Against the backdrop of insinuations that the South-East geopolitical zone would suffer neglect by the new administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for giving him a paltry .013 per cent of the total votes cast in the March 28 presidential election, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has assured that, the situation would be different.
The APC National Auditor, Dr. George Moghalu gave this assurance, while speaking at a dinner organised by Igbo Progressives, IP, Lagos State chapter for leading Igbo personalities in the party.
Moghalu, who gave the keynote address at the event, affirmed that Ndigbo were part of the forces that make up the tripod-legs called Nigeria, adding that insinuations that they would be marginalized under the APC-led Federal Government must be dispelled, as no political party would survive without the support of the Igbo.
Eminent sons and daughters of Igbo, who graced the event were Second Republic politician and Life Patron of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Guy Ikokwu; President, Lagos State chapter of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Fabian Onwughalu; former Managing Director, defunct Hallmark Bank, Chief Marcus Wabara; Convener of IP, Chief Gabby Dimude; National Women’s Coordinator and Controller, IP, Chief Chinwe Dike; National Leader, Ndi Igbo Dum, Igwe Amobi Moghalu and former Vice Chairman, Ojo Local Government, Princess Chichi Gbadero, among others.
However, those who were billed to attend the event but got stalled at various airports across the nation, as a result of the recent fuel crisis, were the former governor of old Abia State and a National Leader of APC, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu; former Governor of Anambra State, Senator Chris Ngige; National Vice Chairman, South-East APC, Hon. Emma Eneukwu and National Organising Secretary of the party, Sen. Osita Izunaso.
Earlier, the Convener of IP, Chief Dimude had said that the colloquium was aimed at meeting with leading Igbo personalities in the APC in order “to enable them explain the party’s national agenda for the Igbo and the place of the Igbo nation in the APC to ensure maximum support for high ranking Igbo sons and daughters in the APC, situating our intellectual contributions to the APC at the centre and determining our protection under the APC government in Lagos State.”
Speaking on the occasion, Moghalu, who pointed that the entire votes that Buhari got from the South-East was just 0.013 per cent, however said Ndigbo must begin to realign as a people to get things done right.
He said: “The reality on the ground is that we have no ranking Senator or ranking member of the House of Representatives from the South-East. We can’t bid for the post of the Senate President, neither can we bid for the Speakership of the House of representatives. It is not about a wish, but about the pains I feel. It was politically wrong for us. In the electioneering process, our people were not allowed to vote. The environment for our people to exercise their civic rights was not provided. We were denied the opportunity to vote, but at the same time, I feel bad as a person.
“I feel worried for the Igbo nation. So, as a people, we must realign and see to what extent we are going to get things done right.
‘’Fortunately for us, the leadership of General Buhari has expressed a desire to turn around the electoral process so that the people’s vote can count; so that the people can choose their leaders themselves.”
On the ministerial list of the administration, which many have said that Igbo will be marginalized, the APC chieftain reassured that the list bandied about on social media should be disregarded, noting that Buhari and the party were yet to release the ministerial list.
His words: “One thing I know is that we have a fair-minded President. I know we also have a fair-minded National Chairman and the National Working Committee, NWC, members are committed to equity, justice and fairness.
So, there is no way anyone can say the Igbo man is not part of the Nigerian project, otherwise what are people like us who are of Igbo extraction doing in the APC? I make bold to say that in the constitution of our party, every part of this country is considered a component part, and our leadership and government will carry everybody along. I am indeed confident that the interest of the Igbo man will be protected under the Buhari administration.”
On his part, Ikokwu who chaired the occasion, seized the opportunity to extol the virtues of late eminent Igbo patriots like Nigeria’s first President, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, former Premier of defunct Eastern Nigeria, Dr. Michael Opara; former Premier of defunct Mid-Western Nigeria, Chief Dennis Osadebay; former Eastern Regional Minister of Works and Finance, Mazi Mbonu Ojike; political icon, Ozumba Mbadiwe; Ex-Biafran war-lord, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu; pioneering Nigerian female politician and women’s rights activist, Chief Margaret Ekpo among others.
Ikokwu, however, berated those suggesting that Ndigbo would be marginalised under the Buhari administration because they gave him little or no votes during the last presidential election, pointing that “Those people saying that Ndigbo will suffer neglect or marginalisation under the administration of Buhari should be aware that Igbo is one of the tripod-legs that makes up the entity called Nigeria. If Ndigbo as one of these tripod-legs are removed, Nigeria won’t stand.”