Umuahia – Elder statesman, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, has said that for Nigeria to actually move to the next level of socio-economic and political emancipation, the South East must be allowed to produce the next president in 2023.
Iwuanyanwu said the current security challenges that appeared to have defied all solutions could be tackled by a president of South East extraction if elected.
He spoke to journalists in Umuahia at the weekend during an inaugural lecture organised by the Eastern People’s Consultative Forum (EPCOF) under the Michael Okpara Centre for Effective Leadership and Good Governance (MOCELAGG) and the World Igbo Leadership Education and Cultural Council (WILECC).
He said: “If Nigeria wants to tackle its present security challenges, if Nigeria wants to move forward economically, if Nigeria wants to hook up with the rest of the international community with the speed its going right now, it must elect a South-Easterner as president in 2023.”
He also expressed disappointment over what he called leadership failures in the country.
The elder statesman believed that Ndigbo were highly detribalised and that it was only the ethnic group found in the remotest part of Nigeria living peacefully with the indigenous people, saying that with their industry and ingenuity, those challenges of the nation would be tackled and resolved.
“They invest in every part of this country. Nigerians should look out for that politician who would reconstruct Nigeria, emphasise on education, look at the Almajiri issue and say enough is enough, introduce massive education, and make them have better life,” he opined.
He adds: “The problem of Boko Haram has to do with education. If these people were educated, they wouldn’t be engaging in senseless killings and unnecessary prosecution of the current war. Education remains the key to stop insurgency in this country.”
Underscoring the argument in favour of electing a South-Easterner as president of Nigeria in 2023, Iwuanyanwu explained that Ndigbo have what it would take to turn things around for the better if elected as president.
“We’ve paid our dues socially, economically, and politically. Apart from Azikiwe, who was ceremonial president, no Igbo man has ruled this country since Independence.
“It was Nnamdi Azikiwe that laid the foundation of this country. He and few others served as midwives to Nigeria’s nationhood. We need to put this country on the track again like in the First Republic.
“Remember that during the last election, the Igbo voted in one direction. That’s to tell you that they want this country to move forward,” Iwuanyanwu said.
Wondering why Boko Haram and their likes should continue to wage a senseless war against the country, the elder statesman said: “The point is that we don’t know what this group wants.
“The Niger Delta militants defined their agitation and it was granted by late President Musa Yar’Adua; IPOB has clearly defined theirs. What is the goal of Boko Haram?” Iwuanyanwu queried.
He, however, asked the Federal Government to engage the group in a comprehensive and all-embracing dialogue, stressing that fighting them could at the end become counterproductive.
“If you kill them in one direction, they’ll emerge in another area as kidnappers. That’s why government should set up a reconciliation committee to really negotiate with them.
“The situation is so bad that we should look for a better solution to resolve the matter. It cannot end through bombing and killings. Let’s look for a better alternative,” he advised.
Iwuanyanwu also asked the Federal Government to dialogue with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), pointing out that a psychological ideology like that of Biafra could not be defeated with the force of arm.