NAN Some female voters at a polling unit in Bauchi caused a stir when each of them kissed her ballot paper and shouted “Sai Baba” before casting her vote. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the drama, involving four women, occurred at the veterinary polling unit of Dawaki Ward in Bauchi metropolis. Their…
By Dickson Okafor
Chief Tobby Anumaka, Patron, Okpoko Igbo, a Pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation and chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), has said that South-East agitation should be geared towards actualisation of president of Igbo extraction in 2023 and not Biafra.
He also spoke on agitation for power rotation in Imo State among other issues.
October 1st has come and gone and Arewa Youths did not carry out their quit notice threat, what is your take?
I’m not surprised because they had earlier withdrawn the order asking Ndigbo to leave the North. I knew that the order won’t fly because Nigeria is bigger than any individual or group. Even though the President said Nigeria’s unity was not negotiable, I believe that Nigeria has outlived its present structure and need to be restructured if indeed we must remain as one united and indivisible country.
Most Igbo especially the youths does not believe restructuring is the solution, with the launch of “Operation Python Dance” by the military in some parts of the zone and the proscription of IPOB, are you in support of military solution?
It is regrettable that the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu did not heed the advice of Igbo leaders some of who surety his bail. As I speak with you Kanu has violated his bail conditions. To worsen matters, he formed his own army and security outfit in a sovereign nation which amount to treasonable offence. However, instead of IPOB to focus its agitation towards realizing president of Igbo extraction in 2023, the group was talking about Biafra. But I am opposed to the use of force because the situation was not out of the control of the police, so, I urged the federal government to thread with caution as dialogue remains the best way out.
Also, restructuring of the country will take care of agitations as it will accommodate all interests and only when this is done that tension will be doused. Restructuring is the best option to correct the lopsided system. Nevertheless, I believe in one indivisible Nigeria where peace and justice reigns.
You recently threw your weight behind Sen. Ifeanyi Ararume as the next governor of Imo State in 2019, what about your other kinsman and former governor of the state, Ikedi Ohakim?
They are both my brothers and are qualified to govern the state. We have tried Ohakim and he did his best and now it is time to give Ararume a chance to bring to bear his wealth of experience. Stakeholders in lmo have decided to support Ararume to continue from where Governor Rochas Okorocha stops in 2019. Therefore, the entire Okigwe zone have unequivocally endorsed Senator Ifeanyi Ararume’s candidacy for 2019. He has paid his dues and has maintained and continued to oil the wheel of his political structure in the state since 1999.
As an experienced lawmaker, a successful businessman and philanthropist, the response for his governorship ambition has been overwhelming. I assure you come 2019; Ararume will be the next governor of Imo State.
There is every indication that Ohakim may run, how come Okigwe people have been unable to resolve the dispute between them so that one will step down for the other?
Like I said earlier, both are qualified, but Ararume has 88 per cent chances. He has a formidable structure which cut across the 27 local government areas and he has the resources, the fear of God and well prepared.
If he has all these qualities, why did the former President, Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo discredited him before Imo people in 2007?
That was one of Obasanjo’s political propaganda to stop Ararume from becoming governor in 2007. Today, Obasanjo knows better and I’m sure he regretted painting our illustrious son bad just because they had dispute. We are proud of him and because God’s time is the best, I see 2019 as Ararume’s time to clinch the governorship seat. So, whether he tried thrice or not is not the issue, the issue now is that God has chosen Ararume to complete Okigwe zone’s tenure.
But Owerri too is claiming to be marginalised for being the only zone that has not produced governor of the state since the inception of the present political dispensation in 1999, so why not allow equity to prevail by letting Owerri produce the next governor?
Power is not given, it is taken. Is not only Owerri that is crying of marginalization even Okigwe zone is marginalized than the other zones. For instance, Owerri zone has nine local government areas, Orlu 12 and Okigwe just six. So, tell me who is marginalized? Again, Owerri is host of the capital of the state and all the developmental projects are cited in the zone such as: Imo State University, Federal University of Technology, Imo Polytechnic, Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Imo Concord Hotels, Aluminum Company, Inyishi in Ikeduru, Standard Shoes Factory and Zenith Paint Industry. All these investments are in Owerri zone alone yet they claimed to be marginalized. Therefore, the best option is for Owerri to support Ararume to complete Okigwe’s tenure then we will handover to them
The recent declaration to contest for the presidency in 2019 by Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State is perceived to be rattling the APC camp, do you agree?
Governor Ayodele Fayose is on a suicide mission for daring Buhari in a presidential contest. Except President Muhammadu Buhari says he will not seek re-election nobody can defeat him not even one million Fayoises. I call on my Igbo brothers and sister to align with other region to give Buhari their support for his second term bid as that is the only way we can actualize president of Igbo extraction in 2023. Let’s take a look at the way it stands, the South-west had eight years under Olusegun Obasanjo, Musa Yar’Adua three years from the north, former President, Goodluck Jonathan six years from the South-South.
So, it is the turn of Ndigbo to produce the president in 2023.