A SPEECH DELIVERED BY DR. OGBONNAYA ONU TO THE LEADERS OF THE APC IN THE SOUTH EAST, ON APRIL 2, 2015, AT THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTER, OWERRI, IMO STATE, NIGERIA.

PROTOCOL:

I feel very happy to stand on the sacred soil of the ancient city of Owerri to speak to you at this critical moment in the history of our dear country. There is no reason why the people of the South East should not embrace the All Progressives Congress (APC). There is no reason why the people of the South East should not take the APC as their own. One day when the story is told, it will be known by all that the effort that finally led to the registration of the APC was initiated by someone from the South East. It is important to know that the result announced by INEC is not a true reflection of the level of support the people of the South East have for the APC. The Card Reader was prevented from functioning, result sheets were not provided in the polling centers, security agents were wrongly deployed to come to polling centers to forcefully collect election materials to criminally enable election results to be written in private homes. If the gallant members of the APC in the South East had given to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 presidential election the same number of votes they gave in 2011, APC would not have had the victory that is rightly ours. Also the support of the people of the South East resident in the 19 Northern States and the FCT is clearly shown in the election results announced by the INEC.

It is widely acknowledged that the Igbos are very creative, hardworking, patriotic, progressive and peace loving Nigerians who are found in all parts of Nigeria and in deed in all parts of the world. Where ever an Igbo goes to, he or she will make that place his or her home, learn the language, embrace the culture and traditions of the people, raise a family and build a home. All over Nigeria, outside the South East, Igbos are second in population to the indigenous people. It is very remarkable that the Igbos are the only major ethnic group in Nigeria that is not found as an indigenous population in any other country in the world. Hence Nigeria is the only country we know. The creativity, innovativeness and the entrepreneurial spirit of the Igbos give them a pride of place as an industrious people, who can make very significant contributions to the development of the nation by creating jobs and exploiting opportunities for the common good.

With the emergence of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on July 31, 2013, the way politics is played has changed considerably. Just yesterday a new President-Elect was declared following the recent presidential election. History was made in Nigeria. For the first time in our history, political power will be transferred from one political party to another. Before then, what we had done in the past was transition from military to civilian as well as a transition from one civilian to another. Nigeria is now moving in a new direction. The people of the South East should not and must not be left behind. For too long in the past, the people of the South East put all their political eggs in one basket. They were taken for granted. The things that were of great importance to them were left undone. They gave their very best to the ruling PDP but got little or nothing to show for it. Their best interest was never served. Hence the time for change has come. The people of the South East should embrace, support and make APC the number one Party in the zone.

When former Heads of Government and Presidents meet in Nigeria, that group is a powerful one, with a very powerful voice. General Yakubu Gowon, President Olusegun Obasanjo, President Shehu Shagari, President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, General Abdulsalami Abubakar and President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan will be in attendance. It is interesting that when these distinguished Nigerians meet, not one of them is from South East Nigeria. The people of the South East should therefore think deeply and reflect on this rather unsettling development.

The people of the South East need Nigeria just as Nigeria needs them. We must love our country Nigeria because that is not only the home we know, but also, the nation that we have. As a people who travel widely and make home in wherever we live, we should be in the mainstream of Nigerian politics. Our political home should be the APC. The APC has opened its doors wide for all those who want to come in. our arms are spread out widely to embrace you.

In the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections, which took place on March 28, 2015, the people of the South East who are members of the APC were not treated fairly. We were intimidated, harassed and humiliated by the fragrant abuse of power. The laws of the land were ignored and set aside as election results were written in private homes. Those who were rejected by the people were then declared winners, while those who received the votes of the people were unfortunately declared as losers. What an irony! Where is the justice? Where is the fairness? Can a great nation ever be built on the wrong foundation of unfairness and injustice? No! This is why APC was born to correct all these.

Today we have a President-Elect who by the Grace of God, on May 29, 2015, will take over the governance of Nigeria. The people of the South East should give him support as he works with his team to build a nation bound in freedom, peace and unity. A nation that is free from subjugation, discrimination and persecution. A nation of laws in which no man, no woman is above the law. A nation of love and compassion, in which everyone will be his brother’s keeper.

The time has come for us to work together to heal the wounds of the past and strengthen the bonds of unity that hold Nigeria together, as one nation under God. The people of the South East will work with the administration of General Buhari when he is sworn in as President to defeat impunity in governance, arrogance of power, indiscipline and disorder in our country. The people of the South East, as the most mobile ethnic group in Nigeria, should embrace the APC, so as to secure their lives and property, guarantee peace and prosperity for themselves and promote progress in their communities. We should congratulate the President-Elect and assure him of the support of the people of the South East, in the journey to build a nation where no one will be oppressed.

Thank you so much and God bless Nigeria.

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