Igbo Presidency of Nigeria (IPON) is a creation of some well- meaning Igbos.The group has the mandate of enthroning a Nigerian President from the Igbo extraction in 2019. The grooup has set out to achieve this task by mobilising opinions of the low and mighty in the country and in diaspora in favour of this position; raising the consciousness and awareness of people who share in this idealogy across the country and beyond. The group was inaugurated recently in Aba and is spreading at a geometric pace to other states and cities of the federation. Indeed, the Ibos taking a shot at the Nigerian Presidency has taken a centre stage, not only because Igbo man has taken a shot at the number one position in the country but because cries of marginalisation by Ndigbo is mounting by seconds and no longer minutes.
Indisputably, it was the cries that gave rise to the agitation for the Sovereign State of Biafra. Another strong argument is restructing the country but this position has posed another question demanding urgent resolution. Some of the questions are” are we going to restructure along creating more states in the country, just like Ndigbo have been clamouring for an additional state to ensure balance and bridge the gap in the number of states the geo-political zones in the country have? Several arguments have weighed against this: It will be recalled that in the last National Conference in 2014, a total of 20 new states was presented for consideration. The question is, if some of the present states are finding it very difficult to pay salaries, what will be the fate of the nation if additional burden is added? T
hese and other questions are what Hon. Ikechukwu Mgborogwu is the National Chairman, Igbo Presidency Organisation of Nigeria (IPON) addresses in this interview. Excerpt:
What is the philosophy driving IPON?
The concept is the creation of some well- meaning Igbos who came together and critically looked at the several agitations advanced by Ndigbo. Afetr rubbing minds, we came to the conclusion that the position that that can resolve these agitations is conceding the 2019 presidency of this country to Ndigbo.
Why do you think so?
Thank you. Prominent among the positions agitating the minds of the elite of Ndigbo and which they are more disposed to is restructuring the country. Another is the one proposed by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), which is the secession ( the actuatlisation of a Sovereign State of Biafra). Right, let us critically look at these issues. First, the restructuring agitation. The question that comes to mind when this issue comes up is what are we restructuring into? Creation of more states of evolving into regional arrangements as was the practice before. Then you ask yourself, how economically- viable are some states in the country. Some of these states cannot afford to pay workers salaries. You now that arrears of workers salaries and pensions is a norm in some states now. If you create more states, ask yourself, are you adding more burden to the situation or relieving it? Then second, if you reverse to regions, there is this fear that a lot of people will lose their jobs. So this arrangement will definitely encounter strong opposition.
> On the other hand, the option of seceding is another pursuit for now. Ask me why. The reason is that Igbos are migrant in nature. By rough estimate, more than 10million Igbos live outside the boundaries of the Igbo nation and within the country. You have not taken into consideration those in diaspora. So the space we are occupying is very limited and cannot accommodate us. You can now see that this poses a hitch why secession is not a better option.
> Besides, we have a strong stake in the Nigerian project- let Ndigbo pull out and see whether will mot collapse. We are not leaving this country for anybody because we have contributed a lot and are still contributing to its progress. We shall continue to occupy wherever we are located, do our businesses there and eturn some home for the upkeep of our aged parents and siblings. Secession will not be the best for Ndigbo.
> We critically looked at the option of a presidency of Nigeria from the Igbo extraction and said yes, this is where our magic lies because, if achieved, it is going to resolve the entire agitation. The South West agitated after MKO Abiola was denied the presidency 1993, and they were compensated with the presidency some years after; the Niger- Delta people achieved their own through militancy, so why won’t that of Ndigbo work?
IPOB has just been proscribed and tagged a”terrorist group” by a court of law. What is your take on this?
Mine is not elaborate because I wouldn’t want to delve into moral or intellectual for or against the issue. There is still a window left. The group has an adoption of appealing the pronouncement even to the apex court, which is the Supreme Court. Another leg of my argument is that our people should be mindful of activities down here that could affect or undermine the security of lives and property of Ndigbo outside the shores of Igbo land.
How are you mobilising for this project?
We are mobilising at a greater pace and the response is highly encouraging.
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