ENUGU— PRESIDENT General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Ambassador Ralph Uwechue, weekend, said that unless the South-East geopolitical zone pressed for a constitutional amendment that would enshrine the reality and absolute equality of the six geopolitical zones and work collectively to secure the presidency after the South-South in 2015, it would be difficult for Igbo to regain their leading role in the nation’s polity.
Uwechue also lamented that the South-East zone, which had been in the forefront of the nation’s affairs, had been relegated to the background.
In a lecture, entitled: “Charting a new course for the Igbo nation in the Nigerian Polity” at the inauguration of the Richard Agu-led executive committee of Enugu Sports Club, Uwechue noted that Ndigbo had been consistent in the pursuit of national unity and inter-ethnic cooperation.
He stressed that under the leadership of the late Owelle of Onitsha, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Igbo played the role of bridge builders in the fledgling Nigerian nation.
Uwechue said: “Ndigbo, apart from their demographic weight, are exceptionally resourceful as evidenced by their outstanding achievements in various fields of human endeavour, both at home and abroad.”
He traced the core problems facing Ndigbo at the national political stage to the immediate events that preceded the civil war from 1967 to 1970, saying it created fear and distrust among the Igbos.
According to Uwechue, despite the immense contributions of the South East zone to the nation’s development, the zone has remained the only zone that has not produced the president of the country since the birth of Nigeria some centuries ago.
He said, however, that the zone had not helped matters, despite its obscure nature due to the continued infighting and divisions which had become the hallmark in Igbo affairs anywhere in the country
He said Ohanaeze Ndigbo was putting great emphasis on uniting the people and guiding them towards a common political and economic agenda, stressing that the target was to ensure that Ndigbo focussed attention on securing the presidency, which, according to him, is the master key to any national development exercise.
In this regard, he disclosed that Ohanaeze had now put up a case and was seriously canvassing for the rotation of the office of president among the six geo-political zones of the country.
Uwaechue disclosed that the rallying cry for Igbo support for President Goodluck Jonathan during the last April general elections was based on the premise that power should rotate within the six geopolitical zones.
He said the emergence of the next president from the South East was not a privilege but a legitimate political right and should be seen as such by all well meaning Nigerians in the interest of sheer equity and national well being.