By: Izunna Okafor
As the date for the 2023 Nigerian presidential election draws closer, Ndi Igbo have been called upon to top their game towards ensuring the emergence of a President of Igbo extraction come 2023.
The Vice President, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene made the call while speaking at a one-day event organised by National Forum for South East Presidency (NFSEP), a non-partisan forum of like-minded people keen about having southeast produce the next President of Nigeria.
Speaking at the event which held at Awka, Anambra State capital, Ogene, who was also the Chairman of the Occasion, recounted the experience of Ndi Igbo during the 30-month Nigeria/Biafra Civil War, and cautioned Ndigbo against applying violence in the pursuit of the Presidential slot to the South East zone.
While noting that there is no alternative to Nigerian President of Igbo extraction, he acknowledged that no zone had gotten the presidential seat on a platter of gold, and that no zone could get it on its own alone, even as he urged Ndi Igbo to combine and apply both wisdom, tactfulness, courage and resilience, while also being peaceful and careful in the pursuit.
Earlier in his address of welcome, the National President of the Forum, Dr. Patrick Enuneku, noted that it was the turn of the southeast to produce the country’s President, as other regions have taken their own turns of the national slot. He also revealed that Nigeria was facing a threat of collapse, and opined that having a Nigerian President of southeast extraction would reduce agitation and tension going on in the country.
He said, “Nigeria is at the verge of collapse, but God forbid. If an Igbo Man gets the position of President, Nigeria will definitely enjoy the atmosphere of decency in its democracy. If Ndigbo are involved in the presidential status of Nigeria’s politics, the nation will enjoy more dividends of democracy.”
Dr. Enuneku further canvassed for total support from every Igbo person in particular and other Nigerians in general for the Igbo Presidency project, urging every political party to field Igbo candidates come 2023, to ensure that equity, justice, fairness and true democracy prevail in the nation’s affairs.
Delivering a lecture at the event, Rev. Fr. Dr. Emefiena Ezeani who differentiated a leader and a politician, and asserted that politics was not a game, but a serious business.
While dismissing Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s claim that Igbos should not be allowed to rule Nigeria simply because they are agitating for Biafra, as irrelevant and unnecessary; Fr. Emefiena who is also an author, acknowledged the fact that Ndi Igbo have divers interests in the nation’s affairs, and advised them to have a reflection before action than action before reflection, in their quest for the 2023 Presidency.
The event which also featured the celebration of one-year anniversary of the Forum, and presentation of awards to some deserving individuals, drew the participation of Anambra State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Lady Ndidi Mezue; the National President of Anambra State Association of Town Unions (ASATU), Mr. Titus Akpudo; the State Chairman of Ohaneze Ndigbo in Anambra, Prince Festus Emeka Udodeme; the Traditional Ruler of Okpuno, HRM Igwe Engr. S. I. Okafor –Ogene Okpuno, among many others.