Enyinnaya Abaribe has warned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) against citing insecurity as a reason not to give the Southeast a chance to produce candidates for the presidency in 2023.
At the inauguration of Igbonine, a group promoting Nigerian leaders of Southeast extraction yesterday in Enugu, Enugu State, Abaribe said the APC and PDP cannot pretend not to know that the Igbo are marginalized in Nigeria.
According to him, every Igbo believes he is a Nigerian and therefore has a legal right to seek the presidency of Nigeria.
” So, let no one tell us, ‘because of the insecurity in the Southeast, an Igbo cannot become President of Nigeria in 2023.'” There have been some threats of that kind I’ve heard. Different standards should not be used for different people within the same country.
“There was no trouble in the Northwest when (Muhammadu) Buhari (from Katsina State) was elected President? Boko-Haram actually nominated Buhari as their negotiator during President Goodluck Jonathan’s Presidency.
“Nigerians should not be deterred from consistently demanding fair treatment in Nigeria and that which is our right. “We are Nigerians, so we should be granted everything we are entitled to, including the presidency.”
Moreover, Abaribe noted that Nigeria is stifling almost every zone, stating that only restructuring could solve the problem.
As a result of the dominant position of restructuring in Nigeria today, the minimal demand of Ndigbo cannot be anything less than restructuring.
“We can’t live in a country where my own child must score 120 percent to enter a unity school, while another child from elsewhere must score just two points to get in.”.
In his view, all the Igbo want in a united Nigeria is to be freed from unfair treatment in their own country.
The Igbo want emancipation, he said. We have been through a lot; even our money was reduced to 20 pounds by the end of the war. We rose from the ashes of that war and became the glue that holds Nigeria together today.”
“We have a presence in every village in Nigeria and we are the largest domestic investors on the continent. Because of this, you will always encounter Igbos wherever you go.
However, some people are trying to push us out of Nigeria. There’s no way we’re leaving Nigeria for anyone.
However, we have a government today that has adopted a sectional approach to governance as we all know.
While Boko Haram has destroyed parts of the country, killing, bombing churches and institutions, the Federal Government has not classified it (Boko Haram) as a terrorist group.
The Federal Government was easily able to get Prohibition on our boys down here when they were carrying flags running through the streets.
“When we questioned them, the minister of information said that Boko Haram was faceless but our boys were well known.
“This unequal treatment of people is at the heart of all Nigeria’s problems.”
Kingsley Moghalu, a guest speaker at the event, said the Igbo must continue to resist hegemonic world views in Nigerian politics and assert their own relevance through persuasion, firmness, and partnerships with other ethnic groups.
According to Moghalu, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Igbo must insist on power rotation to the south in 2023 and offer a compelling case for a President of Southeast extraction.
For this purpose, we ought to look beyond the APC and PDP as political party-vehicles,” he said in a keynote address titled, “What do we want?””.
According to him, the priority should be identifying a competent and visionary Nigerian president from our region, from any of the recognized political parties, who can move Nigeria and all its constituent parts and peoples forward. By limiting ourselves to the APC/PDP as the “mainstream” parties, we have effectively become second class citizens in Nigeria because we are unable to effectively advance our strategic interests.”