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A former Minister of Information, Prince Tony Momoh has given reasons it will be difficult for an Igbo to be president in Nigeria.
Momoh, a leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, cited disunity among Igbos and their preference for supporting the candidates with huge financial chests during election.
He said this when he spoke with the Independent on why it had been difficult for the Igbos to produce a president since 1999.
The former Minister pointed out that the problems facing the Igbo was their inability to be united and queue behind one single candidate.
He said, “The fact is the Igbos have been in a difficult place since the civil war. They started from scratch after the civil war and they had to reestablish themselves in the Nigerian polity and they had to start moving up slowly in the institution. Many of them their senior people in the Army were no longer there but they have moved in the Army to the highest level, even to the level of Chief of Army Staff.
“The Igbos are a wonderful people. For instance, at the end of the war, inspite of what you’ve had, they gave you 20 pounds. Every other thing collapsed. Then the Igbos came back to Nigeria and Nigerians celebrated with them and forgot that there was any war. Where they have property, apart from Port Harcourt, people were collecting the rents for them and gave it back to them. But the fact is climbing the social, political and economic ladder takes time.
“But because of commercial activities, they dominated the economic terrain in Nigeria, the Igbos are the main group of any city in Nigeria. Even in Lagos today, they have Igbos in the House of Representatives.
“But the Igbos are as disunited as the youths of Nigeria who wants to be president. We were in ANPP. We went to Lagos with the late Chuba Okadigbo who was Buhari’s running mate in the 2003 presidential elections. We met the Igbo chiefs in Lagos and asked for Igbo votes.
“The chief said we should come back the next day. We came back the following day and he said ‘look at that corner, that is N6m that PDP gave us. Bring us N6m and we will vote for you. I will return the N6m given to us by PDP to them.
“That is trading and I am not surprised because they are businessmen and they talk business. For you to be talking business, the highest bidder is the person you will befriend. Nigeria will always try to divide the Igbos through financial compromises.
“I speak truth to power, issues and institutions. If for instance, you have an Igbo aspiring to be president, you may have about 20 people from the same South-East wanting to be president. The issue is, how can they sit down and say we decide that we want a particular person as our candidate? Nigeria knowing that weakness will cause trouble so that they cannot be united. That is the problem.”
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