Senator representing Imo West and Presidential aspirant in the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Owelle Rochas Okorocha has fired back at Lagos-based cleric, Pastor Tunde Bakare for declaring that the Igbos cannot rule Nigeria for now, because they are under a curse.
Rather than liabilities, Okorocha said the Igbos are an asset to Nigeria and that they are not the problem of the country.
Okorocha spoke on Tuesday at his Unity House Campaign office in Abuja when he received in the audience the National Youth Leader of the APC, Mr Dayo Israel.
In a video that has now gone viral, Pastor Bakare General Overseer of Citadel Global Community Church, formerly known as Latter Rain Assembly said: “Why should anyone in this country say the Igbo man cannot be president of Nigeria? I was at Imo State and I told them the reason why the Igbo cannot rule Nigeria and I want to remove the curse today. Do you know what happened? The day Tafawa Balewa was killed, they removed his turban, poured wine on his head, forced him to drink and shot him. In the process, he cursed them saying, ‘none of your tribe will ever rule Nigeria.
“I want to break the curse today because this generation of Igbos was not part of those people. By the authority of God’s word, I reverse the curse of Tafawa Balewa over the Igbo generation. Henceforth, the Igbo’s will have access to the throne-like any other Nigerian”.
However, Okorocha in his reaction said; “When I listened to Bakare mention that the Igbos are cursed in the cause of his preaching, I think that is an overstatement and unwarranted preaching. I must state here categorically that Igbos are not cursed and they will never be cursed.
“They are peaceful and blessed Nigerians who are found in every nook and cranny of this country. They may not be good politicians, because of the kind of politics we play in Nigeria, but definitely, they are not cursed. Igbos are a great asset to this country. They are not the problem”.
“What is fair is fair and what is just is just. What surprises me at this material time when we are building bridges of peace and frontiers of brotherhood in this country is that I still see people struggling to make posters to run for president at this crucial moment when we are trying to maintain peace and give everybody a sense of belonging.
“While our party has technically zoned the presidency to the South, I think there is a need for micro-zoning within the South and it will be proper for our brothers dorm the Southwest and South-South will see reason just as we did during the days of Olu Falae and Obasanjo to do the same this time. It is not because I am running for election but for the sake of equity and fairness. Maybe in the next dispensation, we can throw it open for everybody but for now if the Southeast is not carried along.
“Our greatest challenge as a nation is how to make the best use of our assets, the youth, but unfortunately, we have not been able to do that. The recent attack on a train going to Kaduna and several other attacks since then are because the youths have channelled their energies wrongly and tomorrow if some of them are arrested, I assure you they will be between 15 and 35 years old. You can never see a 70-year-old man going into a robbery. This is why for us in the New Nigeria Project, the youths are our focal point because the country cannot move forward without them.
“I think the youths of Nigeria have been very patient with the entire nation and I think the situation has pushed them to the wall. What we are seeing is the reaction of people who have been deprived of the basic amenities of life. But again, the youths must also realize that they must have a country before they can aspire to anything. If you destroy Nigeria”, he added.
Earlier, the youth leader had asked Okorocha to intervene in the security situation in the South-east.
“Currently, there is a lot of restiveness in the region and that restiveness is being championed by young people. My generation is at the heart of Monday sit at home and all of the experiences that we have seen in South-East Nigeria and as one of the leaders from that region, you have the responsibility to be able to do more on behalf of our party to get the young people of that region to embrace peace and to see the good vision that the APC has to offer, even as we move forward”, he requested.