A meeting of traditional rulers of Igbo extraction, (Ndieze Igbo) in Diaspora and Igbo Delegate Assembly (IDA) comprising Igbos living in the 19 states of Northern Nigeria rose on Saturday in Abuja, with a unanimous resolution to support the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige for the 2023 presidential race.
They said Ngige should henceforth stop his consultations and join the race for the country’s topmost political office.
Recall that Ngige had said that he was consulting his friends and political associates across the country and that he would make his presidential ambition open after Easter.
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But the President-General of IDA, Chief Chi Nwogu who announced the resolution, said Ngige by his antecedents had proved his mettle in leadership and if Nigerians decide to seek for an Igboman to lead the country, he should be the one.
Nwogu in a statement issued by the Minister’s Media Office said Igbos were tired of playing a second fiddle in Nigerian politics and wished to produce the successor to President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said, “We want to produce the President of Nigeria in 2023. We don’t want Vice President. Please Ngige, you have done enough consultations. Don’t consult again. Join the presidential race.
“We know your antecedents from the periods you served as governor of Anambra State and Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. You have been in the labour room for the past seven years as the Minister of Labour and Employment, attending to all the labour disputes brought to your table. Please, join the presidential race. We will support you. We will follow you to Aso Rock.”
Speaking in a similar vein, the Eze-Ndigbo Bauchi, Igwe Jude Umezika, described Ngige as a unifier and bridge-builder who would unify Nigeria and safeguard the lives and property of the Igbos and other Nigerians wherever they live in the country.
“The roads he built in Anambra 16 years ago are still intact. There is no Igbo man who is his match. He is one of the Igbo leaders that will call us whenever there is a problem in the North. He has the fear of God.”
Also speaking, Ezeudo of Abuja, Dr Uche Egenti, described Ngige as a bold, courageous and brave man, expressing confidence that if given the opportunity to serve as President, he would replicate his excellent performance in Anambra State in Nigeria.
Earlier while consulting the group on his presidential ambition, Ngige reaffirmed his belief in one united, fair, equitable and just Nigeria, saying Igbos have properties scattered across the country.
He said the president of Nigeria should be for the most competent person irrespective of where he or she comes from.
“The president is for all but certain areas in the constitution, particularly Section 14 (3) said that the government of Nigeria must be dominated by persons from different groups and no one group should dominate in other to command national loyalty and patriotism.
“Therefore, we believe in unity and diversity. We believe in justice, equity and fair play, to the extent that today, our party, APC, has said that the next president should come from the people of Southern stock of Nigeria.
“The Igbos of the South-East are part of Southern Nigeria. Some of us have taken the pains to serve our country for the past 40 years in the public service of Nigeria. I started my journey as medical officer 1 at the National Assembly clinic in Lagos. From there, I went into the Federal Ministry of Health and rose to become consultant and later, Deputy Director in charge of Hospital Services. I left the civil service without blemish and became a party official in the PDP. Working with former Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme, we conceded presidency to the South-West in 1999 and General Olusegun Obasanjo became President. I was among those who made it possible for the unity of the country. The party conscripted me to become Governor in Anambra State.Obasanjo stayed 1999 to 2007 and afterwards, the presidency moved to the North and Yar’Adua who was my mate as Governor became President.
“Those who are from Anambra here know what I did in the State as Governor in just 34 months. I didn’t do for Anambra alone, but for the entire South-East.”
Ngige recalled that his administration in Anambra State executed 105 road projects transversing the entire 21 local government areas of Anambra State and linking neighbouring states of Imo, Abia and Enugu.
He said Anambra people rewarded him with a seat at the Senate where he represented Anambra Central and they made good laws for the country, such as the 2013 Health Act he made in collaboration with Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa, the incumbent Delta State Governor.
Ngige said he has been Minister of Labour and Employment for two terms since in 2015 and has been labouring in the labour room ever since , attending to labour disputes from ASUU, doctors and other unions, so that things would continue moving.
“I am doing all these as your ambassador, trying to represent the Igbos well. I think I have done well. Now, we are talking about the president of Nigeria. President Muhamnadu, my friend has worked for Nigeria. But, no one man will finish every work. His tenure is coming to an end. I have told him that those who will replace him are those who understand what is being said, to ensure that we execute our programmes 100 percent. I don’t have money but I know I have the capacity to do the job. I am still consulting and will take a decision by Easter. Being a good Christian, I have committed everything to God.”