A group made up of persons of South East origin, Ndi-Igbo in the Diaspora, has thrown its weight behind the call for the South East to produce Nigeria’s president in 2015.
The group, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Geoffrey Nzeadibe, said it was high time the South East took charge of the country’s topmost political office to give it a sense of belonging in the Nigerian project.
Ndi-Igbo in the Diaspora also condemned the recent deportation of some persons described as destitutes of South East origin in Onitsha, Anambra State by the Lagos State Government.
Nzeadibe said the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, acted in bad faith in deporting the alleged destitutes of Igbo origin.
The statement by Nzeadibe reads in full: “Ndi-Igbo in the Diaspora endorse the call by the World Igbo Congress for a dialogue on the feasibility of the President of Nigeria of Igbo origin in 2015 and strongly condemn Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola and Lagos State’s inhumane action against Ndi-Igbo.
“Ndi-Igbo in the United States under the aegis of Pan Ndi-Igbo Foundation USA, Inc. (PNF USA) unequivocally and strongly support World Igbo Congress in its call and agitation for the Nigerian president of Igbo ethnic extraction. We also strongly condemn Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola’s sadistic actions against Ndi-Igbo. We demand that the federal government will step in to stop Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola’s excesses and reckless actions unbecoming of a governor. On presidency 2015 and Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola’s actions, we strongly support to WIC’s deliberations on them. These issues have heightened the discourse and the urgency for the protection of Igbo interests everywhere in ‘ONE’ Nigeria.
“In any case, we are now mobilizing our members around the nation to attend and participate actively in the deliberations on the future of Igbo race. Pan Ndi-Igbo Foundation (PNF-USA) is now actively dissemination information about the WIC convention to ensure that members are familiar with all logistics in order to be present to discuss the feasibility of the Nigerian President of Igbo origin in 2013. This issue has united the two organizations and well-meaning Nigerians of Igbo origin. We are pleased that WIC has turned around to join PNF-USA to advocate for Nigerian President of Igbo ethnic origin, a cause we have been fighting for since 2002 when Dr. Alex Ekwueme presented himself as a viable presidential candidate for president. Unfortunately, he could not win the PDP presidential primary. Yes, change takes time, but we must not fold our hands waiting for power to be handed to us. We must be willing to work diligently for what we believe in; we must
continue to fight for equity and fairness and not allow ourselves to be treated as second class citizens in Nigeria. PNF-USA believes that Ndi-Igbo have a pool of qualified candidates.
“We will strongly rail against any individual or a group that will pretend to speak for our collective interest or will mislead our collective position on the presidency of Nigeria. We will never allow individuals in Nigeria to selfishly represent our collective conscience on the issue of the presidency. Too often these individuals represent their own interest instead of fighting for the Igbo cause. In the same vein, no presidential candidate whether Igbo or non-Igbo will take our support for granted. Inasmuch as we are agitating for the Nigerian president of Igbo origin, we will not support candidates who have failed in the past to provide the dividends of democracy to his people.
“If PDP is not a veritable vehicle for Ndi-Igbo to achieve their goal, it would be suicidal to hold on to a political party that does not care about Ndi-Igbo. If PDP refuses to support Ndi-Igbo and their agitation, we will have no other choice than to jettison the party.
“A political pressure group, the Pan Ndi-Igbo Foundation is a national organization with headquarters in Dallas, Texas, United States. PNF USA, Incorporated, founded over 12 years ago, is a platform for the articulation, development, promotion, and protection of the common/political interests of Ndi-Igbo in particular and Nigeria in general.
“On another very important burning issue and current atrocity meted to Ndi-Igbo by Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (ACN) and his Lagos State Government. Rising from an emergency meeting on the affairs of Ndi-Igbo, we strongly condemn without equivocation the sadistic actions of Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola against Ndi-Igbo. We have been reliable informed with the information in quotes the constitutional violation of our people and demand that the federal government should step in immediately to curb the excesses and reckless actions of Gov Babatunde Raji Fashola.
“As if that was not enough, on Wednesday, July 24, 2013, at about 3am, another 72 people including beggars, petty traders, the aged, women and children and the physically challenged, were dumped at the same spot in Onitsha. Journalistic and rights investigative reports revealed that: 1. They were arrested and detained in a non-formal or State detention center in Okorodu area of Lagos State, near Ijebu Ode in Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria since December 2012. That is to say that they were detained for over seven months.
“They were detained incommunicado and inhumanly with one pro-dysentery and non nutritious meal a day. 3. They were arrested in connection with alleged offences of misdemeanor/simple offences of wandering, begging, etc, which according to Nigerian Criminal Code; attract days, weeks and some months of imprisonments and options of fines as low as N100.00 (about 70 US cents)… All the 72 people were arranged by the Lagos State Government for its Onitsha human cargo disposal spot after they were deceived by being asked to put their names on a sheet of paper in exchange for their freedom. 8. They were conveyed on Tuesday evening (23-7-2013) in four commuter buses with eighteen passengers each and escorted by two Toyota Hilux Vans marked Rescue Operation filled with armed anti riot police personnel(police mobile force). 9. On getting to Onitsha Upper Iweka Flyover by 3: am, all the 72 people were forced to disembark, after which their conveyors turned and sped
off back to Lagos.
“The uncaring silence of Igbo leaders and governors in Nigeria concerning the treatment Ndi-Igbo are receiving from Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola is worrisome. We ask World Igbo Congress to begin to use its special consultative status at the UN-ECOSOC to make the plight of Ndi-Igbo in Nigeria global. The world needs to understand that Ndi-Igbo, predominantly Christians are treated like second class citizens in Nigeria. They are treated with ignominy by every state government in Nigeria. As a people and Christians, we can no longer fold our arms and let any group or government dictate our destiny. We have to fight back! What Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola did is indefensible. Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola has no justifiable reason to send any Nigerian citizen away from Lagos State. The lives of all people in Lagos are in Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola’s hands.
“It is rather fitting to conclude this release with a statement credited to the Late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu: ‘We are here today to begin a new struggle to assert our full citizenship as Nigerians by insisting on our right as Ndigbo to produce the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to mobilize and organize effectively of this goal. Fifty years after Nigeria’s independence no Igbo person has been Chief Executive of democratic Nigeria project. Today Ndigbo asks boldly: wherein is the EQUALITY if Ndigbo will not be president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under this constitution.'”