President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Ambassador Professor George Obiozor has reiterated his position that the 2023 presidential election will be a defining moment for the Igbo in Nigeria.
The remark, according to a statement by Dr. Chiedozie Alex. Ogbonnia, National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, was made when a delegation of leaders of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation honoured an invitation by the British High Commission, Abuja on Thursday, May 12, 2022.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing had earlier welcomed the Ohanaeze Ndigbo delegation and stated that the essence of her invitation to pan Igbo organization was to seek clarifications on the agitations in the South East, clamour for a president of Nigeria from the South East, Nnamdi Kanu saga and general wellbeing of Nigeria.
In her introductory remarks, the High Commissioner used the opportunity to debunk the news that the United Kingdom has designated the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organization adding that the activities of IPOB in Nigeria do not meet the UK specifications for a terrorist organization.
Professor Obiozor in his presentation thanked the High Commissioner for extending the invitation to Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, reminding her that Ohanaeze is the umbrella body for over 60 million Igbo, resident in all parts of the world. Obiozor pointed out that the Igbo are committed to the unity of the country, perhaps more than any other ethnic group in Nigeria, citing that Igbo are the next in population to the host community in all parts of Nigeria. He thanked the High Commissioner for clarifying the UK position on Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Obiozor, who was the Nigerian Ambassador to the State of Israel, Cyprus and the United States of America, stated, according to the statement, that “the Igbo aspiration for leadership in Nigeria started long before the Nigerian independence and that over fifty years after the Nigerian civil war, the Igbo have not seen the rear light of Nigeria. It is self-evident that there is an existing rotation of power and zoning principles, aimed at ensuring equity and sense of belonging to the six geo-political zones in Nigeria. The British are aware that it is the turn of the South East to produce a president for Nigeria, yet, a group of people is plotting to change the goal post at the middle of the game. The time has come for us to know what Nigeria wants to do with the Igbo.”
On the political structure of Nigeria, Obiozor pointed out to the High Commissioner that “it is paradoxical for the British to be silent on the implosive unitary structure of Nigeria while they are liberalizing structures of governance in the UK. Nigeria was conceived a federal system by the Founders and the 2014 National Constitutional Conference and the El Rufai Committee reemphasized the need for true federalism in Nigeria, yet the leadership of the country has paid a deaf ear to such salient recommendations.”
The High Commissioner who listened with rapt attention to Obiozor’s presentation, “expressed immense delight for the intimate discussions with the Igbo leaders. She commended the Igbo for their spirit of enterprise all over the world. She added that the UK are interested in the peace and unity of the country. She thanked and assured the delegation that the High Commission will do everything within their ambits to promote justice, equity and peace in Nigeria.”
Others in the delegation include Ambassador Okey Emuchay, MFR, the Secretary General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide; Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former Governor of Anambra State; HRH Eze Cletus Ilomuanya, Prince Gary Igariwey, former President General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo; Chief S.N Okeke, OFR, former Chairman, Police Service Commission; Dr. Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, National Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Professor Charles Nwekeaku.