Former Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo, in this interview with Southeast Bureau Chief, LAWRENCE NJOKU, explains why Ndigbo should be allowed to produce President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor in 2023 and why stable power supply will continue to elude the country. Ndigbo wants their turn to be President in 2023. What is your involvement in this campaign?
The call for Igbo presidency in 2023 was borne out of patriotism. For me, getting interested in that dream for an Igboman to become president of Nigeria is because it is like the Igbo are no longer a factor in the Nigerian struggle. It is like there is a plan to exclude the Igbo from getting any political power or clout that will give them an executive advantage in the country. The clamour for the state of Biafra to be reborn was borne out of the massive ill-treatment of Ndigbo, disenfranchisement of Ndigbo, the unspeakable treatment of Ndigbo that have driven many of our young people to despair and despondency. So, when you talk to the typical young person, they feel that there is no hope for them in the entity called Nigeria and that is why some of them are so determined to the point of giving their lives to have independence and to become free from this shackles that Nigeria has placed on Ndigbo. For those of us who feel otherwise, I have always believed in one strong virile country, called Nigeria. Together we are stronger, better, and we can turn the lots of the country around. The dismemberment of Nigeria is not in the best interest of the black race. But in order to prevent that, Ndigbo must be given pride of place again in this country and that will come from an Igboman mounting the saddle of presidency in Nigeria. I think this is very important because if it does not happen, more people will become restive.For instance, right now, one of the most neglected geopolitical zones in the country is the Southeast. In terms of infrastructure development, it appears the federal government sometimes forgets that the region is part of Nigeria with regards to the distribution of amenities and infrastructure. Unfortunately, the political elite in Nigeria is the most selfish and unpatriotic. They are amassing huge amounts of wealth but they would cough out all that wealth if the system breaks under the weight of corruption, malevolence in leadership and the despicable treatment of Ndigbo. I think that to redress this from an Igbo perspective, each political party should determine that they would nominate an Igbo presidential candidate in 2023. That is the way to get the presidential zoning structure restored. It has happened before with the Yoruba when the major political parties decided that the Yoruba would take up the mantle of leadership and each of them nominated a Yoruba candidate (Falae and Obasanjo, and Obasanjo won). So, I am saying that an Igbo man should be given that opportunity now, to redress the very obvious disenfranchisement of Ndigbo. I believe that it is going to calm frayed nerves and remove a lot of stress from our young people who are progressively thinking that the only way out is for the southeast to break off from Nigeria.How could this happen, when the two major parties do not seem ready to court the Southeast?
One thing at the centre of all these is the issue of justice, equity and fair play. Grabbing power is the desire of every political party but with social justice on their agenda, the parties would think about the future of the country, and not about the transient nature of power.