In a statement signed by Ohakim himself as well as Nze Chidi Duru, Bishop Blaise Iwuogo and Barrister Chike F. Maduekwe, the ICG believed that the President–elect is a politician of a rare mould.
The Group said that they have no doubt that, going by his antecedents, the President-elect was under no pressure in agreeing to look into the plight of the Igbo but that they believed that he will
live up to his promises and go ahead to offer the Igbo a much needed leverage that will enable them fully tap their enormous individual and collective potentials, “as canvassed by ICG in our previous statements.
“In spite of the imperatives and nuances of electoral contest, the ICG expects the President-elect to be magnanimous in victory. He should take immediate and practical steps to allay all the fears hitherto held about his personality and every allegation of a fixated mind over some sections of the country. And because the entire country is his constituency, no part should be seen as an underdog. Above all, he must consult deeply and widely and be a good listener.
“As against what was bandied during the campaigns, wisdom comes with age and as such Nigerians expect to reap from the Buhari presidency all the benefits that accrue to a people when a fellow who has been schooled in wisdom and maturity mounts the saddle.
“In Buhari, Nigeria expect to have her own Lee Quan Yu (Singapore), Gen. Park Chung-Lee (South Korea) and Deng Xiaoping (1904 -1997) China. The President-elect is mounting the saddle when the country has just entered into a deep economic crisis. With our oil no longer an attraction to the rest of the world, it needs no exaggeration to state that the new leadership must be creative and assertive in fashioning out a new blueprint for national economic revival.”
The group then went on to list the demands of the Igbo nation thus:
MATTERS OF URGENCY
Without prejudice to the existing manifesto of his party, ICG believes that there already exists a concise agenda that the President-elect must as a matter of urgency pursue in order to return the country to the path of sanity, equity, justice and rule of law. As it concerns Ndi Igbo, this priority agenda should include but not limited to:
(i) Boko Haram Insurgency:
It is needless to dwell in any details on the Boko Haram insurgency since the President-elect had even before his election assured Nigerians that Boko Haram will be a thing of the past as soon as he is elected. ICG believes he has what it takes to live up to expectations in this regard so that Ndi Igbo can go back to their businesses in the affected areas having lost over $7b.
(ii)Reviving the Economy:
On the economy, the ICG believes that the issues are so fundamental to warrant mere pontifications. What ICG expects the incoming administration to do will be to pursue a line of action that will include inputs from knowledgeable Nigerians irrespective of partisan inclination.
(iii) Addressing Injustice To The Igbo:
The ICG in a widely advertised statement in several national dailies, especially ThisDay, the Daily Sun and The Nation of Thursday 19th March, 2015 highlighted several issues which we wanted the presidential candidates to address.
For emphasis, however, we represent below an abridged version of the issues concerned.
Aba Integrated Power Project
In 2005, the Federal Government under President Olusegun Obasanjo concessioned the Aba metropolis to the investors of a 141MW plant in Aba as a security for financing the project. The then President convinced many Igbo investors who rushed and set up various plants/factories on the understanding that this power plant will see the light of the day.
The plant was completed by M/S Geometric Consortium with state-of-the-art equipment from General Electric (GE) with an investment of over N100b since 15 months ago.
Unfortunately, M/S BPE went ahead to double concession the same zone. The plant cannot take off. The investors are crying, unemployed youths are crying, Igbo are crying. This conspiracy and injustice must be addressed by the in-coming administration as soon as possible.
(2) ADDITIONAL TWO STATES
This issue was dealt with elaborately in the earlier statement by ICG and needs no emphasis here. Happily, it is one of the issues the President-elect promised to look into during his campaigns.
(3) ABANDONED PROPERTY
Over 85% of property belonging to Ndi Igbo in Rivers State remain classified as abandoned property 45 years after the end of the civil war. The Igbo demands that the incoming administration should look into this matter as a top priority and bring to a closure this festering wound which remains an embarrassment to Nigeria. Under no circumstance should it be acceptable that the property of a Nigerian citizen is called abandoned property in any part of the federation. The ICG calls on the in-coming federal government to review this injustice as a matter of urgency.
(4) SECOND NIGER BRIDGE
The ICG has earlier noted that the decision of the federal government to prosecute the second Niger Bridge project on a private-public partnership (PPP) arrangement is against the interest of Ndi Igbo. We urge the in-coming government to review this immediately. The second Niger Bridge is the only project under the N400 billion national intervention project of 2005 that is being handled as a PPP arrangement. In the alternation, we demand that South-east share of the intervention project be channeled to the development of Osemoto seaport.
