Shut Up El-Rufa’i, Igbos Have Formidable Bridge-Builders Who Are Ready To Lead Nigeria In 2023-National Salvation Coalition

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A pro-democracy group, the National Salvation Coalition, has taken umbrage over El-Rufa’i’s insolent remarks regarding the quest of Igbo people to produce the President of Nigeria in 2023. El-Rufa’i had declared recently that Igbo people cannot blackmail the nation into handing over the Presidency to them while they sit in their corner hauling abuses in all directions.

 

However, in a sharp rebuttal to the Kaduna Governor’s ill- advised tirade and impolitic temper tantrums, the National Salvation Front, a leading pro- democracy platform, warned El-Rufa’i to shut up as Igbos have formidable array of political bridge builders ready to lead Nigeria in 2023. In a press statement the group released in Abuja over the weekend and signed by its National Coordinator Asuquo Edet and Secretary General, Gerald Bulus, and which is  titled “Igbos Have Formidable Political Bridge Builders Ready and Willing to Lead Nigeria”, the group wonders aloud at El-Rufa’i’s motive in his ceaseless bashing of Igbo people and persistent denigration of their contribution to national development since 1960.

 

The group conceded that while there are some unthoughtful Igbo politicians just as obtains among the other ethnic groups of the country, big and small, including in the North, there are also polished Igbo politicians who fervently believe in the unity and indivisibility of the country and who subscribe to the formula that power flows out of the barrel of negotiation, mutual amity and consensus building.

 

In the view of the group, it screams to high ignorance if El-Rufa’i is unaware of the pedigree of such Igbo pan- nationalists some of who belong to El-Rufa’i’s own political party, the APC. In the words of the group: “ One such proud patriot is Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, the current Minister of Science and Technology. It is our firm belief and resolute stand that if the APC nominates Dr. Onu as it’s Presidential Candidate, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for PDP to bring forth any candidate that will defeat him in the North because of his long standing pan-national political credentials. Dr. Onu is certainly the best Presidential Candidate in the SE for APC that will be easily accepted across the country and most particularly in the North”.

 

The group went to summarize Dr. Onu’s worthy political credentials and laudable qualities as against El-Rufa’i’s blanket condemnation of the SE political elite. In their words: “ Dr. Onu has always been a good and worthy party man. He holds no, and has never held nor canvassed any strong and extreme sectional, ethnic or sectarian ideology. He is not known to have ideological animosity against any ethnic group in the country. Rather, he has always been in alliance with political forces across the country, including the North without compromising or jeopardizing his commitment to the SE and the rest of the country”.

 

According to the civil society activist group, “even when the Great Zik was alive, Dr. Onu contested for Senate under the NPN as against the NPP in 1983. In 1991 he contested for governorship under the NRC, a party considered to have a strong Northern conservative base. In 1999, he similarly joined the APP seen to be ideologically conservative and with strong Northern content as against the PDP. Finally, he contested for and emerged as the APP Presidential Candidate; a mandate that was unceremoniously taken aware from him by the emergence of Chief Falae as the joint candidate of the APP and AD even without consulting him. Yet he took it in good stead and with equanimity and remained a dedicated and loyal party man till his election as the National Chairman of the APC upon which he became the powerful moving force towards the formation of the APC”.

 

The group thus cautioned El-Rufa’i to choose his words carefully and to always speak with circumspection so as not to misfire or unduly heat up the polity. It reminded El-Rufa’i that Igbo political bridge builders like Dr. Onu who has a PhD in Chemical Engineering and is leading the national science and technology rebirth is a force of good that is of critical importance in restoring confidence between the North and South, between the Igbo and the North, and between Nigeria’s competing political factions. A word is enough for the wise.

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