Over 10 Arewa youth groups have united to drum support for Igbo president in 2019.
The Arewa groups made the declaration at Arondizuogu, Imo State, yesterday, as they rose from a Nigeria Youth Summit.
The northern groups which declared support for the South East to take a shot at the presidency, next year, include the Arewa Youth Forum, Arewa Youths Coalition for Peace, Northern Central Youth Club and Youths for One Nigeria.
The Arewa groups equally had the support of their Afenifere and Igbo colleagues at the summit for the quest.
Spokesperson of the groups, Alhaji Haruna Waziri, disclosed that the decision to support Igbo is geared towards engendering national unity and cohesion.
Waziri promised that northern youths will support the convener of the Nigeria Youth Summit, Mr. Iheanachor Ezeakor, who comes from Arondizuogu, Imo State, in the Igbo presidency project.
Meanwhile, President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, and other prominent Igbo stakeholders, have agreed that the battle facing the race in Nigeria requires diplomacy and not through a gun or street protests.
The Igbo leaders made the disclosure in Abagana, Njikoka Local Government of Anambra State, during the 2018 Igbo International Leadership and Good Governance Retreat.
The retreat, which was organised by the World Igbo Leadership Council and the World Igbo Information and Communication Network was the third in the series and hosted by the president of World Igbo Assembly and traditional Prime Minister of Abagana, Dr. Nwachukwu Anakwenze.
Speaking at the event, Nwodo commended organisers of the annual retreat and noted that though it was not in doubt that Igbo, as a people, are facing large scale marginalisation in Nigeria, the way to win was not through fighting another war, but by adopting peaceful means and dialogue with the opposition.
Citing the issue of states and local governments creation in Nigeria in which, Igbo according to him were grossly shortchanged, Nwodo stressed that such anomalies could only be corrected through dialogue and ensuring that other Nigerians to see the need with Igbo for equity and justice in the Nigeria project.
“The military created states and local governments and gave the North the highest numbers, not because our population was smallest, but just part of the marginalisation process. But, we should be patient and continue to do what we have already started, knowing that the battle is no longer the type that will be fought with guns but using intelligence.
“We have suffered so much and that is why we should apply diplomacy. One of such diplomatic moves is the planned handshake across the Niger in which Igbo leaders will dialogue with Yoruba leaders in Enugu, in the coming week.”
In his speech, former Ohanaeze coordinator of chairmen in the seven Igbo-speaking states, Dr. Chris Eluemunoh, said having fought in the Nigeria-Biafra war, he would not like another generation of Igbo to experience such war, insisting that what the people should be fighting for was the restructuring of Nigeria in a way everybody would be happy.
In a related development, Chairman of the Southern Senators Forum (SSF), Senator Hope Uzodimma has urged Igbo leaders to re-examine the current political alignments in the country and reposition the South East for presidency in 2023.
Uzodimma gave the advice in a goodwill message during a meeting of Igbo leaders from Imo State. He said the advice became necessary because current political indicators in the country point to the possibility that the South East might lose out in 2019, even more than it did in 2015.
Uzodimma spoke in his countryhome, Omuma, where he addressed prominent political leaders from Imo, during a special meeting aimed at advancing political fortunes of Ndigbo in 2019.
“Every righ- thinking Igbo man must be worried that the recently-released federal board appointments clearly indicate that Igbo are losing out in federal political calculations.
“We must be conscious of the fact that other geo-political zones appear to be outsmarting us as they did in 2015. Right now, they are positioning themselves as strategic allies of the Northern political elite and they appear to be receiving favourable attention as reflected in the federal board appointments.”
He said there is an urgent need for Igbo leaders to put on their thinking caps and re-examine their present political leaning which he believes will put Igbo at a grave disadvantage in 2019.
Also, Igbo Ekunie Initiative, has called for a fundamental restructuring of “Nigeria to a structure and system that provides optimal governance that meets the needs of the populace and allows each region develop at its own pace.”
The group noted that restructuring will offer no conflict as all proponents virtually agree that more control/autonomy in all facets should be given to the states and or regions as the case may be, and added that the system should be modified/ streamlined for more effective governance.
President of the group, Tochukwu Ezeoke, who stated this at a press conference in Awka, capital of Anambra State.
“Owing to Nigeria’s perpetual crisis of nationhood and proliferation of self-determination groups, the call for restructuring has continued to grow louder.
“By now, it should be obvious that the statusquo is unsustainable and attempting to retain it is, at best, suicidal.”