Imo State Government House
The Ohaneze Ndi-Igbo was reported to have barred prominent Igbo citizens from running for president in 2015. The president of the Pan-Igbo group, Gary Nnachi Enwo-Igariwey was quoted to have announced the ban when he visited the former Governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu.
The Ohaneze president was also quoted to have said that a president of Igbo origin would emerge at the appropriate time.
Against the backdrop of these reports, we take the liberty to state as follows:
That while we do not intend to disagree with the president of Ohaneze, a highly respected figure in Igboland and beyond, we wish to humbly aver that he talked in a hurry. Since he said he was consulting, he would not have ended the consultation at the residence of Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, the former governor of Abia State, who was the first to be visited by him for that reason, according to the report.
In barring prominent Igbo citizens from running for president in 2015, the Ohaneze president should have told them the reasons for stopping a major tribe like Igbo from pursuing their legitimate ambition. He should have explained what Ndi-Igbo have got to warrant such decision and what they intend to gain for also doing so, since such sensitive political action needs some justifications.
The Ohaneze president should not have given Ndi-Igbo an open cheque by saying that a president of Igbo origin would emerge at the appropriate time. Ndi-Igbo would prefer a filled cheque by being told in clear terms, and in the language of the Ohaneze president, when the appropriate time will be. Either in 2015, 2019, 2023, 2027 or never. The Ohaneze president would have told his audience.
The Ohaneze president and all those in the same boat with him would ask themselves whether an action like this, is in any way helpful to Ndi-Igbo as a people and Igboland as a major tribe in Nigeria, or whether such action would further push Ndi-Igbo downward.
What Ohaneze should have done before making the reported ban public was to hold consultations with various interest groups in Igboland, and also consult widely with the political leaders including the likely presidential aspirants to know how the majority of Ndi-Igbo feel about the issue.
Again Ohaneze leaders should also think deeply whether it pays to be fanning the ember of ethnic politics at this stage or not considering what Ndi-Igbo have gone though in the polity.
It is also important to point out that Ohaneze or the Igbos could also support President Goodluck Jonathan or any other presidential candidate in 2015 without barring their people from contesting the position.
Since there are a lot of political parties in the country, the president of Ohaneze should do us a favour by telling us what happens if any of the political parties decides to pick its presidential candidate from the Igbo area, whether the person will reject the offer on the ground of the ban.
Finally, Ohaneze should know that the Igbo has remained one of the major tribes in this country and should not, either by commission or omission, be made a toothless bulldog, that can neither bark nor bite. That will be too dangerous for the area and her people. The Ohaneze ban definitely cannot be a popular one because it seems to have been done in a hurry, without proper and the needed analysis.
Senior Special Assistant on Media
to the Imo State Governor