Hon. Batos Nwadike is Special Adviser (SA) on Political Matters to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State. A two time Presidential candidate and frontline crusader for Nigerian President of Igbo extraction. In this interview with EVEREST EZIHE in Owerri he considers the agitation for a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction as legitimate and non negotiable, just as he talked on other national issues. Excerpts
Since the latest political dispensation in Nigeria, you have been a Presidential candidate for two times and also an advocate of Nigerian President of Igbo extraction, now the political climate is on and Ohanaeze Ndigbo and other pro-Igbo groups are crusading for Igbo President in 2023 , what’s your take and how realistic is this political project
Well, the quest for Nigerian President of Igbo extraction is a legitimate demand. It’s an obvious truth that all the geopolitical zones in Nigeria have tested the Presidency except the South East, therefore it is now a legitimate right which is equally proper for the Igbo to seek to be the President of Nigeria. It’s not an aberration. It cannot be faulted that Igbo will continue to seek for the President of Nigeria. As for how realistic it is, it’s realizable, it’s very clear that an Igbo man will someday some time become President of Nigeria. There may be no fixed date because there are various dynamics in politics. There are various angles in politics; of course you know that the Igbo cannot be President alone without the collaborative efforts and alliances with other geopolitical zones in the country. However, let it be known to every Dick and Tom that the Igbo will not die if they did not produce the President in 2023. It will not be an eclipse of the Igbo nation. Neither will the Igbo pull out of Nigeria if they did not produce the President in 2023. We Igbo will use every political, diplomatic and legal action to pursue this goal. However, if we do our best as human beings and the ambition was not realized Igbo will not be vanquished because they did not become President in 2023. What is not possible in 2023 can be possible in 2027. Igbo nation will not end because of the Nigerian Presidency. We know that one day in this country an Igbo man will become President. The most important thing is that the consciousness is gathering momentum on daily basis.
Most of the ethnic nationalities are accusing the Igbo of been enemies unto themselves and therefore can never be united in pursuing a common goal, are you not perturbed
It’s a figment of personal imagination of Igbo detractors. Which of the ethnic groups in Nigeria is united more than the Igbo? None of them is united. Recall in 1979 five core Northerners sort to be President of Nigeria. There was Alhaji Shehu Shagari in that race, there was Prof. Eya Abubakar in the same race, there was Alhaji Maitama Sule in that race, there was Alhaji Aminu Kano in the same race, so how united was the North. Even in 1999 under PDP, there was Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in that race, there was Chief Olu Falae in the race, Chief Bola Ige was in the race, even there was one of the wives of Chief Obasanjo in the same race. Are these not Yorubas. If it is in South East and the wife of Senator Jim Nwobodo is aspiring alongside her husband, they will say ha! Igbo are not united. Those who points out and faults an imaginary unity of the Igbo are detractors of Ndigbo. They don’t mean well for the ethnic nationality. The Igbo have been united in every issue they consider germane for their collective ambition and interest.
As a chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) what are your concerns over the administration of the country
President Muhmmadu Buhari is a visionary leader. He has positively repositioned the country in all spheres of human endeavours. The President has just given approval for the employment off 77,400 Nigerians, there’s N — Power with over 2 million Nigerian youths, each earning 30,000= monthly, he equally empowered traders with trader money programme in which over a million traders are benefitting. He has built roads and sustained the unity and peace in the country. He has strategically demeaned the Boko Haram insurgency. He has held the unity, peace and stability of the country. Even most of the advanced nations of the world were ignorant of the way and manners of strategic handling of terrorism; it is President Buhari that opened up their eyes. Terrorism is a new wave of violence across the world. We hear of all kinds of terrorism in Nigeria, there is Boko Haram and the President has been able to curtail their excesses through his astute leadership. The military has tried to demystify the potency of Boko Haram and their allies.
Why then these persistent outcry of the Igbo in South East of gross marginalization by the present Federal Government
My dear brother the question of marginalization is always there, this is the burden of defeat of the civil war. You cannot achieve anything without history and those who said they don’t want to listen or hear history; they must hear history because it is through history that the future can be built. It’s the burden of defeat of the civil war and that burden of defeat came with marginalization but gradually, the Igbo have reintegrated with the society . Can you imagine that nine years after the Nigerian/Biafra civil war, His Excellency Chief Alex Ekwueme (late) became the Vice President of Nigeria. This record has never been done nor beating anywhere in the world. Again six months after the defeat and end of the civil war, Enugu Rangers International Football Club won the Challenge cup of Nigeria, since after then, the Igbo have held virtually every important political and managerial positions in Nigeria except the Presidency, at a time in this country the Igbo were holding the coordinating ministry of the federation under President Good luck Jonathan, Mrs Okonji Iwuala was the Coordinating Minister. Major General Ihejirika (rtd) was Minister of Defense and Chief of Army Staff, Major General Ike Nwachukwu (rtd) has been Minister of Foreign Affairs. Igbo have virtually held every prime position in the country except the office of the Presidency. I tell you today that if the race for Nigeria President of Igbo extraction is on and it is virile and strong, definitely the Igbos will be President one day.
Finally, what’s your message to the good people of Nigeria
I passionately enjoin Nigerians to continue giving their support and cooperation to President Muhmmadu Buhari to sustain the peace and stability of the country and for Imo people to have confidence in the shared prosperity mantra administration of Senator Hope Uzodimma as the Governor means well.