Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma has advocated the use of tact, diplomacy and negotiation in the bid by Ndigbo to produce the next president.
He warned that beating drums of war will not serve the purpose.
The governor urged Ndigbo to do away with confrontation and threat of war against the rest of the country to be taken seriously.
Uzodimma spoke in Owerri on Monday when Imo leaders presented Prof George Obiozor to him as their consensus candidate for the post of Ohanaeze Ndigbo president-general.
He said the rest of the country was being scared by the cacophony of agitations by Ndigbo, such as the demand for the state of Biafra, restructuring and president.
Uzodinma recalled that in the first and second republics when negotiation and tact were the weapons of Igbos, they had access to political power and its consequential influence.
He argued that although the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe was a ceremonial President, his position gave Igbos access to leadership in the military, bureaucracy and commerce.
According to him, a similar situation played out in the second republic when an Igbo was the Vice President.
The governor advised Igbos to think back and find out at what point they missed the track on the alliances that gave them relevance in the political arena.
He urged Ndigbo to change strategy by jettisoning threats and confrontation but to embrace dialogue, negotiation and diplomacy to convince the rest of the country to cede the presidency to them in 2023.
Uzodimma, however, expressed happiness that a man of integrity and intellect in the person of Prof Obiozor was being supported through consensus to lead Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
The governor noted the choice of the erudite diplomat was a signal that the socio-cultural organisation was reinvigorating itself for the challenges ahead.
“I am happy with the choice of Prof George Obiozor because he knows the history of the first and second republics and he is living with the present challenges of Ndigbo.
“So, he will draw from history and combine it with the future and move Ndigbo forward,” he said.
He insisted that Igbo no longer needed a combative leadership but one versed in the delicate art of diplomacy like Prof Obiozor.
Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, who led other Igbo leaders to present Prof Obiozor, apologised to the governor for not consulting him before meeting to choose a consensus candidate for Ohanaeze.
While commending the people of Imo for the peaceful manner they chose the consensus candidate for the post zoned to them, he urged Ndigbo to close ranks and work together for the benefit of the race and Nigeria.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo President-General, Chief John Nwodo, in a statement on Monday, said his successor will be elected.
He said: “Ohanaeze Ndigbo has the responsibility of organising election for those who indicate interest and buy forms.
“Moreover, the decision at the meeting (where Obiozor was endorsed) will not stop Ohanaeze from conducting the election.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide is committed to the inviolate tradition of conducting a free, fair and transparent election to usher in its successors in January 2021.”
Source: The Nations