By Ikechukwu Okaforadi with agency report
The only surviving nationalist, first republic Minister of Aviation, and a member of the Zikist Movement, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, has called for the renegotiation of the unity of Nigeria to bring about equity for all.
The 91 years old former minister spoke yesterday at a press conference organised by Global Movement for Igbo Presidency (GLOMIP) at his home in Ukpor, Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State, where the group called on him to lend his voice to the call for Igbo Presidency.
Amaechi insisted that nothing was unnegotiable, including the unity of Nigeria, especially if the negotiation will bring about equity and equality, and also quell agitations by parts of the country.
Amaechi said, “Whatever concerns the betterment of Nigeria, I will always take part in it. I’m the only surviving member of our set.
“We know how hard we fought to achieve independence for Nigeria, and up till today, I still look forward to a better Nigeria. Whatever concerns Nigeria, I will not take a backseat, that is why I accepted when I was told to be a part of this press conference by GLOMIP.
“I am one of those who fought for independence. I suffered incarceration, and apart from being a member of NCNC, I was a member of the Zikist movement, the radical wing of the party. I have been in prison many times because of the independence of Nigeria and my first imprisonment was at the age of 21.
“There is a need to come together and renegotiate the basis of our unity for equity sake. This part of the country (South east) has been marginalized for too long. Only renegotiation will quell the agitations by some people in the country.”
Going back memory lane, the nationalist said, “We the Zikist Movement always went in and out of prison those days, and I remember that each time someone came out of prison, we organized a reception for him and in the midst of that, we always gave out white caps to them with the inscription – PG, meaning, Prison Graduate, and we always wore it with pride to public places, even in motorparks.
“I remember that we fought this fight without any ulterior motive. It was after independence that someone recommended me for minister, saying that I suffered too much in the struggle. That was how I became the youngest minister of the first republic.
“In 1966, the military struck, and from one military head to another for 38 years, and Nigeria became a stinking cesspool of corruption. There is need to salvage the country and we pray whoever can salvage her, let God throw him up in 2023.”
Leader GLOMIP, Mr Kennedy Iyere who addressed journalists said the solution Nigeria is looking for is with the Igbos, and that someone from the zone needs to be given the chance to fix the country.
“Nigeria deserves a better country than what we have today, and we know that. The reason for the formation of this group is to drive the Igbo Presidency, and we know that our Daddy (Amaechi) will be alive to see it happen in 2023.”
Also speaking, former minister of women’s affairs, Mrs Josephine Anenih said that the group is not only asking for an Igbo man to be president, but that the Igbo man must come from the South east zone.
“That president must not only come from Igbo land, but he must come from the South east. That zone that has been long denied everything good, that zone that has been decimated and neglected, that is where the president must come from.
“That is why each time I hear people say Igbo president, I try to correct them that it is not just Igbo president, but Igbo president of South east extraction for Nigeria. That president will not be a president for Igbo people only or for people of the South east, but an Igbo man, who is from the South east to become president for Nigeria,” she stated.