Jonathan, Buhari To Unveil Agenda For South East Zone
WITH barely a week to the presidential elections, the two leading presidential candidates, President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari will tomorrow present themselves before Ndigbo in Owerri or Enugu to show case what they have in stock for them if voted into office.
Making the revelation in Enugu State yesterday, a member of the Igbo Conversation Group (ICG) and former governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim in his address at the inaugural meeting of the group at the Nike Lake Hotel, said, “It is not too late for them to come and address us, a day is enough in politics.”
The former governor, who noted that the ICG is a college of Igbo intellectuals and not a association or a group seeking pecuniary handouts from any presidential candidate or anybody, said, “we have to come together to save our nation; we have to come together to save Igbo land. Whether Ndigbo vote or not, someone will win, but if we have to vote, we should be careful how we do it.”
“We want the best candidate to win. We want the best person who will address the best interests of Ndigbo. The Igbo love the Hausa, the North. After the war, Ndigbo lost their properties everywhere. But in the North, our people got back their properties without fuss and rancour. But in Rivers State, they became abandoned property.”
Various speakers noted how the Igbo have been shortage-changed in the country, despite their “strategic importance” over the years and insisted that the time has come for a rethink.
In the keynote address titled : “2015 and Igbo question: Towards a new Igbo civilization,” the former vice chancellor of the Anambra State University of Technology, and pro chancellor of the university of Maiduguri and the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Professor Chiweyite Ejike, stated, “we are fully aware that the Jonathan administration has not seriously addressed the core promises and commitments made to Ndigbo during the 2011 election campaign.”
Ejike, who heads the Ozo Traditional Society in Nigeria and the deputy chairman of Igbo Leaders of Thought, noted further that, “In spite of (this), the Igbo Leaders of Thought believes that the best interest of Ndigbo would be better served by our people supporting the reelection of President Jonathan.”
Chief Enechi Onyia (SAN) said: “Igbo should be proud because we have a history;
“In the last election, we were meant to understand that after Jonathan, that it will be the turn of the Ndigbo. But it is looking increasing difficult for Jonathan to fulfill that promises, we don’t blame him, it is politics. But what it means is that no one can make Ndigbo president, we will get it by our ability.”
The former Attorney General of Enugu, Chief (Mrs.) Kate Onwe said: “we don’t have roads in the South East where others in the West and North have infrastructure, both what they asked for and didn’t ask for. Not only roads, we don’t have security. Wherever there is crisis in the country, the Igbo are the first to be attacked or killed. Let all us turn out to vote.”
Professor Pat Utomi, in his contribution, said: “the issue of endorsement is all over the place, but was it discussed. What did we get from the other endorsements. They tell us that they love the Igbo, yet their it we have been hearing how they love the Igbo, yet they can’t tar our roads. Can we endorse a government without sitting down to engage and get commitment. We need to be strategic about how we engage on the Nigerian issue.
“For the past six weeks, Jonathan has virtually relocated to the South West to campaign. Did he relocate to the East? No, because we have already endorsed. Unless we redeem Igbo culture, we cannot redeem the Igbo land. All the Igbo man wants is a level playing field. That is all we want from the candidates and the country. Enough is enough. The time for action is now.”
On what has hampered Ndigbo from going forward, various speakers decried the impression that the Ndigbo have been known as a people who can be bought over with money.