Jonathan made the call during the lecture series to mark the 80th birthday of Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, which took place in Owerri, under the theme ‘Igbo Quest for Nigeria’s Unity.’
“Iwuanyanwu is a man of many colours and a meticulous investor whose positive story would guide the leaders of the country. Iwuanyanwu is a man of victory and his songs tell a story he has continued to place unity above parochial interest,” he said.
“Ahead of the election, politicians must cut and deemphasise on our differences. Especially, the youths should come out and vote for those who believe in the unity of Nigeria. Let us work as one and everybody will have a sense of belonging.”
In his speech, Governor Hope Uzodimma said: “Ndigbo loves Nigeria and the evidence is everywhere. The Igbo love Nigeria fervently with all their heart. The problem is that the Igbos saw that Nigeria don’t reciprocate that same love the Igbos have for Nigeria. Despite the harsh policies and negative effects of the civil war the Igbos rose and embrace a united Nigeria.
However, the governor said: “ The Igbo have flaws. We are weak in negotiations. We always believe we can do it alone. The Igbo can achieve presidency through negotiations.”
While delivering a lecture on the theme, ‘The Igbo quest for Nigeria’s unity’, the guest lecturer, Chief Nnia Nwodo, said: “No attempt should be made to force Igbos out of political relevance, we are as qualified as other Nigerians and Nigeria needs all of us now.
“We must stop brooding over what has happened to us in the past, we can still make a country. Our industry and acceptability are evidence of our preparedness to serve and our quest for Nigeria’s unity is unswerving.”
The Secretary General of Afenifere, Shola Oduseni, said: “It is not the fault offers that the Igbos could not produce the President. It is the problem of the Constitution. Just like the entire South-East has 95 local government areas. If we go to Kano, one local government has more local-government than the entire South-East.”
The representative of the Middle Belt forum, Birtrus Pogu, said: “We have agreed that we will support the Igbos for presidency come 2023. We decided because of marginalisation.”