ZARA NWACHINAEMERE writes from Abakaliliki that Ebonyi Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Barrister Orji Uchenna Orji, has hinted that for the South-east zone to succeed in producing the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it must negotiate with the North.
He said the North have the numerical strength which will help the southeast region clinch the presidency if proper negotiation is carried out.
Orji who stated this in an interview in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital, noted that negotiation and alliance play a vital role in politics.
He said: “What we need to know is that politics connotes negotiation, politics connotes reconciliation, politics connotes alliance so that you don’t have to do it alone. You have to rely on the strengths of other people to achieve what you want. So in the face of all of these, the idea of the governor is that Ebonyi State and indeed, the entire South-East states need to mainstream; to belong to the party at the centre to realise our dream.
“Not only realizing our dream in 2023 but for us as Ndigbo, as South-East to also have a fair share of the dividend of democracy of the present federal government.
“Azikiwe who is our founding father got this secret and he was never distracted, he would always mainstream, form an alliance with the party at the centre, with the North. So we have to beg them and negotiate, please, can you give us this opportunity? So that we can have a sense of belonging. So the governor had to really go to APC to show the PDP that it had been unfair to the South-East.
“As a matter of fact, Ebonyi State believes in the corporate existence of Nigeria where there is equity, where there is equality, where there is peace and love and where there is justice. If you are talking about the presidency coming from the South-East, that is really justice, that is really equitable and that is really a sign that we are all equal before the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He said the zone has been marginalized by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which was the dominant party in the region since 1999.
“In 1998, PDP was formed. In 1999, a democratically elected government was to be in place and the issue of where the presidency should be zoned was on the front burner and eventually, it went to the South-West. South-East continued to support the PDP until they lost out at the centre. What do we do other than pull out and join the party at the centre? That is the philosophy that has been helping us.
“Some would say PDP has given South East SGF or Senate president but any appointment that cannot translate into economic development in our place does not make an impact,” he added.
Orji allay fears that Nigeria will disintegrate under a president of Igbo extraction, stating, “We need to know the character of persons; we need to know the track records of persons. Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe was from the South-East, but he was one of the firm believers of the corporate existence of Nigeria, that is why the labour of our heroes past should not be in vain. If we allow Nigeria to disintegrate, it means the labour of our heroes past is now in vain.
“The governor and the good people of Ebonyi State believe in one Nigeria; believe that we are one; we are brothers and sisters. So, whether you are from far away Maiduguri or from anywhere, we are one. We believe that together, we can make Nigeria great and we believe that if we are together we will maintain our position as the giant of Africa.
“Yes, some others people believe that Ndigbo have been marginalized, therefore, they need to separate , but the concept of the governor is a united, egalitarian and peaceful nation, whereby, no matter our tribes, we can see ourselves as brothers and sisters. And our governor believes in the nation and the Ndigbo cause. He believes in nationalism, he believes in patriotism. He believes that every section should have an opportunity to make an impact on the development of the nation.
On Governor Umahi’s presidential ambition, the Commissioner said, “It is neither here nor there. The governor is a man who believes that after election, comes governance. In governance, he believes that nothing can distract him until he completes the mandate the people gave him. In this case, elections have come and gone since 2019, and the governor is not giving attention to any other thing apart from how to deliver; how to give his people the best, so that tomorrow, they will say when that man was there, he delivered.”