REACTIONS, yesterday, trailed the call by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo for a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction in 2019, with the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, and former president of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Dozie Ikedife, saying the former president should not be taken seriously.
In his reaction, MASSOB leader, Mr Uchenna Madu, said Obasanjo’s statement was a sign of jittery, following the growing consciousness of the Biafra actualization, adding that he (Obasanjo) got it wrong by believing that he could use Igbo presidency to entice Igbo people. He has nothing good to offer —MASSOB He said: “Nobody should rejoice over the statement by Obasanjo because he will never do or say anything good about Igbo. For him to solicit for Igbo president is not in the interest of Ndigbo. “It could also be that he is afraid of the emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the next president and he is, therefore, trying to work against the man by pretending to be on the side of the Igbo. “We in MASSOB cannot take him serious. If he means to show remorse for all the wrong things he did against Igbo, he should first of all pay solidarity visits to the Ohanaeze Ndigbo,and the traditional and religious leaders in this area. It’s not most important thing for Igbo nation—Ikedife Also, former Ohanaeze President, Dr. Dozie Ikedife, said he did not think Obasanjo’s recommended Igbo president was the most important thing for the Igbo nation. “Anyway, we have heard him and we believe that he thought over the matter before making the statement. But the important question is, who needs Igbo president? Is it Nigeria of Ndigbo?” he asked. Obasanjo I doubt his sincerity—Activist Prominent human rights activist and constitutional lawyer, Dr. Anthony Agbazuere, expressed doubt over the sincerity of the former president on the issue, saying the suggestion was a welcome one if former President Obasanjo was sincere about it. He said: “Yes, we need it because we have suffered enough, but what I don’t know is the possibility now as the North is still having only one term. If a Yoruba man is saying that now, he may be putting us on a collision course with the North. “I think the ideal time for the turn of South East is 2023 when the North would have completed their two terms.” Call deceitful —PDP chieftain In a similar vein, a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, stakeholder in Ebonyi State and former Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Chief Abia Onyike, described the call for Igbo president in 2019 as deceitful and superficial. According to him, Nigeria should restructure or be prepared for de-amalgamation. He said: “That can happen through genuine re-structuring of the system and a return to genuine federalism. Talking of Igbo presidency is deceitful and superficial. It is either we restructure or be prepared for de-amalgamation. Achi-Okpaga lauds OBJ Meanwhile, National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prince Uche Achi-Okpaga, has commended Obasanjo, saying: “We are poised to galvanize Ndigbo and indeed all Nigerians for a total support of the Igbo presidency. Ndigbo have track records of supporting the North (military or civilian), the South-West (Obasanjo) and South-South (Jonathan). Therefore, we expect all the geopolitical zones to reciprocate this kind political gesture.” His support necessary—Ezeife A former Governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, said what the former President said was his personal opinion and that he should follow it up to tell his followers to support any South East Presidential candidate. He said: “There is nothing bad about it. He has expressed his opinion. He is a respected person in the country. If he said so, it is his right to express his opinion. “However, political office is not by fiat, you have to fight for it. If that is what he thinks should happen, he should give his support to it.” Also reacting, the Presidential candidate of the United Progressive Party, UPP, in the 2015 elections, Chief Chekwas Okorie, said: “It is good he has expressed his opinion. But the truth is left to the political parties to choose. Nigeria is not structured for an Igboman to become president. “The way an Igboman can become a presidential candidate of a political party is if that party zones the presidential slot to the place. If APGA, for instance, does not zone a presidential candidate to the South-East, the people cannot be president.” He doesn’t mean what he said—Ezeemo An industrialist and chieftain of the Progressive Peoples Alliance, Chief Godwin Ezeemo, said the former President was not somebody to be taken seriously. Ezeemo, who was a governorship candidate of PPA in Anambra State said: “Well, for me, that statement is political. He doesn’t mean it. I don’t think he means well for the South East.” He could be rational—Nkem-Abonta Also commenting, a member of the House of Representatives representing Ukwa Federal Constituency of Abia State, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta said: “Obasanjo calling for South East President in 2019 could be rational, could be real, it could be proper. Perhaps, he is realising all the unfair and unkind things he did to the South-East. “Obasanjo as an elder statesman, is he sincere for calling for the presidential candidate now coming from South East knowing that the incumbent ordinarily, naturally and from political arrangement will want to do two tenures? “Is it not an arrangement to throw spanner into political arrangement already done? With all the intent of that statement, we should look for the idea in him, the reason for saying that.