A socio-political group, Igbo Vision in APC, says the only way forward for Igbos in Lagos state is to unite and support the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari and Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode in 2019.
The group made the declaration on Wednesday at its meeting in Lagos, organised to endorse President Buhari and Gov. Ambode for re-election in 2019 general elections.
Speaking at the event, Mr Joe Igbokwe, Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said that various Igbo groups in the state must unite in the interest of Igbos in Lagos.
“It is not about money, it is about our interest that we are fighting for. We should unite and showcase our strength. Based on our strength, we will be recognised.
“We need to make a statement with our votes. Gov. Ambode wants Igbos in one form, we must harmonise everybody.
“We need to have a single forum that will bear APC, either Igbo in APC or Ndigbo in APC that will accommodate everybody.
“We need to work with other Igbo groups and persons to get the strength we need to negotiate and change the equation.
“Igbo nation should know that if we need to be relevant in Nigeria politically, we need to join APC for us to have a President of Nigeria from Igbo extraction in shortest distance.
“We should queue behind Buhari in 2019,” he said.
He urged Igbos to play the politics by bringing everyone together across the country and stop hate speech and bigotry.
The publicity secretary quoted Buhari as saying that,“there is no reason why Igbo should not produce President in 2023” and admonished all Igbos to “play reasonable politics.“
Igbokwe, who also admonished Igbos in Lagos not to approach 2019 general elections with a divided house, recalled that the Igbos were polarised during 2015 general elections.
He said that the division in the house affected the group in the scheme of things in Lagos APC.
According to him, the leadership of APC in the state, after 2015 election results, thought every Igbo man voted for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), hence the distrust for Igbos thereafter.
Igbokwe commended the Executives of Igbos across all local government areas in Lagos state for standing behind the party in spite of the hard times the group went through after 2015 elections.
According to him, though there is no serious opposition in Lagos like it happened in 2015, the Igbos should not repeat the mistake they made in 2015 elections by voting against Ambode.
He reminded the Igbos in the state that “things have changed.“
“In Lagos, we need to showcase our strength by bringing everybody on board. The fight for supremacy is over.
“We are looking beyond peanuts, but on things that will help us and our children. Our votes must be noticed in numbers, we have a lot of work to do to be recognised.
” The number of Ndigbos in Lagos can no longer be ignored. We need to organise ourselves. “We don’t have any other place go than to remain in APC.
“We must play the politics. We need to be on the same page. We should not be spectators, it is a game of number, we have to go out and fight for votes.”
Also speaking, Chief Uche Dimgba, the Eze Ndigbo, Ikeja, said that there was need to sensitise Igbos on the need to unify and mobilise for Buhari and Ambode, to actualise the vision and aspirations of Igbos.
Dimgba, who said that the group still believed in APC, added that no effort would be spared to bring all aggrieved together to support Buhari and Ambode.
Mr Leo Obasi, the Organising Secretary of the group, said that there was a need for stronger Igbo organisations in Lagos APC for the benefits of Ndigbos.
Obasi, who noted that the Igbo leadership in Lagos were divided, urged them to consider the future of the Sout-East people in the state in all they did.
The meeting brought together Igbo leaders across the 20 local government areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state.