Eminent sons of the Igbo nation on Saturday, rose from the 5th World Igbo Summit held in the course of the week with demands for Igbo presidency and urgent restructuring of Nigeria.
The leaders argued that both demands were not mutually exclusive and were necessary to ensure peace and the continued harmonious existence of the country.
The summit which held at Gregory University, Uturu, Abia State, was attended by prominent sons and daughters of Igbo land, including Chief John Nnia Nwodo, President-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo; Commordore Ebitu Ukiwe(Rtd), former Chief of General Staff; Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, former Senate President and Secretary to the federal government; Prof George Obiozor, former Ambassador to the United States of America; Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former Governor ofAnambra State; Prof Okwesilieze Nwodo, former Governor of Enugu State, Prof Chinedu Nebo former Minister of Power and Vice-Chancellor, University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, among others.
Delivering his keynote address, Ambassador Humphrey Orjako, former Permanent Representative of Nigeria to United Nations and other International organisations at Geneva and Ambassador to Switzerland, called on Ndigbo lead the call for the restructuring of the country as it was the only way to guarantee harmony and continued survival of the country.
Participants took turns to dissect the challenges the Igbo face in the Nigerian federation and proffered ways forward.
At the end of discussions, the summit presented a communique signed by Chief Obiozor and Dr. Ifedi Okwenna, National Coordinator, World Igbo Summit.
Among other resolutions, the communique noted that in the interest of equity and national cohesion, Nigerians of other ethnic nationalities should support the emergence of a president of South East extraction in 2023 since the zone remained the only one of the tripod that make up the country yet to produce a president.
The communique read as follows: “1. For Nigeria’s survival, the country has to chose from three options: To retain the dysfunctional status quo, to balkanize the country through a rash of successions, reset or restructure the country to its federal origin
“2. The Igbo have cause to lead the campaign for a restructured Nigeria.
“3. That the restructuring process should start with the restructuring of the social, cultural, political and economic systems of Alaigbo
“4. The need for future Igbo generations to internalize our own narrative of how we got where we are and where we wish to go.
“5. In the history of Nigerian democracy, the Igbo who are one of the tripod of the country has not produced a President.
“6. The urgent need to resume the outreach programme to other ethnic nationalities and zones of the country with a view to achieving support for the Nigerian President of Igbo extraction and restructuring of Nigeria.
“In view of the foregoing, the Summit resolved as follows:
“1. Ndi Igbo should pursue both restructuring of Nigeria and emergence of Nigerian President of Igbo extraction as both are not mutually exclusive
“2. Other ethnic nationalities and zones, should as a matter of justice, equity and fairness, support the emergence of a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction in 2023.
“3. The leadership of all political parties, should as a matter of justice, equity and fairness, cede the nomination of their Presidential candidates to the South-East.
“4. That the President-General should in consultation with Ime-obi constitute a Pan-Igbo organizing Committee to develop and pursue a sustainable strategic plan of action for the “handshake outreach” across Nigeria.
“5. The handshake programme should cumulate in a grand finale during which the harmonized positions of the alliance zones would be adopted and publicized as a basis of a joint bill of the people to the National Assembly to pass into law and use as a document for convoking a national conference for restructuring.
“6. The alliance zones would use the harmonized positions to commence the arduous task of lobbying and working with politicians, political parties, interest groups and other stakeholders to come on board the movement for restructured Nigeria.
“7. On its part, Ohaneze Ndigbo will sustain a vigorous publicity, press campaigns, sustained education and mobilization of the electorates and encourage peaceful mass rallies in support of the restructuring project.
“8. In pursuit of these demands and rights, all these resolutions will be done in accordance with the principles of municipal and international laws and best practices.
“9. The Summit thanked Gregory University Uturu and the Conveners for their immense contributions and service to the Igbo nation.”