Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Nigerians of Igbo extraction, have vowed not to back down on their aspiration to produce the next president.
They said this will go a long way in giving the people of South East region a sense of belonging and hope in the unity of the country.
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Ohanaeze youths said this while reacting to statements by some Nigerians who said it was late for Igbos to clamour for a presidential slot in 2023.
In a statement on Friday, the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Wing, Mazi Chika Art Adiele, said the 1999 constitution guarantees every citizen the right the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion as well as the right to freedom from discrimination on grounds, inter alia, of religion.
He explained that though the civil war of 1967 to 1970 reduced the population of Igbos due to its devastating effects on the region, it does not mean that the people should be denied of their legitimate agitation.
He said: “We read an interview, where one Yerima, lampooned Ndigbo for laying claim to Nigeria’s president of Igbo extraction, that our quest to vie for president of Nigeria is late.
“Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious state. The two major religions in the country are Islam and Christianity. Adherents of these two major religions take divergent positions on the question of the secularity of the Nigerian state.
“While most Christians argue for separation of the Nigerian state from religion, most Muslims advocate the fusion of religion, the state and the law.
“The 1999 Constitution did not expressly proclaim Nigeria to be a secular state. However, it prohibits both states and the Federal Government from adopting any religion as state religion; and guarantees to every person the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion as well as the right to freedom from discrimination on grounds, inter alia, of religion.
“It is heartwarming, that Igbo people survived a civil war that raged between 1967 and 1970 and that devastated their land and reduced their population because of more than three million deaths, and yet the Nigeria has shown no remorse towards these atrocities. Our communal spirit, which saw us through the civil war, have continued to cement our survival in the post-war era.
“Nigeria as a country that prides itself as the bastion of democracy in Africa region, must adhere to the principle of federal Character and exhibit high sense of empathy amongst various ethnic groups.
“Let it be known to the world that Ndigbo will never back down for our legitimate aspirations of taken a shot at the presidency. It is not negotiable.”