Enugu — Minister of Labour and Employment and former Governor of Anambra State, Senator Chris Ngige, has said he was practising what the late leader of Ndigbo, Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu, taught them in 1982.
Ngige made this known while reacting to criticisms from Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, over his alleged defence of President Muhammadu Buhari on his lopsided appointments of top political office holders against Ndigbo, further advised that Igbo should avoid placing all their political eggs in one basket by voting wisely in 2019.
Ngige, had in an interview blamed the Igbo political class for allegedly rejecting President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, by voting massively for former President Goodluck Jonathan, who eventually lost the general election to Buhari.
According to him, MASSOB’s position was uninformed and a shot in the wrong direction.
In a statement signed by his Special Assistant, Media, Nwachukwu Obidiwe, the minister defended his advice to the Igbo, saying: “I wish to put it on record that my position is exactly the same position our late leader, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu took in 1982 when he left the Igbo dominated Nigeria Peoples Party, NPP, to join the National Party of Nigeria, NPN.
“Ikemba reasoned that while Igbo give support to Zik’s NPP, there was also the wisdom in spreading our political net to the waters of the ruling party. Ikemba did so to ensure that Ndigbo were not all boxed into a regional party or enclave which can disconnect or limit their participation in the nation’s apex political conclave.
“If Ojukwu thought that doing otherwise was myopic in 1982, why is a section of the Igbo crucifying Ngige for preaching and practising the wise counsel of our eternal leader, Ikemba?
“I wish to further add that there is enough opportunity for the Igbo to make up whatever perceived loss they currently encounter but our leaders need to shun the creeping political narrowness and play politics more astutely.
“What matters most is not how big the positions we occupy are, rather, what we are able to achieve for the Igbo with what we occupy.
“Today, work is on-going on all the major federal roads in the South-East; Enugu- Onitsha, Enugu-Umuahia-Aba-Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt-Owerri, Oba-Nnewi– Arondizuogu- Okigwe, to mention a few while Julius Berger has been mobilized to the tune of N6 billion for the 2nd River Niger Bridge.”
“There is also the Benin-Onitsha rail line, with a separate bridge across the Niger, which was not originally in the Jonathan-led PDP coastal rail master plan… This could not be achieved with all the so called big positions (Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Deputy Senate President and Speaker, Ministers of Finance, Health, Aviation, National Chairman of ruling party, Head of Army and Police… that Ndigbo occupied under the Jonathan administration for six years but that the APC government was doing so just in one budget cycle, that is, between 2016 – May 2017, knowing full well that 2015 budget was Jonathan’s.
“The new MASOB leadership- lest it has forgotten, Ngige as Governor of Anambra State was the only governor in the zone who gave MASOB full protection against harassment by the security agencies because of their non-violent approach to struggle.
“I did not only protect MASOB from undue harassment by security agencies, I sent them food from the state treasury and employed its members in the formidable Anambra Vigilante Service. The founder of MASOB, Chief Ralph Uwazurike is alive and can testify to this. I, therefore advice the new MASOB leadership to show little respect to the elders who have immensely contributed, and has continued to contribute to the wellbeing of Ndigbo.”