The great Nollywood actor Pete Edochie believes that a president of Igbo descent is long overdue in Nigeria.
The film actor, who was born in Anambra, believes that top leaders from the ethnic group can help Nigeria’s socioeconomic problems.
Edochie addressed issues about political marginalization of Igbo people on a BBC Igbo show.
He bemoaned the fact that, more than sixty years after independence, Nigeria had only had one Igbo head of state.
“The Igbo are Nigerians. When Queen Elizabeth arrived in 1956, she was transported in the vehicle of an Igbo guy named Odumegwu Ojukwu, who was one of the wealthiest black men in the country at the time,” the actor explained.
“He never begged for money.” People of Igbo descent were successful Nigerians in those early days: Power Mike in boxing, Chinua Achebe in writing. Even the Nigerian who painted the queen at the time, Ben Enwonwu, is Igbo.
“I am an Igbo man, and I am a successful actor.” Nigeria’s primary ethnic groupings are Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba. Only once in Nigeria’s history has an Igbo individual been elected as the country’s head of state.
“During the military regime, that was Aguiyi Ironsi, and his leadership was brief. Apart from Goodluck Jonathan, who isn’t even Igbo, the north and the Yoruba have been sharing power since then.”
Nigeria needs Igbo creativity and sound leadership, according to Edochie, who characterized Igbos as resilient by nature.
“Why hasn’t the Igbo people regained power?” Is there a conspiracy afoot among the political elites to put the southeast on the back burner? I grew up in the north. I am a Hausa speaker. But a leader of Igbo descent for Nigeria has been long overdue,” he continued.
“It’s impossible to justify marginalizing the Igbo people.” Igbo people have the ability to provide strategic leadership that would revolutionize Nigeria. That is the Igbo manner of doing things. We’re built to withstand adversity. With Igbo leadership, the theft of Nigeria’s riches would come to a stop.
“Greed is the problem in Nigeria. Northerners control the leadership, yet 60 years after independence, we still haven’t solved the electrical problem, which existed before the civil war when the coal-based Oji River provided power to the whole east.
“Igbos, it’s true, we can’t fold our arms and wait for power to come to us. However, we can’t do it all by ourselves.”