BY ANIETIE AKPAN, LAWRENCE NJOKU, SEYE OLUMIDE & ISA ABDULSALAMI AHOVI
THE GUARDIAN, NIGERIA, FEBRUARY 13, 2017
Former Vice President of Nigeria, Dr Alex Ekwueme, President of Ohaneze in Anambra State, Chief Damian Okeke Ogene and other Igbo leaders have called for Igbo presidency, saying, it was long overdue.
Ekwueme who did not specify if the Igbos should take their shot come 2019, said: “I pray that the other people (Igbos) can take it up from there and make progress.
The former vice president, who spoke yesterday at St Bernard Catholic Church, Caliber during the child dedication ceremony of Chief and Lolo Chukwuemeka Egwuonwu (KSM), added: “I would have contested for the number one position in 1987 but the military intervened in 1983 and the civilian regime was cut short.”
On President Muhammadu Buhari’s health, Ekweme who was accompanied by the Deputy Governor of Cross River State, Professor Ivara Esu, said: “We have conflicting reports about the President’s health. The Minister of Information says he is hale and hearty, but his wife says we should pray for him. So if he is hale and hearty, I don’t know why she said we should pray for him. Whatever it is, we ask God to look after him. We want Nigeria to be at peace and to make progress and see how we can get out of our present difficulties”.
To Ogene, who was also at the event, “an Igbo presidency is overdue but as far as I am concerned it is not something that is coming out now. Our President General, Chief Nnia Nwodo, is going to make the stand of Ohaneze known as regards to the presidency. Igbo presidency is long over due whether it is 2019 or 2023, our own President General will make our stand known.”
However, the leaderships of the Yoruba and Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere and Ohanaeze have resolved to work together in protecting the interest of the two nationalities and seeing to the progress of nation.
In a resolution after the first meeting Nwodo would hold with any group outside Igbo land, the two organisations resolved that the paramount interest of Nigeria and the development of all ethnic nationalities that made up the country should be made paramount.
Received by Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who stood in for the leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, the apex Igbo group said the decision to make the Yoruba socio-cultural group its first place of touching base arose from the fact that it was the first organisation that openly congratulated him and followed with phone calls from its prominent leaders.
Meanwhile, former Vice President General of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, Chief Enechi Onyia (SAN) has warned of the consequences of allowing the organisation to be infiltrated by politicians who parade themselves as leaders of the people.
Onyia told reporters in Enugu at the weekend that it would be dangerous for the Igbo apex socio-cultural grouping to drift from the aspirations of its founding fathers.
He blamed the crisis in the organisation on past leaders who enthroned a reign of impunity by acting independent of its constitution.
Also, Governor Simon Lalong said the Plateau State government had resumed partnership with the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF).
He made the disclosure while receiving leaders of the group led by its vice chairman, Liman Kwande, in Jos at the weekend.