Posted by Vanguard on
PROFESSOR A. B. C. NWOSU, former Minister of Health and facilitator of the South East Movement (SEM), in this interview unfolds the agenda of the movement strategically positioned for the actualization of the Igbo presidency project come 2007.
PROFESSOR A. B. C. NWOSU, former Minister of Health and facilitator of the South East Movement (SEM), in this interview unfolds the agenda of the movement strategically positioned for the actualization of the Igbo presidency project come 2007. He declared that Ndigbo will in the interest of justice and fairness struggle for the presidency in 2007 as if their lives depend on it. Excepts.
You are in Enugu today, what brought you home this time?
I am a grassroots politician and I came to register in Anambra State and travel round the South East zone to assess the political situation at the grassroots. I also held several meetings with my associates, and to furnish and activate the secretariat for the South East Movement, which is a platform that my associates and I are building.
What is the South East Movement all about? Is it different from the South East Forum being flouted by Dr Alex Ekwueme, Dr Ezekiel Izuogu and others?
It is very different. First, the persons behind the two organizations are different and even though I have not read the mission statement of the South East Forum, I suspect that our objectives are different. For sure our objectives while focusing on Ndigbo and 2007 is more long term. Our mission statement was approved at a special meeting in August held in Zodiac Hotel Enugu and it is available. The copies I present you herewith and you can see the objectives. Also, the way we have planned to mobilize Ndigbo is innovative and the effectiveness shall be seen as it unfolds. Finally, we are organized in cells with a Steering Committee and a Secretary-General. The Secretary General is Dr. Joe Nwaorgu, a former Deputy Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the chairman of Igbo Day 2005 Celebration.
Don’t you think what you are doing will once again lead to proliferation of Igbo groups that will result in Ndigbo not speaking with one voice as they did in the past?
Certainly, it will not for three main reasons. First, all persons involved in this movement are persons who have paid their dues for Ndigbo and Nigeria and will not permit dissonance or disequillibrium in Igbo land. Secondly, our mission statement is categorical that we will co-operate and work with like minds and organizations within the South East and outside the South East to build a fair and just nation where Ndigbo are not marginalized but accorded their rightful place in all aspects of our national life including the presidency of Nigeria. We are also interested in building a comprehensive data bank for Ndigbo in Nigeria and in Diaspora. The movement will also stops the marginalization of Igbo youths and women within Igbo land and Nigeria. These are just some of the things that the South East Movement (SEM) seeks to achieve. It, therefore, follows that we cannot work against or speak bad of other Igbo groups. What we seek is that like minds shall congregate for the realization of Igbo objectives in Nigeria. We do not believe that there can only be one way or one strategy for achieving the objectives and it is best for like minds to stick together rather than patching up too many unlike minds. In Igbo philosophy, "the Eagle perches and the kite also perches". These days even the vulture also perches.
Can you name some of these like minds who are with you in this movement?
It is best not to begin to drop names and discuss strategies in the open. I have the mandate only to name the Secretary-General of the movement. We are organized in compartments namely the Think-Tank, which include persons like Dr Emeka Enejere and Dr Ihechukwu Madubuike. We also have persons of high credibility and commitment to Ndigbo such as Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, Chukwuemeka Ezeife etc. We also have the writers led by Pini Jason. We have strategists, we have the youths, we have the women and we have what we call the legitimizers because this is an all encompassing movement.
By the time of our next general meeting, which is November 5 some of the names will be in the open. You will discover that it is the names that were involved in organizing the bridge meeting of the South East with the Middle Belt on August 2, 2005 in Abuja. The same names that will facilitate the South East - South South strategic partnership meeting in November. The same names that will organize a massive South-East movement rally in Enugu early in 2006 to build up political momentum and drive for Ndigbo as 2007 approaches.
But Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe attended the South East Forum recently held in Enugu?
Yes, he also attended and was a convener for the South East Middle Belt bridge meeting which was not a South East Forum’s function. Commodore Ukiwe is a very distinguished Nigerian with sterling qualities. We hold him in very high regard and as I said, we are not antagonistic to any Igbo organization.
I thought that after the Middle Belt ––South East dialogue that you and your colleagues have given up?
No! Not at all. Ndigbo say that 'when what the jar is chewing is not finished the jar does not rest'. The purpose of the bridge meeting is to reach out to all the other zones in Nigeria for a better understanding of the Igbo personality and the Igbo objectives in Nigeria. We are at advanced stages of facilitating and being a major part of the South South, South East strategic partnership meeting and we shall reach out to other Igbo organizations in our effort.
I can see from what you are saying that Ndigbo are serious about 2007 presidency.
I have said it many times. That the 2007 presidency for Ndigbo is a matter of life itself. We have a proverb that "you cannot be struggling to be part of your father’s property with a faint heart". If you do, then you are not certain in your mind that you are actually your father’s biological child. For 2007 presidency, Ndigbo want to establish that they are bonafide Nigerians and can hold the highest office in the land. On this there is no shaking. Just like other zones are struggling to win the presidency in 2007, Ndigbo as part of the old Eastern Region and in the interest of justice and fairness, will struggle for the presidency in 2007 as if our lives depend on it.
But are there Igbos who are really ready to run for presidency in 2007? People from other zones especially the North have since declared but nobody has done that in the South East?
There are Igbos that are very well prepared to contest the presidency, and they are very qualified. In due time when the others start declaring, these persons will also declare. If I may recall there are no Nigerians who have declared for presidency. What is happening is that people are flying kites and doing background jostlings, mago mago and gra gra.
When the time comes to become genuine presidential candidates we will call world press conferences under the aegis of political parties to declare their intentions for presidential primaries. And they will have to tell Nigerians their agenda and be questioned on their agenda. What the candidates have done is to declare for political parties, some loudly and others quietly, and so many assaulting our senses with very many ugly posters which we don’t know whether they authorized or their political enemies are using to embarrass them. So let’s wait and see because declaration for presidency of Nigeria is a serious affair and should not be trivialized. You will find that Ndigbo are taking it as a serious affair.