Nollywood actor, Pete Edochie has expressed concern about the political marginalization of Igbo people, stressing that a president from the South East can deliver strategic leadership that will transform Nigeria.
Pete Edochie Speaks On Igbo Presidency
During an interview on a BBC Igbo programme, the Anambra-born film star lamented that Nigeria has not had more than one Igbo head of state, more than sixty years after independence.
He said, “Igbo people are Nigerians. In 1956 when Queen Elizabeth came, it was the vehicle of an Igbo man Odumegwu Ojukwu that was used to convey her, since he was one of the richest black man at the time.
“He never asked to be paid. Successful Nigerians in those early times were people of Igbo extraction: Power Mike in boxing, Chinua Achebe in literature. Even Ben Enwonwu, the Nigerian who painted the queen at the time, is Igbo.
“I myself as a successful actor am an Igbo man. Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba are the major ethnic groups in Nigeria. Only once in the history of Nigeria has it emerged that an Igbo person became the head of state in Nigeria.
“That was Aguiyi Ironsi during the military government and his headship was short-lived. Since then, the north and the Yoruba have been sharing power between themselves, apart from Goodluck Jonathan who isn’t even Igbo.”
Pete Edochie, who described Igbos as being resilient by nature, said Nigeria needs Igbo ingenuity and sound leadership.
He said, “Why has power not returned to the Igbo people? Is there a plot by the political elites to sideline the southeast? I’ve lived in the north. I speak Hausa. But it’s long overdue for Nigeria to have a leader of Igbo extraction.
“You can’t justify marginalising the Igbo people. Igbo can deliver strategic leadership that will transform Nigeria. That is the Igbo way. We’re resilient by nature. The looting of Nigeria’s resources will end with Igbo leadership.
“The problem in Nigeria is greed. Leadership is dominated by northerners but, 60 years after independence, we’ve not ended the electricity problem, when coal-based Oji River supplied power to the whole east before the civil war.
“It’s true Igbos can’t fold our arms and wait for power to be delivered. But we can’t struggle for it all by ourselves.”
KanyiDaily recalls that another Nollywood actor, Chiwetalu Agu had said it would be better for the Igbos to leave Nigeria because the country has nothing to offer them.