By Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Chief Maja Umeh, a former Commissioner for Information and Culture in Anambra state, has described the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as a big disappointment to Ndigbo and to the country at large for declaring that the presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should rotate only between the North and the West.
Maja Umeh’s reaction was in response to the position of Chief Ayo Adebanjo, one of the stalwarts of the Afenifere group, whom he said has been steadfast and resolute in his clamour for a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction in 2023.
Umeh, who granted an exclusive interview with our correspondent, said it was most unfortunate that someone like Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu could turn against Ndigbo at this auspicious time of the nation’s political history without recourse to the fact that Ndigbo were very instrumental to the electoral conquest of the late Moshood Abiola who won the annulled June 12 presidential election of 1993.
The former commissioner maintained that it was sheer insensitivity and outright greed for Asiwaju Tinubu to boast that it was his turn to become president in 2023; that Ndigbo have no place in the presidency of Nigeria. He said Chief Ayo Adebanjo has displayed true nationalism and patriotism in his stance that an Igbo man should emerge as Nigeria’s next president in 2023 come what may.
Umeh said, “I want to commend the consistency of Chief Ayo Adebanjo for supporting Igbo presidency. Why this gives me great joy is because he is one of the old stock responsible for building the bridge across the Niger which has been an agelong albatross between the East and the West. So I am happy that Chief Adebanjo still appreciates this friendship unlike some of his younger folks from the West.
“Bola Tinubu is one of the biggest disappointments in this age-long efforts to support handshake across the Niger. It is unfortunate that throughout NADECO time when the likes of Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Ndubuisi Kanu and everybody went out of their way to support Abiola’s presidency in the spirit of building the bridge across the Niger; that Tinubu who was a principal participant in that struggle could turn around to frustrate and sabotage an Igbo presidency.
“According to him, it is his turn to become president. So for him, he is the one who has finally buried the Igbos in his mind. That Nigerian presidency should be between the North and the West. This is a very unfortunate development and I can assure you that it will not go unchallenged.
“So I commend Chief Ayo Adebanjo and His Excellency the former president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo for appreciating the national import of an Igbo president because these are people who have worked hard for one Nigeria and would not allow any crack especially as one part of the country has been clamouring against injustice and marginalisation.
“They have been crying out loud and all well-meaning Nigerians have seen reasons why the next president of Nigeria should be from the Southeast. So I commend Chief Adebanjo for his steadfastness, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and all other good people from the West and the North-Central who are supporting this legitimate and benefiting aspiration of our people and to the glory of God everything so far have been endorsed by the Nigerian youths.”
Chief Umeh is however of the opinion that the APC-led federal government has been disastrous in the last seven years especially in the area of insecurity. He said Nigerians can no longer travel by air, land and sea; that Nigerians can no longer sleep with their two eyes closed and that it is the biggest legacy the APC government is bequeathing to Nigerians aside from the excruciating inflation in the economy as well as the depreciating standard of living in the country.
He said worst still were the gory pictures in the social media about people beheading people, shooting people, kidnapping people, jail breaks and all sorts of violence.
The former information and culture commissioner who said that the presidential aspiration of Mr. Peter Obi has been endorsed by Nigerians at home and in the diaspora, noted that nobody could truncate it as he believed that Obi would replicate his Anambra model as governor when he eventually becomes President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023.