A convocation lecture at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, entitled, ‘The Igbo in the Politics of Nigeria’, given by Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, provoked reactions on Wednesday.
Nnia Nwodo, President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, faulted some of Amaechi’s claims and sparked angry reaction from the minister.
Amaechi, in his lecture, had urged the Igbos to stop recriminating but fall in line and support President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said the dominant political party in the state, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), was a regional party that would not fetch the presidency for the Igbos.
He noted that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was not dominant in any part of the country and could be described as a regional party.
He reminded the jam-packed audience that foremost Igbo politician, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, had always canvassed a national party.
Amaechi urged the Igbo to fight to assert their Nigerianness and go to the centre because no part of the country could stand alone without others.
He further argued that the Igbos should not continue to lament the civil war because that would draw them backward.
Amaechi began by saying that nobody should deny him his Igboness and called on Igbo people to stretch their handshake across the Niger if they wished to produce the president of the country.
The second advice he gave was for Igbos to vote for Buhari in the next election so that he could serve out his eight-year tenure.
He warned that if they failed to re-elect Buhari and another person emerged as president, they would continue to shout marginalization.
He faulted the Igbo for agitating for restructuring of the country and wondered why they did not do that during President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
He slammed the Igbos over their separatist agitations.
At question time, Nwodo reminded Amaechi that after the civil war his people rejected their Igboness and renamed towns, streets, and their personal names.
Besides, Nwodo alleged that Rivers and Lagos had retained discriminatory laws against Igbo people in their statute books.
He wondered what manner of federation Nigeria was when the constitution was never written by Nigerians.
According to Nwodo, the Nigerian constitution was written by a group of military officers as a war booty.
“I have never seen a federalism where the security apparatus is domiciled in one part of the country just because they are from a certain area of the country.
“Unless our constitution is reviewed, we will be living under military hegemony,” Nwodo said.