By Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri
The president general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, has declared that the South East has what it takes win Nigeria’s presidency with enough voter strength and expansive networks across the country. Nwodo, however, insisted that the Igbo wouldl not become president in a skewed Nigeria, as it is presently constituted.
Speaking as a keynote speaker in Owerri at the Imo State 2019 Inauguration Lecture, Nwodo said that, going by the population of registered Igbo voters in the North and other parts of the country, the Igbo have the popularity and sizeable votes even to win the presidential election.
According to him, “When we were given quit notice by some northern youths, I went to the North and asked them to give me the data of our people in the North and the number they returned was 11.8 million people of adult age.
“Also, during the governorship campaign in Lagos, the current governor-elect, Sanwo-olu told our people there that they were important to him because they have 3.3 million registered voters in Lagos”, Nwodo said
He said that, in spite of the obvious population advantage, the Igbo would continue to insist on restructuring of the country because it was through it that the nation would be saved from total eclipse.
According to him, so long as the federal government continued to deny south east the level playing opportunity, there would continue to be agitation for self-determination.
Nwodo used the opportunity to debunk the insinuation that the North would go hungry if the country went into restructuring. He said the fear that, without oil revenue, the North could not be developed, was erroneous because, economically viable nations in the world had no oil for export.
“The North has the highest agricultural potential but (this is) unexploited. The Netherlands is the 14th strongest nation in the world, but gets over $100 billion from vegetables and dairy. The country is just 34,000 square kilometers just less than half of (the) Nigeria state. So, the North can do better than these countries in the area of agriculture alone.
“In fact, the richest companies in the world are not oil companies but agro and technology-based companies.”, he said.
Speaking on the theme, “The problems of governance in today’s Nigeria: The Imo challenge”, Nwodo said the essence of governance fizzles out when government cannot protect its citizens.
Nwodo, therefore, urged the new governor of Imo state, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, to be different from the outgoing governor, saying that, for him to achieve his goal, he must develop the will to be tenacious in his decisions.
He urged Ihedioha’s family members and friends to give him space to work for the state, adding that the new governor must avoid sycophants because they were already lurking around.
Nwodo used the opportunity to urge Ihedioha to ensure that Imo Airport became international in reality while concentrating efforts to champion Oguta Sea Port to enable business flow in the Imo state and south east zone in general.