Why South-Easterners Are Their Own Worst Enemies — Aminu Wali

Ambassador Aminu Wali, Nigeria’s former Foreign Affairs Minister, has stated that the Igbos in South-East are “their own worst enemies”.

In an interview with The Sun, the former minister stated that they are not united when it comes to politics in Nigeria.

He said: “South Easterners are their own worst enemies. And maybe, you will ask me why I said so.

“Well like I said, back in 1999, I was among the founding fathers of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP). It is very well known within the PDP that I have always been a strong promoter of Dr. Alex Ekwueme to the last. I know what happened when we went to Jos for the party’s convention. Why I said that the South easterners are their worst enemies is that at that convention, only Anambra State, which is his own state, voted for Dr Alex Ekwueme. Most of the votes that he got he got them from some of us that were able to get other parts of the country to support him. His own people betrayed him. I don’t want to call names because I know that they know that I know. But for that action of the Igbo people themselves, Igbo Presidency would have been a forgotten issue by now. We won’t be dwelling on this by now. But somehow it happened.

“Also up till now, when you look at the way the Igbo people are approaching politics in Nigeria, they don’t come out as a united people. They are always divided. Now, (Gov Dave) Umahi says I am leaving because we want the Igbo Presidency, but I tell you that inside the Igbo enclave, there are those people that are aspiring very hard for the position of the Vice President. You have to have a united front and reach out beyond the Igbo enclave to get the Presidency.

“We really don’t want an Igbo President. What we want is a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction. We don’t want Igbo President. For example, under Shagari, he was a Fulani man from Sokoto, but he was a Nigerian President. Those that worked with him knew he was a Nigerian President and not Hausa- Fulani President. So the approach the Igbo should take is to try and produce a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction, a candidate that is acceptable to everybody that feels that Nigeria is his constituency. That is what Ekwueme was able to do…to get out of that enclave and become a nationalist. That was what Dr Azikiwe was able to do. He came out of that enclave and became a nationalist.

“The present generation of Igbo has to go back to history and learn from history. And there are a lot of good materials from Igbo land that believe in Nigeria. They are there, but they may not be strong enough politically and financially to be of reckoning. But the people would have to give up their ambitions and look for the best candidate that would be a true Nigerian President- Not Igbo President, not Yoruba President, not Hausa President. We need a Nigerian President.”

Asked if he is saying that they should produce a Nigerian President, Wali said;

“Yes! That is the whole point. They should get us a Nigerian President. Ekwueme was generally accepted. Wasn’t he? He served Shagari and he learned the trade from there. A Nigerian patriot. And there are a lot of them that are truly Nigerian patriots, there are lots of them in Igbo land.”