The South Easterners have been urged to explore the power of negotiation and mutual settlement in the face of ongoing killings and security challenges in the zone because the east can not afford another war at present.
Stakeholders from the South-East geo-political zone made the remark on Thursday, at the unveiling of the book, “Igbo, 50 years after Biafra,” written by Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Drainage Services, Joe Igbokwe, held at Ikeja G.R.A. Speaking at the unveiling of the book, the chairman of the occasion, Mr. Cutis Adigba, urged the people of the South-East to learn to build bridges across the country, so that they can realise their ambition of producing the next president of Nigeria.
The leaders from the zone were urged by Adigba to discourage the move and agitation by some youths in the South East to go to war and secede out of Nigeria.
He said that Igbo have always found it difficult to rule Nigeria because they refused to build bridges across the six geo-political zones that made up Nigeria. While describing the agitation as uncalled for, Adigba noted that after two decades that Nigeria returned to civil rule, the Igbo has predominantly identified with only one political party.
He maintained that remaining in one party can not advance the cause of the people of South East and cannot make them realise their objective of producing an Igbo man as president. He maintained that the publisher of the book, Igbokwe played politics outside his state, so that the Igbo race can be integrated with one another race. Adigba said the failure of the Igbo to reintegrate with other ethnic nationalities politically was responsible for the retrogression of the race in Nigerian politics.
Igbokwe, also addressing guests on the occasion, maintained that the Igbo are not advancing politically because they refused to be integrated into National politics, lamenting that, despite their success in business, they are not successful in playing politics at the national level. Corroborating Dimgba, Igbokwe noted that there was the need for the Igbo people to stand up and build bridges so that their objective of producing the next president of Nigeria could be realised.
According to him: “I have decided to raise my voice, I hope my people will hear me while trying to quell the effect of the war, our people are spoiling for another war, mayhem is being unleashed in Igbo land, and there is palpable fear. “Those who could speak have lost their voice, mindful of the consequences of their actions, I am calling on all Igbo leaders to speak up because all actions carry consequences, consequences of the silence will be too dastardly to sustain.
“Those silently supporting the wild wind should be careful or else they hand over to their children,” he said. Igbokwe urged those spoiling for war to jettison their plan and embrace dialogue, urging them to learn from the South West region that despite the challenges faced after the annulment of the June 12, 1993, election, they did not go to war, and the region had the opportunity of producing two of her sons for presidential position in 1999.
“You have to build bridges to become president of Nigeria, but it is unfortunate the Igbo are burning bridges.” Speaking at the event, Chief Uche Dimgba who is the coordinator of Igbo in All Progressives Congress, APC in Lagos, described Igbokwe as “a Frank, fearless and reliable leader, who based his views on issues and stand by his opinions, and we the Igbo have confidence in him and believe he can lead us aright.” “He is a leader we Igbo believe in and we will follow him. If he can serve all the governors produced in Lagos State since 1999, he is a better man to follow because he possesses all the experience that can be of benefit to Igbo both at home and in the diaspora.”