Ex-Senate President Pius Anyim may have stirred the hornets’ nest with his remarks that Igbo outside the shores of the Southeast should perish the thought of taking a shot at the presidency should the slot be zoned to the region in 2023.
With Anyim’s statement, Delta and Rivers Igbo-speaking indigenes are not qualified to pick the presidential slot because they reside outside the Southeast.
But the Ohanaeze Ndigbo lambasted Anyim, who was Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, as having no locus standi to take such position.
According to Ohanaeze’s Secretary-General Dim Uche Okwukwu, Anyim was not qualified to speak for Igbo’s 2023 President’s project.
The one-time SGF cannot come around to speak for the region after the support he gave to former vice president Atiku Abubakar against President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
He described Anyim’s statement as retrogressive, provocative and divisive alleging that the former Senate President was being sponsored by enemies of the Igbo to sow seeds of discord among the people.
He challenged Anyim to showcase his contributions for the advancement of Igbo course despite all the high offices he had occupied in the name of Igbo.
Okwukwu said: “On moral and ethical ground he cannot talk about Igbo Presidency for 2023 because he is a member of the PDP that supported Atiku in 2019 to become President. The question I ask Pius Anyim is if Atiku had warned the election, would he be talking about Igbo Presidency in 2023?”
“I, Dim Uche Okwukwu, led a delegation to endorse Buhari in presidential villa in 2019. I am competent to talk about the Igbo president. What we are talking about is a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction and not a Nigerian President from the Southeast.
“Southeast and Southsouth divide Igbo into two. If Egbema is divided into two between Rivers and Imo, Ikwere is divided between Imo and Abia, Ohaji people are Ikwere people. So, what is his definition of Igbo? Is it Igbo of the Southeast?
“What role did Anyim play to please Ndigbo as SGF? Let Anyim show us what he did in securing the completion of the Second Niger Bridge. Let him tell us what he did to rehabilitate the Enugu-Onitsha road; the Port Harcourt International Airport, the Akanu Ibiam International Airport and the Sam Mbakwe International Airport, the Port Harcourt-Enugu Expressway.”
The Ohanaeze scribe identified Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi, his Labour and Employment counterpart Chris Ngige and former Imo State governor Rochas Okorocha, as some of those qualified to vie for the ticket as Igbo.
He said: “Amaechi is qualified to run for president. He has huge political experience. If he steps forward and contest the APC primary and wins, he will be supported. Ngige is qualified; Ogbonnaya Onu, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Rochas Okorocha and others are qualified.
“Anyim cannot redefine Igbo. The Anioma, Ika people in Delta, the Ikweres, the Ogbas, the Oyigbos, Etches in Rivers State are Igbos. The Asari-Ndoki in Akwa Ibom are Igbo. He doesn’t have the mandate of the Igbo to speak.
“What he is saying is provocative, retrogressive and absurd. He doesn’t know that the 10 Igbo-speaking local government areas in Rivers have more votes than the people of Ebonyi put together.
What is the vote in Ebonyi that he will create this kind of problem to provoke Igbo-speaking people of Rivers. This is how they cause confusion and deny Igbos. Any time we are getting to the Promised Land the likes of Anyim will step out and become Amalakites for Ndigbo.
“Why is he saying this kind of thing at these crucial and delicate moments when Ndigbo has come out to speak in one voice. Who is sponsoring him? I can tell you that Pius Anyim is being sponsored by the enemies of Ndiigbo, those that don’t want Igbos to produce President in 2023.
“What has he ever done to unite Ndiigbo. He has never visited Rivers State. Does he even know where Ndiigbo reside in Rivers State? Does he know where Igbos are in Delta state? Anyim should not cause problem for Ndiigbo.”
Also, former President Goodluck Jonathan’s kinsmen and social commentator, Wisdom Ikuli, said it was the turn of the Southsouth to complete its tenure at the Presidency.
He said Jonathan was qualified to run and called on Igbo to be grateful to Jonathan for giving them a priority in appointments during his first term.
Ikuli said Igbo would not lose anything with Jonathan’s return to Aso Rock in 2023.