their bid to actualise their dream of
producing the nation’s president in 2003 as the Elders Council of Ohanaeze
(Mkpuke) approved the formation of a broad based political party with strong
Igbo backing to facilitate the ambition.

Sunday Vanguard sources disclosed that Igboezue Cultural Association (ICA), a
member-group of Ohanaeze, sponsored the motion for the formation of the new
party at the meeting of the elders council in Enugu last Sunday night.

In moving the motion, the National Leader of Igboezue Chief Chekwas Okorie was
said to have informed Ohanaeze that the formation of a political party with Igbo
initiative was easiest way for Ndigbo to realise their ambition of contesting
the presidency by the year 2003.

"The only way Ndigbo can contest the presidential election in 2003 is for them
to float a national political party with Igbo initiative" Chief Okorie was said
to have insisted.

Earlier in a letter to the chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Justice Ezebuilo Ozobu,
Chief Okorie was said to have urged the organisation which is the umbrella
association of accede to the request for Ndigbo to form the party because it was
the only option left for the Igbo to contest the forth coming presidential

The letter which was entitled "Re: the formation of a national political party
with Igbo initiative" and dated June 22, 2001 partly read:

"The leadership of Igbozue Cultural Association, brainstormed for several weeks,
and arrived at the conclusion that the only way Ndigbo can contest the
presidential election 2003 is for them to float a National Political Party with
Igbo initiative. We articulated in reasonable detail why we considered the
formation of such a party as the only option in our memorandum of 23rd May,
2001. We concluded the memorandum by urging Ohanaeze to seize the initiative and
provide the leadership necessary for the realisation of the presidency
objective. We stressed that time was of essence. We are worried that uptill this
date, Ohanaeze has not responded to our memo one way or the other."

We are now under the pressure of time, since signals emanating from INEC
headquarters at Abuja indicate that application for the registration of new
political parties shall commence from first week of September 2001, and the
registration of voters for all the elections leading to the 2003 presidential
election shall take place in the month of October, 2001.

It is with the highest sense of history and patriotism that we request Ohanaeze
to give Igboezue its esteemed blessing and support to proceed with our programme
of providing a political platform that shall ultimately present an Igbo
presidential candidate to the Nigerian electorate if for any reason the umbrella
pan Igbo socio-cultural organisation does not want to be directly involved in
the exercise. We sincerely expect that the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo shall
not have any difficulty in acceding to this modest and minimum request.

We venture to state, that it will be a tragedy of monumental moral and
psychological devastation, if the popularly acclaimed decision of Ndigbo under
the auspices of Ohanaeze to "contest the presidency of Nigeria in the next
dispensation" turns out to be a mere political gimmick and posturing, as is
being speculated by other Nigerians who continue to take Ndigbo for granted.

It was said that the meeting which was presided over by the chairman of Ohanaeze
Ndigbo, Justice Ozobu approved the proposal to float the new party.

The association was also said to have set-up a committee to work out the
modality for forming the new party and present the report at the next meeting of
the elders council for onward presentation to the general assembly of Ohanaeze.

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