Mr Brady Chijoke Nwosu is a former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant in Imo State. He is currently, the acting National Publicity secretary of Njiko Igbo, a pan Igbo political group that is geared towards addressing the perceived marginalization of Ndigbo.
He spoke to NDUBUISI ORJI in Lagos about the objectives of the group.
What is Njiko Igbo all about?
We have other Igbo social groups like MASSOB, Aka Ikenga, but none of them is a political group. This is a pro-active political group that is for all Igbos, home and abroad, those in government and out of government. It is not fronting or any political party or individual. It is a group that will further the interest of the Igbos home and abroad for us to get our own dividends in the corporate Nigeria. It is a political movement that doesn’t have any political platform.
I look at the country in a way that no area can exist without the other, we have already come up with Njiko Igbo to further the interest of Ndigbo.
Njiko Igbo believes in the corporate existence of Nigeria and two more states be added to the south east. We believe that it is time an Igbo man becomes the president of Nigeria and that it should happen in 2015. We are not going to war again. We will keep agitating until our dreams are realized. In 1999, when Abdusalami was there, the Yoruba nation through NADECO bent the hands of the military and they produced a president in Olusegun Obasanjo for eight years. When Obasanjo was there, there was agitation again. The Niger Delta started their own agitations by kidnapping whites, making that place uncomfortable.
So there is a problem, that is why the Njiko Igbo has to come up now to ensure that everybody comes together. We cannot realize the presidency by scattering our ambition. We have to come together, that is why Njiko Igbo is there.
Our group strongly believes that an Igbo man should become president in 2015. An Igbo man has never been president of this country. Each time there is an opportunity for the Igbos to produce president, something will happen. Either a coup d etat or some other thing. In the second republic, when (Shehu) Shagari won for a second term, there was a move to position (Alex) Ekwueme to become president and it was thwarted by the coup of 1983. This time around they have been democracy since 1999, our brothers from Ijaw have already attained the presidency but we have not. And Igbo is a political bloc. There are only three blocs in Nigeria. That is the north, the west and the East. So for us to be denied the presidency in 2015, it would be good. We are working towards an Igbo man becoming president in 2015, irrespective of any arrangement.
But some Igbos are urging President Goodluck Jonathan to go for a second term.
The votes from the south east actually made the president. The point is that in as much as some of our leaders tend to support Jonathan for second term, Jonathan has not told anybody that he is contesting in 2015 even though his body language suggests it. It is our turn to go in 2015. Today’ philosophy is based on your utterance. He has to say it that he wants to contest.
On what platform do you intend to pursue the Igbo presidency?
At the appropriate time we will come up with that. The Njiko Igbo is completely different from other groups. First of all we have to get ourselves together. All the members of Njiko Igbo are Igbos from every walk of life. Every Igbo man whether in government or out of government is a member of this group. All the members of Njiko Igbo are from different political parties and we are doing our consultation and the consultation is going very well.
We are moving around canvassing. Consulting. Our leadership in Njiko Igbo has already met the Obi of Onitsha and many of the leaders in Igbo land, we are moving on . we have gone very far. we are not joking. We are trying to get every Igbo politician together and we are doing it very quickly. Sooner or later we will make a statement towards 2015.
What is the position of your group on the Constitution amendment?
I believe in the corporate existence of Nigeria. Our fore fathers fought, our leaders from the Igbo section fought to put Nigeria together. Again based on the amendment of the constitution of Nigeria going on, I believe two more stated should be created in Igbo land to bring us at par with other zones. Like some other zones have seven, let us have seven states. Again, certain things are supposed to be done in terms in trying to amend the constitution of the country, in the first republic , representation in the national assembly between the north and south was balanced, in two years it would be 100 years of amalgamation.
How would you describe the state of the Igbo man in Nigeria?
