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*2015: Jonathan, Only Problem To Igbo’s Presidential Aspiration –Dr Ikedife, Ohanaeze chieftain
The year, 2015, when general elections will be conducted in Nigeria appears to be distant. Nevertheless, the truth is that time flies, which has prompted the immediate past President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Dr. Dozie Ikedife, to articulate in specific terms the necessary conditions to be met ahead of time to actualise the Igbo Presidency, provided President Goodluck Jonathan is not going to run for a second term.
The elder statesman pinpointed unity and support of other ethnic groups as the unavoidable dynamics to achieve the Igbo Presidency project, “otherwise, it will be a pipe dream.” He took a swipe at people, who he said thoght the Igbo coud not produce Nigerian President of Igbo extraction.
He said they should stop insulting the Igbo “when we have many good presidential materials from the South-East geo-political zone.” Dr. Ikedife also talked about sudden increase in the prices of petroleum products and condemned it. Excerpts: For the Igbo to clinch the Presidency in 2015, there are certain things that must be put in place without which it will be a pipe dream.
One, the Igbo must be united. Number two, we must know what the Presidency is thinking: whether President Goodluck Jonathan has made a statement as to whether he wants to run in 2015 or not. You know you cannot underrate the power of incumbency. And if he is running, then the whole thing takes a different posture. I do not think that if he eventually decides to run again in 2015 that the Igbo would want to come out and oppose him in that respect. So, it should be known whether the seat is going to be vacant for new entrants or whether it is going to be somebody continuing from where he stopped.
But supposing that he says he is not going to run, then, of course, there are many Igbo, who are potentially good presidential materials and it doesn’t require rocket science to comb them out. They will come out. There are many of them. I can even begin to mention names but may be, it is too premature to mention names and, even now, you are focusing your mind on some of them in your search and thinking of the matter. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan speaking at funeral service of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Eze Igbo Gburugburu.
It does not take miracle. First of all, the Igbo must be united. They must know under what umbrella they are going to seek the Presidency of this country. The other members of the Nigerian populace are of course very important. If they are sympathetic towards the Igbo’s aspiration, it will make it feasible, possible and achievable. But if they vehemently oppose it, the task will become more difficult and the achievement will become tedious. But as for the desire, or having made a case that the Igbo should produce the next President after Goodluck Jonathan, there is no doubt about it.
The Igbo are very well decided on that and very well determined to work for it. Some other ethnic groups are said to be afraid that if an Igbo man is allowed to become the President of Nigeria that he might divide the country into independent segments. How do you react to that? Whoever is saying that is simply playing mischief.
Who are the people now fighting the division of this country? Is it the Igbo? Are the Igbo the people championing Boko Haram? Are the Igbo the people clamoring for Islamic State? Are the Igbo the people championing Oduduwa State ? This is a wrong accusation, mischievous accusation, uncomplimentary accusation. The Igbo certainly are not that way inclined.
They (the Igbo) have invested in Nigeria more than any other ethnic group, the Hausas, the Yorubas, the Ijaws, the Ibibios, name them. So, it is a mischievous accusation. If the country will be divided, forces that will divide it will make it divide. Don’t blame it on the Igbo. This is an extension of a mischievous thinking, wrong thinking that the Igbo wanted to divide this country to carve out the sovereign State of Biafra .
That is a wrong interpretation of the events of 1965, 66, 67, wrong interpretation because Igbo were hounded and killed in every part of the country and they decided and said, okay since we have been chased from every part of the country, let us go to our home land and look after ourselves. And the war was declared against the Igbo. So, the accusation is a continuation of wrong thoughts that the Igbo wanted to divide the country. The Igbo never wanted to divide the country.
And it is high time this thing was made as clear as possible to the rest of the population, anybody who cares to listen. Some other people are also of the opinion that the Igbo, because of love of money, can sell the Presidency to other ethnic groups if given the chance. Are you of the same opinion, Sir? I don’t know where you get these mischievous views and opinions about the Igbo. Who are the wealthiest people in this country today? They are not Igbo. Count the wealthy people in Nigeria ; they are the Yorubas, the Hausas or Fulanis.
The Igbo do individual lone range struggling. And when they struggle people say they love money. It is not true. Have you ever seen a Yoruba person, Hausa person, Jukun person or Ibibio person who goes to throw his money into the River Niger or into the Ocean? Have you seen one? Talking about the mischievous stealing in this country, how many of them were done by the Igbo? You read papers.
How many Igbo are involved in dirty dealings, money laundering and cheating? They are not many. The Igbo are just people who struggle from sun up to sun down for their daily bread. And people say they love money. Tell me the other Nigerian who will come and give you scholarship, give scholarship to your children and take your responsibilities.
They must stop that insult on the Igbo. It must stop. Let’s digress a bit, Sir. The pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) was recently pegged at N97 per liter away from its N65 former price after labour and government had haggled. Surprisingly, the price has pushed up again to over N100 per liter. How do you react to that? Well, it is true that in many patrol stations except NNPC mega stations they sell well over N100 per liter. Some sell even as much as N120 per liter. It is a little bit disappointing that after a lot of haggling, sweat and negotiations that the price could not be maintained at N97 per liter which the populace even thought was a little too high.
What I might ask is what is the government doing about it? Or is government not aware that petrol is being sold at N100 plus, N110, N120 in many parts of the country and they are doing nothing about it. Diesel is sold at N160, N180, a liter and they do nothing about it. Has the government succumbed to what you may call market forces, simple law of demand and supply? If demand is high then the government can do a lot of things to increase supply, beef up the refineries in the country, install new ones if need be.
It is not enough that you refine enough for local consumption and refine enough for export. It is still noticed that crude is being exported and the refined ones are being imported. It is totally negative; government will ensure that this is stopped as soon as possible otherwise we misapply our sense of economics. And whether you want to reduce the price or increase it you must know that market forces, demand and supply come to play.
So long as we have crude oil, we must try to meet the demands of domestic needs. It is only when you do that then you can regulate the price, otherwise it will be like it is a joke or a hoax or a deceit to say that you are pegging the price when you cannot control or regulate that price. It looks as if labour has compromised since it has been quiet over this continued price increase of the petroleum products. What are your comments? E-hm, I’m not a labour leader and I’m not a member of any labour union.
In many places you buy well over N100 a liter and diesel around N160, N180. I think attention should be called to it, so that they will see whether the prevailing price is what was agreed on or whether the laiddown is from people who may have been enjoying the subsidy and now that they understand that the subsidy has been removed then they are trying to get the subsidy from the public by increasing the pump prices of the petroleum products. It is something we have to understand well before we talk seriously on it.
Even the National Assembly does not react to that. Shouldn’t the general public read meanings to that? Well, I’m not a member of the National Assembly or State House assembly. I’m not a member of either of them. But I think now that you have said so their attention should be drawn to it so that if they are not aware, and I will be surprised if they are not aware, although they may be getting from mega stations at the official rate, that prices of the products have continued to be on the increase, then their attention should be called to this situation and let’s see how they will react to it.
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