Posted by Ifeoma Okafor, Awka | 22 March 2018 | 2,793 times
Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, and the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, on Wednesday expressed divergent views on the fastest way for the emergence of an Igbo as President of Nigeria.
Amaechi expressed the view that the return of President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term in office in 2019 is the fastest way for an Igbo to take over the country’s leadership.
Nwodo dismissed Amaechi’s argument as one that should not have a place in a true democratic system, saying that Nigeria is not yet operating as a true federation as pockets of marginalisation still abound against the Igbo.
His words: “I am yet to see a federation in which the security apparatus is domiciled in one section of the country. Doing so has not also solved the security problems of the country.
“Our country is in a state of war, with no one declaring it.”
Nwodo argued that people joining a federal movement cannot be used as a yardstick to get what is due to them.
Continuing, he said: “If our Constitution is not revisited for people to live and feel safe, then we are wasting our time.
“Honourable Minister, I urge you to fight for us. We are the true Nigerians. Whether we voted left or right, our behavioural pattern has shown confidence in Nigeria.
“Help us talk to your people and make them understand that whatever views they held during the war, tell them that the war is over.”
The Minister while speaking on the topic, ‘The Igbo in the Politics s of Nigeria’, maintained that Igbo had not benefited much by voting for minority parties.
He noted that though the occasion was not for campaign, but an academic exercise, the truth must be told about the achievements of President Buhari.
He said: “Since 1999, the Igbo people have always voted for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). There is nothing wrong with that, but the question must be asked; has the PDP justified that support or reciprocated it in any manner?
“Is that support really earned? The complaint now is that the All Progressive Congress (APC) government of President Muhammadu Buhari abandoned the South East and is marginalising them.
“Without conceding to that, let us compare a situation where the PDP you voted for gave you a few appointments here and there and denied you any major developmental projects as against the APC government of President Buhari you did not vote for and who, even if he denied you appointments, has certainly not denied you crucial developmental projects.
“The Enugu – Port Harcourt dual carriageway abandoned since 1999 by the PDP is being handled with dispatch by this government, including both sections of the Enugu – Onitsha dual carriageway. Early works section four of the second Niger Bridge is ongoing.
“Then you have the rehabilitation of the following roads: Oba – Nnewi – Okigwe road linking Anambra State with Imo State, the Otuocha – Ibaji – Nzam road in Anambra State, the Abakaliki – Onueke-Abomega – Afikpo road (Ebonyi State), the Nnenwe – Uduma – Uburu road connecting Enugu State with Ebonyi State, the Oji – Achi – Mmaku – Awgu road in Enugu State, the Ozalla – Akpugo – Amagunze road (Enugu State) and the Ikot Ekpene – Aba – Owerri dualisation project linking Akwalbom, Abia and Imo states, among others. “Almost all the important Igbo cities, Enugu, Owerri, Umuahia, Aba, Awka, Onitsha, are captured in the existing Calabar – Lagos railway project and the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri standard gauge new railway projects approved by the President.
“Let me just say that the Igbo nation should focus or solutions not recriminations. In what political direction should the Igbo go? Let the quarrel with the north real or imagined stop.
“Let the recriminations stop and let us join hands as one people to chart the way forward for a brighter future for Nigeria. We need to examine very carefully the Igbo political trajectory and learn crucial lessons of history.
“How did Jaja, an Igbo slave, found a multi-ethnic state in Opobo and become the King with the consent of the people? How did Zik achieve national prominence and stature? We have an incredibly proud past, a rich political heritage forged in the most difficult circumstances. We must therefore focus on constructing the path to a proud future.”
Amaechi further called on the Igbo nation to engage with others and immerse itself fully in national politics like Jaja and Zik did, adding that the handshake across the Niger celebrated recently in Enugu by Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Nzuko Umunna is a welcome development.
The Minister who was the convocation lecturer for the 12th Convocation ceremony of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka (NAU) while saying that a handshake across the Benue is most desirable at present described PDP and the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Anambra State as regional parties which do not hold hope for the Igbo.
He called on the Igbo to rather focus on the solutions to their problems in politics instead of recriminations, noting that part of the solution was to move into a national party after having been disappointed by sectional parties.
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