From Stanley Uzoaru, George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
The consensus candidate for the position of the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Professor George Obiozor, has affirmed that he is inspired to lead the Igbo organisation.
Obiozor, who stated this on Monday during a press conference in Owerri, also indicated that experience, not age, is what is pertinent in electing who becomes the next leader of the apex Igbo group.
‘Age is not a disease, as for energy we are not going for a mile race; if we are going for a mile race maybe we’d look for a young Igbo, but this is Ohanaeze, we have to look deeper than that. Who is the head of Afenifere, do you know why they are better than us? Who is the head of the Arewa?’ Obiozor asked.
He continued: ‘One of the greatest problems of the new generation Igbo is pride; after looking at all these things when you’re going to war with giants, you don’t look for dwarfs. The situation in Nigeria today requires choosing the best. PG is not my ambition, it is is my inspiration. Igbos don’t need partisan politicians.’
While highlighting his aim in running for the seat, Obiozor indicated that the Igbo have for a long time not recieved the attention from those who have ruled the country. To correct that, he said, the South-East must be prepared to attract the attention from the ruling powers.
‘When it was said that Imo will produce the President-General, I said Igbos’ dilemma has come home at last; it means in comparison to the race of Nigeria, there are many things we don’t know; we must seek attention before you’re known. Igbos have not been given attention for a long time,’ he stated.
Speaking of his alleged collapse during a meeting at Enugu, Obiozor attributed the report to misinterpretation by reporters at the event.
On why he consulted Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Obiozor explained: ‘When they talked about who will be the man that will raise the hope of Ndigbo, that was why I went to Iwuanyanwu. He has succeeded in business, politics and many other ventures you can think of. That why I started with Iwuanyanwu; he has succeeded in his own carrier, and for the Igbos, success is the greatest revenge against injustice.’
Obiozor has promised to tackle insecurity which he says is the greatest problem confronting Igbos. ‘One problem of Ndigbo is insecurity; the whole country might have it but Igbos are the worst [hit]. Igbos have been victims, how do we manage it? We need an Igbo man that can offer them what they cannot resist.
‘Today, the insecurity is national, you cannot negotiate without partners; how do you know your partners, who are our friends, all these we have to identify and address. Igbos are facing an existential threat,’ Obiozor stated.
Meanwhile, Iwuanyanwu has given reasons why he declined the position of Ohaneaze President-General. ‘I have served in many capacities, I have seen it all, I’m an old man but not too old. My interest is Imo,’ he said.
‘I cannot compromise with the issues of Imo State. It was not done by zoning as most people accused me. I’m a statesman, I’m interested in the stability of the state. I don’t want to be a president or governor. I have willingly relinquished the offer of minister three times given to me. I’m supporting Obiozor because of his diplomatic experience. Igbos will be better for it,’ Iwuanyanwu explained.