The Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Okechukwu has faulted South-East leaders over the endorsement of the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
It was recalled that Atiku received the endorsement in Enugu during a gathering of Igbo leaders.
In a statement signed by Okechukwu on Thursday, he said endorsement was normal, but was quick to add: “My only concern is that they are posting the statement as if their position is the most viable option when pragmatically and rationally the collective interest of Ndigbo is properly assessed.
“Without being immodest, Professor Ben Nwabueze and Co’s option is 2nd rate to Igbo presidency in 2023, if actually they want to finally address the age long marginalisation of Ndigbo and create sense of belonging.”
Reminded of the position of the Professor Nwabueze group that President Muhammadu Buhari seems to have excluded Ndigbo in his government as reflected in their resolutions, he said, “one as a supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari won’t come here to defend him for not appointing any Igbo man the head of any of the security agencies, that will be indefensible; however, one can say that we have fair share on the Grade A Ministers.
“Buhari in addition did better in execution of critical of infrastructure with little resources in less than four years than PDP with humongous resources in 16 years.
“On the serious side of the political coin, one can sincerely state that there is no better way to once and for all create a sense of belonging for Ndigbo better than harvesting the rotation of president convention.
“By extension, there is no better way to actualising level playing field, equity and natural justice than voting for Buhari in 2019, as voting for him will make his supporters to vote for us. His cult followership is mostly from the north. He is “Ekwom Ibe” meaning a man trusted by his people. And when we talk of 2023, Buhari’s remaining four years is cast in constitutional stone more than Atiku’s pledge.
“In sum, I stand firmly by the position of our group -the Zikist-Buharist-Movement (ZBM) that, ‘History will not forgive Igbo leaders if we willfully put all our eggs into only Atiku basket and drop the more fruitful Buhari basket.’
“In deep reflection, we asked ourselves, what option in a scenario where two Fulani Muslim brothers – Buhari and Atiku – are front liners in the 2019 presidential election, who could the great Zik choose if he were alive?
“In answering this germane question, we said two major critical issues will readily come to Zik’s mind – one, whom between the two of them has the support of the North, two, what is their programme?
“As a pragmatist, the great Zik would readily choose President Muhammadu Buhari who has uncommon cult followership in the northern belt. This choice is based on the pragmatism that for us to achieve the Igbo presidency, we need Buhari’s supporters not only in the north but nationwide. If we want additional state, Buhari stand a better chance to persuade his people.”
“On the second issue, the great Zik would be attracted by His Excellency Atiku Abubakar’s promise to restructure the country in six months in office; but as a pragmatist he will reason that it cannot be achieved by Fiat-Executive-Order. We cannot fathom why eminent Igbo leaders like Professor Ben Nwabueze fail to reason with the great Zik?”
“Whereas the Atiku restructuring mantra is appetising, the truism is that it cannot be done by Fiat-Executive Order, but by the amendment of the rigid 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. All that glitters is not gold, the sage says, for Atiku cannot restructure without the core North.”
He cautioned that “Ndigbo should reflect deeply, be pragmatic and rational instead of entering a “One Chance Bus” for APC and, by extension President Buhari, is not against restructuring, per se, but wants an orderly restructuring; otherwise, they could not have set up the Malam El-Rufia Committee on Restructuring and its report receiving attention.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, no four regions as either mistakenly or mischievously quoted by Professor Nwabueze & Co agreed on issues on their table like region. For Enugu, Ebonyi, Lagos, Ogun, Bayels, Cross River and majority of the states in the north rejected region in the 1995 Abacha and 2014 Jonathan Constitutional Conferences and may likely reject same in any future Conference,” Okechukwu submitted.