The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has slammed the chairman emeritus of DAAR Communication, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, over his remark on Igbo presidency.
Dokpesi, in his statement on Monday, noted that Nigerians are afraid that a president of Igbo extraction would cause the country’s breakup over what he called the overwhelming influence of the founder of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu in the region.
However, the group said it is sad and unfortunate that at 70 years of age, Dokpesi could try to run down any ethnic group in the country.
The National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Chief Alex Ogbonna, added that “It is curious that such a respectable individual as Dokpesi could go out to talk from left, right, to centre, talking from all directions.”
He said that Ohanaeze Ndigbo is not in support of Kanu’s way of agitation, adding that the group is fully aware of the marginalisation and injustice which Ndigbo has suffered in the country.
“Truth is that where IPOB, Kanu or MASSOB is talking about secession, we Ohanaeze and the rest of our leaders are talking about the restructuring of the country. That’s our point of departure because we believe in one united Nigeria where equity, fairness, peace and justice reign will accommodate and benefit all of us,” he stated.
The National Publicity Secretary of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Ken Robinson, while responding to the statement said that it is difficult to picture why Dokpesi would draw such an outrageous conclusion and implored him to stop making such statements.
“If that statement was truly made by Dokpesi, and he’s not being misquoted, then it’s unfortunate and most disappointing. It’s difficult to fathom why he would draw such an outrageous conclusion. We would urge the respected High Chief and media guru to refrain from making such reckless statements,” he stated.
The United for Better Nigeria Initiative (UNBi) said Dokpesi venom against the country.
The United for Better Nigeria Initiative (UNBi) said Dokpesi is using his media platform to drag venom against the country with his comment against Igbo people.
UBNi, an advocacy group working for the realisation of a South-East presidency in 2023, enjoined former vice president Atiku Abubakar, to distance himself from comments capable of causing violent in the country.
In a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Mrs Nkolika Mkparu, UNBi said that numbers of people who from the South East believe in one Nigeria and they have investments all across the country, working and developing anywhere they find themselves and refer to the place as home.
The group stated that the emergence of a Nigerian president of the South-East extraction would not only unify and progress the country but also bring about cohesion in the polity.
Dokpesi’s Call to Zone Presidential Ticket to North
Raymond Dokpesi has said for equity, fairness and justice to be achieved, the PDP must zone its presidential ticket to the North for 2023 general elections.
He said this earlier this month during a media parley in Abuja as part of activities to mark his upcoming 70th birthday anniversary on October 25.
He argued that with the south having 14 of the 16-year PDP rule, it would be unfair for the south to still take another slot at PDP’s presidential ticket.
He said, “In 1998, when the People’s Democratic Party was being established, after the G-34 had confronted the military, elder statesmen who believed in one Nigeria and who went through the trauma of military rule. The constitution of the PDP states very clearly that there shall be rotation and zoning of offices, both for the party and political office. And I have remained very consistent in my argument since 1998.
“At the G-34 meeting, Alhaji Lawan Keita had moved that Alex Ekwueme should become the president. But Ekwueme said it is a group, not a political party, that when it transforms into a political party, you can canvass whether I can be president or not.
“When the party came into being, it was agreed by all, including all the northerners because of the injustice done to the South-West, they should be allowed to produce the president because agreement has been reached on zoning and rotation.
“Don’t forget that in 1995 draft constitution, it was envisaged that the 6 geo-political zones will have a turn of 5 years so that in 30 years, we will end the issue of zoning and would have been one united country. From there, we can start exploiting four-year rotation.
“When Obasanjo came in, there was an expanded party caucus where it was canvassed that the PDP programs could not be fully implemented within 3 years. Again, all the founding fathers, including Ekwueme, Ogbemudia and other big wigs of the party were present at the meeting. And again, it was the northern delegates who said they had no objection, they will exercise patience. We will allow Obasanjo to have another 4 years, but there should be a proviso that if you do 8 years, we will do 8 years. Let it be understood, that is the foundation and everybody said “yeah”.
“By that agreement, power was supposed to have rotated back to the north. But I was a member of the S/South Assembly; I led the delegation to say the S/South has not had any opportunity, that the S/South should be given. I travelled round, I did not fight, I did not shout, I did not quarrel, I did not carry gun, all I did was to engage the Nigerian public. By the time we got to the Convention, Obasanjo said ‘look Peter Odili, you have done very well, if we go into the conventions, you are going to win but we have an understanding with the north, please let the north be the president.’
“That is how Yar’Adua came in. Yar’Adua, unfortunately did not live long to see the 8 years. He did only two years, in fact, two and half years. I agitated at that time to continue with the principle already established, let us have the north complete the remaining term of four years, so that we can be done with the northern presidency, so that we can come back to the South.
“Some people in the S/South said no, it’s not possible. You cannot be so close to power and relinquish it. Crisis set in, so Jonathan (Goodluck, former president) did another 4 years. We came to 2015, the PDP had done 16 years in power, if you like, 14 years of the South, two years of the north. That is the situation up till today.
“Now you say, you believe in justice, fairness and equity. The north has done 2 years, the South has done 14 years, is that balance? The APC came into being in 2014, they don’t have a history. Now, in 2015, when we fielded in PDP, Jonathan, the north had started clamouring, agitating, saying it is their turn. You have spent 14 years, so allow us to complete our 4 years and we said no, we were very smart, and that is what plunged the country into this crisis. That is why we are in problem.
“So, I am PDP, I am guided by the constitution of the PDP, which in its preamble said, for unity, for stability, for the growth of the country, we must rotate such that every part of the country will not be neglected. The APC, on its own, came in and also said we are adopting zoning and rotation. And in their own situation, they chose to pick a northern candidate knowing full well that the agitation of the north. They fielded a northern candidate against us. I believe everyone here knows my position and what my comments were at that time.
“If in my own party I want to win an election; I cannot win an election when there is injustice, when there is unfairness. We are not guided by certain rules. In the PDP, all I am agitating for is that let us be fair and just. Let us put ourselves in the shoes of ourselves. Let us as one family, as the party started l, still remain one and in doing so, let us choose a candidate from the north. Some people have come to meet me to say, how can we allow them to do another 8 years again? I say, sorry, in 2019, we fielded a northern candidate recommended by Ike Ekweremadu report. But again, the PDP was outmaneuvered.
“I didn’t agree that Atiku lost that election but INEC has said so, and as a citizen of Nigeria I must live by the rules. But I cannot as a PDP person go and adopt APC conditions and situations. So, for me very clearly, I want an undiluted, a properly organised party.
“It is the APC policy of lack of adherence to the federal character principles that has brought us to this level of suspicion in the country. And the person that can bring back that principle of fairness, justice is from the north. We Southerners had the opportunity to be in power and we threw it away, so we can now monopolise everything and that is what gave birth to APC. If we were fair, we were just, we were rational, and we won’t have been in this problem.”