PAN-Igbo cultural organisation Ohaneze Ndigbo has described yesterday’s National Assembly elections as an orchestrated gang up against the southeast geopolitical zone after none of its lawmakers were elected into leadership positions.
Yesterday, elections were held into the leadership positions of both houses of the National Assembly but no Igbo official was elected. Under Nigeria’s informal zoning arrangement, all the six geo-political zones get one of the top offices and with the president and vice president coming from the northwest and southwest respectively, the four other zones had been expected to clinch the National Assembly leadership.
In the senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan from the northeast was elected as president and the deputy senate presidency went to Senator Ovie Omo-Agege from the south-south. In the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila from the southwest was elected as the speaker, while Hon Idris Wase from the north central geopolitical zone was elected as his deputy.
Uche Achi-Okpaga, Ohaneze Ndigbo’s publicity secretary, said: “We are not surprised a bit, as he that is down needed fear no fall. Recall that I had told you that we are not expecting any favour from this administration as the government of President Buhari does not place any premium on the southeast and he did not mince or mumble words about that right from the onset of his first tenure.
“So, all his political foot soldiers and adherents in the National Assembly and elsewhere watch and identify with his body language, embellished with primordial ethnocentric and religious tidings. This government has succeeded in igniting an orchestrated gang up against the southeast.
“We have continued to extend our hands of fellowship but on each occasion, it is trampled with the feet of hatred buoyed by the air of ethnic chauvinism. The Igbo should sit down and decide their political direction henceforth.”
Likewise, the Igbo Renaissance Forum (IRF), has expressed sadness over what it described as the total exclusion of the people of the southeast from government positions by the present administration. Its international coordinator, Nze Ugo-Akpe Onwuka, told Nigerians to expect the worse in the Next Level of the All Progressives Congress (APC) government.
He added: “First of all, we would want to seize this opportunity to congratulate the malevolent schemers who have finally succeeded in scheming the Igbo nation out of the country Nigeria by the exclusion from key positions in the governance of the country. We are congratulating them because they have succeeded in doing what is virtually impossible in sane climes.
“They have succeeded in strangling separation of powers and would in no time shoot the rule of law, point blank in the middle of the eyes. It is great to know that you completed your mission albeit without much resistance from those who are at risk and should have known better.
“It is expedient to note that the final nail was hammered into the casket of Igbo involvement in governance in Nigeria today as the cycle is fully completed. As the country Nigeria stands today, there is no Igbo man in the executive ranks, none in the judiciary, none in security and none in the legislature.”
“It has become very obvious to even a blind man that the Igbo is not wanted in the affairs of governance in Nigeria and for those who have been very watchful as these schemes played out. This is the time for the Igbo nation to go back to their drawing board and get things fixed.”
Ohaneze Ndigbo president Chief Nnia Nwodo added that the country Nigeria, has been treating the Igbo people as conquered minority. In a lecture at Owerri, he emphasised about the number of military/police checkpoints in Igboland, pointing out that as a result of that, the level of extortion has remained worrisome.
Among other things, Chief Nwodo lamented that since 1970, the southeast has not produced a president and that for 49 years, the Igbo people have occupied the position of the chief of army staff only once. However, in proffering solution, he first of all warned that to get it right in the country, there is urgent need to holistically restructure Nigeria.
Chief Nwodo added: “Speaking from the Igbo point of view, since the end of Nigerian civil war, no Igbo man has been allowed to become the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, either in military conspired coups or through major political party nomination elections. The highest position the Igbo man has attained since 1970 is the position of vice president, which the late Dr Alex Ekwueme occupied between 1979 and 1983.
“In the 49 years under review, only one Igbo man has been chief of army staff, the second to occupy that position since Nigeria’s independence. Two Igbo men became inspectors-generals of police and lasted for only short spans.”