(5) THE OSEMOTO SEA PORT
We wish to seize this opportunity to restate our demand that the federal government should as a matter of urgency revitalize the proposed sea port in Osemoto, Imo state.
Osemoto (Oguta LGA, Imo State)/Oseakwa (Ihiala LGA, Anambra State) is the deepest natural harbour in Nigeria and will offer real naval and marinetransportation platforms if developed.
Most interesting, the ADB report shows that it lies only 18 nautical miles to Atlantic Ocean and will be a strategic hub for oil and gas industry and inland dry docking to promote trade and create employment. Above all, it will open the Igbo land to the sea.
In addition, it will open up more than 3,000 square kilometers of the most fertile agricultural land that has one of the highest alluvial deposits which has been in existence for well over a million years.
The Osemoto deep sea port and all the associated industry will create well over two million jobs for our teeming unemployed youths.
(6) GENERAL ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE
The ICG demands that in addition to the immediate rehabilitation of all federal roads in the Southeast with high economic value, we would like the Buhari administration to complete the Otuocha-Mmiata-Kogi Road. This road is less than 150km and will knock off about 3 hours from every journey from the South-east to Abuja. This road was awarded to Nigercat in 2009 under President Shehu Musa Yar’Adua administration but curiously the Federal Government has not shown any interest in completing this project of high economic value to Ndi Igbo.
IGBO IN THE NEW DISPENSATION
The outcome of the 2015 presidential election has introduced a new vista to Igbo politics. Without any exaggerations, Ndigbo stand to benefit immensely from the change that has just taken place, in the sense that the new era will re-define Igbo politics more positively. Presidential power may become less accessible to Ndi Igbo but the current state of affairs offers an opportunity for a new and purposeful leadership to emerge in Igbo land.
This new leadership must be people who will have the guts and intellectual capacity to become a credible opposition to the new dispensation if need be. In the new dispensation, politics of money and contract will have no place and in this regard, ICG is of the firm belief that the Igbo will be the biggest beneficiaries.
Consequently, the ICG calls on Igbo youth to see the opportunity offered by the current development in the country to be more proactive and begin to think of ways of ridding Igbo land of the near zero intellectual content in its politics. Igbo youths should seize the present opportunity to come to the fore front on the fight against injustice to the Igbo.
PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN
ICG commends President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan GCFR for his comportment and deep sense of accomodation. Nigerians will forever remember him for steadfastly upholding democratic ethics and allowing space for every player.
President Jonathan came to power when the nation was in a big quagmire and it is to his credit that the country had a smooth transition following the sudden demise of his predecessor, the late President Umaru, Yar’Adua. We salute him for his courage in conceding defeat while asking that he should remain available for the country to tap from his experience.
INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC)
The ICG is satisfied with the outcome of the presidential election and urge Nigerians to accept the result. ICG wishes to congratulate the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for being able to overcome the initial challenges to give the country a credible election at the end.
IGBO IN THE DIASPORA
ICG commends Ndigbo residing outside Igbo land especially in the North part of Nigeria for seeing the wisdom in keying into the movement that gave rise to what we are witnessing today. By that singular act, they have created a conducive atmosphere for preserving the age long tie between them and their fellow compatriots in the North and the Southwest. Contrary to the picture painted during the campaigns, Ndigbo have shown that they have no issues with General Buhari or with their brothers up North.
ICG expects that in the days ahead, the symbiotic relationship that exists between the Igbo residing outside Igbo land and their hosts will become even more mutually beneficial. ICG commends Igbo politicians and members of the intelligentsia who supported and worked towards the Buhari project. We commend patriotic Nigerians in other parts of the country, especially the South-west led by the indefatigable Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (Governor Lagos State 1999 – 2007), who saw the wisdom in the alliance that gave rise to the present moment.
We congratulate General Muhammadu Buhari GCFR once more. We know that asa leader whose transparent lifestyle and synchronicity between words and deeds are so eloquent, the last campaign couldn’t sink his reputation.
Igbo Conversational Group (ICG) believes that the new era can become the foundation of Nigeria’s march into a secured future of prosperity and political stability.
While pledging to give the President-elect all necessary support, the ICG will employ every legitimate means to ensure that the Igbo are however no longer denied access to the common patrimony. We pledge to engage all the relevant authorities constructively with an abiding faith in the unity and overall economic prosperity of the country at large.
THIS IS THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA. [myad]