The Ohaneze Ndigbo Youth Council (OYC) has issued a communique demanding an Igbo president in 2019 as the only solution to the Biafran agitation.
After a meeting in Enugu, the OYC released the communiqué signed by its General Secretary, Okwu Nnabuike, declaring that “It is Igbo Presidency in 2019 or Biafra 2020”.
The Ohaneze Youth wing disclosed that it had mobilised all its resources towards the actualisation of the quest for an ‘Igbo President’ in 2019, stressing that the Igbos would no longer play the ‘second fiddle in Nigerian politics’.
The group described as a “sheer injustice and hatred, a situation where no Igbo has been allowed close to the seat of power for decades of years, whereas other geo-political zones have been taking turns either as military or civilian presidents”.
The OYC stated that their position on the 2019 presidential election was largely informed by the North’s opposition to calls for restructuring as well as the quit notice given to Igbos living in the North by a coalition of Northern groups. The statement reads in part:
“More annoying is the fact that the North, a major beneficiary in this direction, has bluntly refused to heed the call for restructuring, which has been identified as the panacea for the many socio-political problems plaguing the nation.
“Besides, they (North) have also not only continued to express disdain over the demand for Biafra by IPOB and MASSOB, but have also ordered the Ndigbo out of the North based on these agitations.
“Remember that former President Obasanjo had urged Nigerians to beg Biafra agitators; and only a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction will appease the Igbos or the Biafra agitation will be inevitable.
“If there is any conspiracy against a President of Igbo extraction, that will surely bring Biafra into existence. One now wonders why Ndigbo will continue to be treated in this manner.
“Two days ago, the acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo re-echoed the fact that Nigeria is in a marriage. He was quoted as saying that our nation has been in marriage for a while now. Sometimes, there are quarrels within that marriage. Sometimes there is disagreement. What is important is that you must remain together. You must remain united.
“It does appear from the above that Ndigbo have perpetually remained the sacrificial lamb to keep this forced marriage together. They have remained victims of an abusive marriage, often beaten, cheated by the husband.
“We have resolved today that this grave injustice cannot continue. It is the Igbo presidency in 2019 with a Vice President from the North or nothing.
“We are not ready any longer to be treated with levity and disdain in this country and for that we are calling on all Igbo sons and daughters both at home and in the Diaspora to key into this project”.
Meanwhile, the umbrella body of the Igbo social-cultural group, the Ohaneze Ndigbo, has again dissociated itself from the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB)’s agitation to secede from Nigeria. According to the group, the issue of secession should be forgone, stressing that what the country currently needs is restructuring.
Chuks Ibegbu, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the Ohaneze Ndigbo, reiterated that the group believes more in a restructured Nigeria; a Nigeria that has a level playing field for all sections of the country; a Nigeria that gives each part of the country a sense of belonging.
“For example, in a country of 36 states, the South-East has five states and 95 local governments; while Kano State alone has 44 local governments. The other time, we saw the statistics of recruitment in the Department of State Services with Katsina State alone having 51 allocations. Yet, we have the Federal Character Commission.
“We want the FCC to investigate the recent recruitment in the DSS. Abia State got only six allocations; Enugu State, six; Katsina, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, got 51 slots. These are the sort of issues that elicit agitations.
“We are not saying Nigeria should be divided, but the issues these young men are talking about should be addressed. Instead, it seems they want people like Nnamdi Kanu to shut up without addressing the issues, judging by the bail conditions (they gave him),” Ibegbu said.