Ogbonnaya Onu, ANPP Chairman
The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) National Chairman, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, has advised Igbo politicians to dump the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and consider other parties of national reach and structure in their quest to have an Igbo President come 2015.
Onu made this call while delivering a speech titled, ‘The Igbo: The Path to Nigeria’s Presidency In 2015’, at the Igbo Leadership Forum of the World Igbo Congress Convention on Monday at Orlando, in Florida, United States.
The ANPP chairman said the Igbos must not fail to realise that the Nigerian constitution makes no provision for independent candidates, and therefore they need a political platform to make their political aspiration come to reality.
‘‘Anyone who wants to run for an elective office, whether as a councillor in a local government or as the President of the country, must be sponsored by a political party. Hence the first important step in running for election is to contest and win the primaries of a political party and become its candidate,’’ he explained.
He asserted that this fact is often overlooked by many people and by the time the reality dawns on them, it becomes too late to effect any change.
‘‘It is remarkable that of all the major ethnic groups in our dear country, the Igbos are the only ones who are indigenous only in our country. There is no other country in the world where Igbos are an indigenous people. Today, propelled by the indomitable spirit of adventure and entrepreneurship, the Igbos are found in every part of our dear country and in virtually every country of the world.
‘‘For the Igbos to do well in politics, they should not put their eggs in one basket. What we have today is that most of the Igbo elite are in the ruling party. They believe that the ruling party is where the action is. This has its advantages. It certainly has many disadvantages.
‘‘It is very important to always consider what happens in such a case if, for one reason or the other, the ruling party is unable to make available its platform. In that case every effort made, then comes to nothing. Should this be allowed to be so? No.
‘‘The Igbos in politics should look beyond the ruling party. We should study the political terrain very carefully and take decisions which are in our own very best interest. We should always remember what our ancestors taught us, that when answering the call of nature, we should go with two pieces of sticks. If one falls by the wayside unnoticed, the other can still be relied upon to perform its duty when the need arises.
According to Onu who once aspired for the Presidency under the All Peoples Party (APP) now ANPP, Igbos need an alternative political party that has a national reach and is not perceived by the general public as a regionally based party.
He said ANPP is that political party which the Igbos should embrace so that they can always make a viable choice.
“The Igbos need to diversify, as an insurance against the unknown and the unseen.’’
The ANPP chairman said that his political party has achieved the status of a party with well-spread out representation in government from different regions of the country, though it has lost its position as the second biggest party in Nigeria, which is now occupied by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).