Chinelo Obogo, Lagos
The Special Adviser for Drainage and Water Resources to the Lagos State Governor, Joe Igbokwe, has said those clamouring for presidency to remain in north should perish idea.
During an event organised in his honour by Igbo youths in Lagos APC where he was endorsed as the Igbo apex leader for the state chapter, Igbokwe said the country has an unwritten law that sees power rotate between the North and South part of the country, saying that those trying to alter the arrangement that will be upsetting the delicate balance of the nation.
‘For those who may not know, there is an established understanding that power will continue to rotate between North and South until we build a nation, so, that is where we are, it is not in dispute. It is an unwritten understanding, for the betterment of Nigeria, we have to continue until we learn to understand that Nigeria is a nation, so if anyone is telling you about power going back to the North, it is not going to work. We know how we got here, so power comes to the South, that is an established position, unwritten rule for the sake of the country,’ he said.
He said power rotation does not in any way overlook competence, arguing that every part of the country has capable people to take charge of the affairs of the country,
‘The issue of competence is very important and we must understand that there are champions everywhere, will you say the South have no quality persons to stand in the position, even the smallest ethnic group in this country has somebody to present. There are champions everywhere and when it comes to the South we will decide where it will go.
‘I believe that there is no controversy about it, for now let us continue with the rotation until we are matured enough and when we are matured enough we won’t be asking where somebody is coming from.’
Speaking on the leadership of the Igbo in APC, Igbokwe said the state chapter has recognised him as the apex leader and that they instructed Jude Idimogu, who is a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, to support him.
He said many allegations which were untrue were leveled against him which left him no choice than to speak out in defence of himself and insisted that having paid his dues after decades in the party, he won’t allow those he described as ‘newcomers’ to usurp his authority in the party.
‘The state party chairman called us after two out of the 17 Igbo leaders in APC pulled out and told Idimogu to become my deputy and we moved on. We fought the biggest battle in 2015 and at time, they were threatening to kill us, then he was still a member of the PDP. These two people were moving all over the place and we thought they were just joking. When I started hearing the things that were said against me, I had to defend myself and decided to let people know how I have been helping the Igbo community quietly behind the scenes for over 30 years without making noise about it.
‘I have lost count of how many Igbo people I helped to recover their houses, lands and businesses worth millions of naira. There is no day that passes by that I am not intervening in very serious issues that would have crippled people’s sources of livelihood. But because I don’t make noise about it, it was as if I wasn’t doing anything.
‘On many occasions, I have intervened in most of the major markets in Lagos where the businesses of Igbo traders would have been badly affected. I have paid my dues in this party and even though I initially didn’t attach any importance to the apex leader title, I had to grasp it firmly when it became obvious that some people were out to sideline me and assume leadership of the Igbo community in APC. I’m holding on to this position firmly and no one will take it away from me,’ Igbokwe said.
Speaking on the forthcoming senatorial election for Lagos East, Igbokwe said: “Is there any opposition political party that is still existing in Lagos? Tell me. What we need to do is for us to get the best candidate and the person will win. However, we would not take things for granted. We would prepare very well and we know we would win.
‘We beat the PDP in 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019 and we would beat them again in this election. I was the APC publicity secretary for many years and the PDP fought and fought, at the end of the day, all their champions are now in APC,’ he said.