The closest the Igbo came (apart from Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe in the army) to the presidency was during the second republic
Coalition of South-East Youth Leaders (COSEYL) has appealed to the former Vice President,candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the last presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to support the South East region of the country in the producing president come 2023.
The Coalition made this appeal in a letter addressed to the former vice president signed by it President-General, Hon. Goodluck Egwu Ibem and Secretary-General, Comrade Kanice Igwe reminded him that the South East is the only region yet to produce the President since 1960 when Nigeria gained Independence.
According to COSEYL, the region has been marginalised and not given fair opportunity to govern at the Presidential level despite their contribution in moving the country forward.
The letter reads
“Your Excellency, we deem it pertinent to expressly communicate and seek your blessings for an Igbo President come 2023 bearing in mind your stake and position as a seasoned statesman in the polity that is Nigeria.
“Since independence (1960) to attainment of republican status (1963 and subsequent returns thereto in 1979, 1993 and 1999 respectively), baring Aguiyi Ironsi, no son or daughter of Igbo extraction has been elected to serve our nation at the presidential level.
“The impact of this is that this imbalance has heightened the feeling of marginalization on the part of many Igbo.
“It bears repeating that Ironsi’s six-month stay being military rule is not constitutional and cannot, therefore, be considered a one-time legitimate government.
“Coextensively, following the democratic logic, it is appropriate to hold that since creation of Nigeria, the Igbo, being part of the tripodal foundational framework on which Nigeria stood at independence is the only geopolitical zone yet to serve this nation to date.
“The Igbo in all this remains yet one of the most committed of the over 250 ethnic nationalities in Nigeria with spread in business, works and livelihood all over the nation. This unassailable position is made the more salient by the fact that after having sought secession following the 1960s crises that culminated in a civil war in Wich they were main actors and major victims, the Igbo had long crossed the Niger reuniting with Nigerians of other extractions, contributing as it were, to the growth thereof. Kano, Kaduna, Kafanchan, Kara Namuda, Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, and others to owns in Nigeria could not have reached their glorious economic heights had the Igbo stayed back in their regional shell.
“The Igbo live in a country where quadrennially, campaign caravans from other regions come to shop their support. They have always provided a strong voter base in every electioneering. There is no gainsaying that whenever Nigeria had cried, NdiIgbo had bled.
“The civil war, June 12 saga, other post-electoral violence may suffice as evidence. The problem becomes A group that hoists and handles over campaign banner to others, one which even cheers from the sideline deserves a taste of the highest office of the land; if equity is in the mix.
“Considering your spirit of inclusiveness and patriotic sense, as a coalition, we believe we have in you a voice and a pillar of support come 2023.
“We are assured of this given the level of support you have enjoyed from the Igbo and given also, as it were, your choice of shopping for a presidential mate from a group that last saw relevance since 2007 during the second republic when five states of Igbo each and in piecemeal produced senate presidents.
“Since then, what has followed has been continual political relegation of one of Nigeria’s most patriotic, enterprising, and committed nationalities.
“Today in the South East are agitations, most pointing to secession. Most of those in this rank are swayed by the thinking that an Igbo President is far from possible, not part of the bargain.
“The closest the Igbo came (apart from Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe in the army) to the presidency was during the second republic when Alex Ekwueme held the post of vice president of the federation under the then Nigeran People’s Party, NPN. That is over forty years and five decades.
“Having seen the need to keep moving the wheel of national unity, in respect of this wish to accomplish this mandate, we have begun with framework. The Coalition has therefore set up a committee along the line of this object.
“The Igbo Presidential Actualization Committee, (IPAC) will before the independence day on October 1 draw up a list of Igbo sons and daughters who have excelled in various fields and endeavors and who have Nigeria at heart; pan-Nigerians who believe in the sanctity of her prosperity and collective survival, may God help us in this task.
“We seek your blessings as this will help quench the fires of negative narratives against national unity and advancement and begin a healthy conversation in our beloved nation, for now, and posterity.
“Accept sir, the assurances of our esteemed regard,” COSEYL said.
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