Power Must Shift To South East (SE) After Jonathan
(Paper Presentation at "Ndigbo in the Geo-Politics of Nigeria, the way foward" Lecture - May 25, 2012 at NUJ Press Center, Enugu, Enugu State.)
Igbo Kwenu! Ohanaeze Kwenu! Ndigbo kwezuonu! Nke onye chiri, ya zara. Ndigbo, Ndi nwem, I stand gratefully here today, in my humble self, to address a nation whom God has abundantly blessed in love, wisdom and unbreakable unity. I stand here today to show my immense gratitude to Igbo who, even in the midst of great injustice and threat to slavery held-on in Nigeria, taking the lead in education and private enterprise. Age, experience and ‘Nzuko Igbo” have taught me that the spirit of Igbo is one that maintains progress in midst of grief and pain. Although it is over forty years since the Nigeria-Biafra war ended, you will all agree with me that, despite the continued unwritten law which militates against Igbo progress in Nigeria, through His Mercies, there still remain reasons to shout, once again, at the top of our voices: “Happy survival!”, “Our time is here!”.
A fair and equitable Nigeria governed by truth and justice calls for presidential power shift to South East Region after the completion of Goodluck Jonathan’s term either in 2015 or 2019 as the case may be. Ndigbo are not slaves nor third class citizens to be rendered impotent in the political equation by those who claim to have won an unjust war that should not have been fought in the first place. All the regions have taken turns in producing presidents that occupied the center for prolong periods. Northern regions (North East-5 years+, North West-15 years & North Central-18 years) have ruled Nigeria for 38 years; and Southern regions (South West-11 years+, South South-2 years & South East-6 months) for 13 years. Under the six geopolitical zones, four zones have had power for more than five years each, South East the least with 6 months. Nnamdi Azikiwe was a President, but he was not Head of Government-he did not form a federal cabinet. Azikiwe was only a ceremonial President. Tafawa Balewa was Prime Minister and Head of Government; he formed the federal cabinet. By 2015 after Jonathan completes one term of office, each geo-political zone with the exception of South East would have ruled Nigeria for at least five years. Equity and fairness call for the South East to take its turn after President Jonathan. After South East presidency, Nigeria can then decide whether or not to discard zoning and rotational presidency.
Nigerian president of South East extraction is a matter of “truth and justice” and not of concession. Nigeria needs a President of Igbo extraction to help stabilize the country from its falter and in addition foster development. An Igbo President will see the entire nation as his own homeland, since Igbos are in every nook and corner of the country. Such a president would evenly distribute developmental projects in the country. This means that if water runs in Umuahia, it must also run in Lagos and Kano.
I humbly, as our father, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu did several times before he passed unto Glory, make these passionate pleas:
1. That Igbo should, and as a matter of survival and living, must come, once again and forever, together in the spirit of Ahiara declaration, assert our basic rights in Nigeria.
2. That the Igbo take it upon us, from this very blessed and memorable day, to champion for Igbo presidency in Nigeria come 2015 or 2019 as the case may be with Jonathan’s full term.
3. That our leaders- in their different capacities- do whatever it takes, in the spirit of true federalism, to prevail upon our friends and neighbors from other tribes and ethnic groups within Nigeria on the need for an Igbo presidency after Jonathan. We, as Igbo nation, have severally, in the past, stood behind and seen to the successes of peoples from other tribes and ethnicities in Nigeria for the post of the presidency - a post no Igbo has occupied since we lost in a “no victor no vanquished” war.
4. That, in other to achieve this, every other matter and reason for disparity and disagreements amongst us should and must be relegated to the background and all efforts, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, resources and time be channeled towards communicating with, educating, and reaching agreements with our people in their different positions and beliefs in Nigeria.
5. That, this time, as a nation united unto eternity, we must speak with a voice to the rest of Nigerians of the need, justice and inevitability of accepting and having an Igbo presidency. Subjugation is not our inheritance and the spirit of slavery in times of great freedom is strange to us.
6. That every politics we play henceforth, no matter the party, be rooted in the conviction and steps towards producing an Igbo presidency after Jonathan.
7. That, in all wisdom, looking at the prevailing party in Nigeria today, and its zoning methods which have always rubbed us of our rights to the presidency since the war ended, it has now become pertinent and expedient to consider coming together and joining talents and resources in a party which agrees to true federalism and which supports, unconditionally, an Igbo presidency.
8. That, unlike decades gone, we should make it clearly understood by all and sundry in Nigeria that the rejection of an Igbo presidency would amount to Nigeria’s unfeeling of the Igbo pains and marginalization for over half a century. And making it clear that, should Nigeria and the elite who have and always would want an incapacitated Igbo in Nigeria, remain adamant on denying us our God-given rights in Nigeria, the only alternative left to us may be to lead our people out of a nation where we have remained rejected, robbed, marginalized and killed- despite our unrivaled competence and contributions towards a better Nigeria.
Thank you and God bless you all. Amen.
Chief Charles O. Okereke, B.S., M.S.
People’s Servant (Ps.)
Publisher, Nigeria Masterweb ( www.nigeriamasterweb.com )
*Photo Caption: Chief (aka People's Servant) Charles O. Okereke( left ), Chief (General - rtd.) Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu( right )