We have gone to war but the issue right now is that our position in Nigeria has to be readdressed. We are marginalized and that is why we are putting up the Njiko Igbo to further the interest of the Igbo man. That doesn’t mean we are foreclosing other Igbo groups like Ohaneze, Aka Ikenga and MASSOB. This is just the first movement that seeks to achieve the political aspiration of Ndigbo, both home and abroad.
They are some geo-political zones in country the that has seven states. The Igbos has five. And that is the least. Therefore to balance the equation in this country, we need two more states. That is what we are making sure that the creation of more states is addressed in the constitution review.
What is your reaction to the recent statement by Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano state that the South East does not deserve more states?
Historically, all those areas that have something to do with slave trade, they are more populated than other areas. Even Kwankwso himself knows that there was no time they were more populated than Lagos. I have been to Kano, how can Kwakwanso say that a state close to the sea is sparsely populated than a land locked state. Kano is a land locked state. The issue of what happened that made Kano have more representation in the national Assembly was done by the military. Otherwise there is no way you will say Kano is more populated than Lagos. It is not possible. And I know the revenue of Kano alone is more than that of the Southeast, which is wrong. If a proper check is done, you will find that the Igbos in Kano state may account for 20 per cent of the population. In a situation where everybody goes back to his state, the Kano population will drastically reduce. If you check very well you will discover that some of the people in Kano state are not even Nigerians.
We need more representation South East. In the first republic, between North and South, the representation in the National Assembly was equal. Go and check your records. I don’t know why Kwankanso is saying we don’t need more states. Why is he saying that?
What is your take on the controversy over Chinua Achebe’s memoirs?
I am of the opinion that the controversy is not even necessary now. Forty years have passed since the end of the Nigerian civil war. One of the major actors , Ojukwu died about one year ago. Since Ojukwu died, lots of people have published books about Biafra, and it didn’t raise hell. Why is that of Achebe raising hell. Maybe because he is an intellectual. The issue of 20 pounds for all the money you have is an open wound. It is a known fact. Since the book was published, I have read the counter reaction of Ebenezer Babatope and Fani Kayode. I look at all these write ups, they even mentioned where Awolowo concurred based on that policy.
He was the minister of finance then and number two man to Gowon. Who never denied the policy. But some people wrote in their reaction that they blame Ojukwu for the policy.
In warfare, a country like America will throws bomb at you it will give you food on the other hand. They want you to eat while you are alive, when you are dead, you are dead.
But I am telling you that the controversy is not even necessary now. The country is going through hell. Too many of us in this country don’t even know the direction the country is going. Everyday you wake up in the morning you see a different thing. Many people wake up in the morning are they become confused. The country right now is between the super rich, mega rich and the destitute. Because there is no middle class again. What you have is the few mega rich and the destitutes. And people will come out from nowhere and be telling that we have sophisticated economy in Nigeria. We must go back to the basics.
Gowon in his own reply said he has no regret for the policy. Awolowo said he has no regret. He never denied that he had no part in the implementation of the policy so why is everybody raising hell? Those people that are countering, in their own write we don’t want a situation where the thing will bring differences between the Yoruba and the Igbos or the North and South. The war has come and gone. We have to move forward. But let history be there for future research. I don’t see anything wrong about it.
What effort is Njiko Igbo making to tackle insecurity in the South-east?
There is a lot of insecurity going on now, because of the restiveness of the youths. There is a lot of hunger in the country in the country. In my estimation, there are too many youths who are unemployed. The thing has caused many people to pack out from the south east. That is why Njiko Igbo is coming together to address the situation. We cannot continue that way. When you go home instead of you sleeping with your eyes closed, you sleep with one eyes open, it doesn’t make any sense.
That is why we are talking to our governors and our traditional rulers. Njiko Igbo is not that old, but we have already made a lot of moves. We have gone round south east meeting leaders of thought and political leaders, and they are overwhelmingly supporting us. Equity and fairness in Nigeria will go a long way in sustaining our youths and giving them hope. That is why we are trying to establish hope. Right now, the youths in Igboland feel that they are hopeless.