As part of preliminary preparations to produce Nigeria’s president in 2023, some concerned Igbo leaders are believed to be behind new groups currently seeking alliances with groups in the Southwest and the Northern parts of Nigeria.
This is even as elder statesman, Col. Lambert Ihenacho (rtd), founder of Igbo Youth Movement (IYM), Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko and the leadership of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), among other leaders and groups in the Southeast zone told The Nation yesterday that Ndigbo expect other Nigerians to support them to produce Nigeria’s president in 2023.
At least, three of such pressure-groups have formed a coalition. The groups already identified as being ready to form the alliance include the Northern Equity and Justice Congress (NEJC), led by Aminu Mohammed, Yoruba Network for Nigeria Presidency of Igbo Extraction (YONNIPIE) with Femi Olufemi as the spokesman and the Niger Delta United for Nigeria Presidency of Igbo Extraction (NDUNPIE) led by Joshua Jaja.
The three groups, as well as others, have come under a coalition known as Pan Nigeria Presidency of Igbo Extraction Coalition (PANPIEC) with Aminu Mohammed as its national coordinator. Informed sources told The Nation that known political leaders behind this new alliance are not yet ready to be named.
The spokesman of the coalition, Chief Uche Erondu, however called on all Nigerians to join the groups to actualise what he described as “the equity project and ensure the stability of Nigeria.”
He said the coalition is preparing to visit President Mohammadu Buhari to interface with him on the 2023 successor and emphasise the need for the ruling party and other parties to zone their Presidency to the Southeast zone.
The National Coordinator of the group, Alhaji Aminu Mohammed, who was in Port Harcourt where he held talks with some South-south leaders of thought, noted that the visit to Aso Rock is necessary so that fifth columnist would not unduly influence Mr. President when the time comes.
He lauded South-south leaders for “their stand that this is a payback time for Ndigbo who have supported other zones to produce the President.”
Aminu noted that the Coalition would interface with key leaders in all parts of Nigeria before fully starting its activities.
The Director of Publicity of the Coalition Chief Erondu Uche noted that the group membership is for all Nigerians and the Co ordinators for all the states of the federation would soon be appointed.
He stated that the Coalition was for now setting up the BOT membership which is to be made up of very eminent and trusted Nigerians.
Elder statesman, Col. Lambert Ihenacho (rtd), founder of Igbo Youth Movement (IYM), Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko and the leadership of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) were also among leaders and groups in the Southeast zone that confirmed to The Nation that Ndigbo expect other Nigerians to support them to produce Nigeria’s president in 2023.
In different interviews, the elders and youth leaders told The Nation in Owerri that the Igbo are ready for the presidency come 2023. “We need somebody to encouragement us; we don’t want to continue to answer defeated people forever; that was why we supported the former President Goodluck Jonathan, Ihenacho said.
On Atiku, the former Biafran commander and retired Army Colonel in Nigerian Army said the former PDP presidential candidate should galvanize support for Ndigbo who gave him support in the last election.
“The Igbo galvanised support for Atiku. So it is Atiku’s turn to galvanize support for Ndigbo,” he said, adding that Atiku has no business to contest the seat in 2023 having had that opportunity when he contested against President Buhari.
The Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), in its reaction says the agitation by regions in Nigeria concerning 2023 presidency is a time bomb for the country.
The group says it’s not in any negotiation with other Pro Biafra groups or campaigning for Igbo man to become the president of Nigeria in any political platform.
The Pro-Biafra group leader, Uchenna Madu, dropped the hint yesterday in Awka, Anambra State, in a statement made available to The Nation.
He said 2023 was a decisive year that would determine whether Nigeria would continue as a state or not and warned that “Nigeria state is currently sitting on a time bomb that must compulsorily explode to irreparable damage.”
Commenting on the matter, Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, the founder and leader of Igbo Youth Movement (IYM) and Secretary of Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA) told The Nation that electing an Igbo as Nigeria president in 2023 would serve as a soothing balm to Nigerian politics.
“Everybody agrees Ndigbo have been ill-treated since 1970. Nzeogwu, Adegboyega, Ifeajuna and co didn’t conspire with the thousands of Igbo men, women and children slaughtered in the well organised three-wave pogrom of 30th May-3rd June, 29th July-3rd August and 29th September-3rd October 1966, that triggered the loss of faith that led to the Aburi, Ghana summit, that led to the declaration of Biafra.
Regrettably, cost of the very bloody war that cost Nigeria Bakasi peninsular, control of our oil resources and stable economic and political growth ever since, has been borne by Ndigbo alone. Envy and fear of Ndigbo unwittingly established an anti-Igbo political culture that seems to suit everyone just fine. Nigeria did not know when to apply the brakes on the punishment meted out to Ndigbo over the years.”
He said “denying Ndigbo their dues and rights over January 1966 coup and the attendant civil war, does not make sense.”
In an interview on yesterday in Aba, Abia State, a political analyst, Gilbert Onyema expressed fears that APC and PDP may not be gracious enough to allow an Igbo man to be their presidential candidate.
“Let us be realistic, who do you think that the two major parties can give the ticket among the known Igbo personalities? Being the president of Nigeria for Atiku Abubakar is a mission that he must accomplish.”
“Igbo presidency in 2023, for me, is practically impossible. Are you talking about PDP or APC giving the Igbo man the presidential ticket? I doubt if that will happen,” he said.