In 1998, the Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohaneze Ndigbo restructured, 12 months after the structure became the platform to campaign for Igbo Presidency.
In 2004, the socio-cultural organization restructured, even though the general elections came up in 2007, and Nigerians were of the opinion that the Presidency of Nigeria was for all Nigerians. Their argument was hinged on the fact that no section of the country was excluded from aspiring to become the number one citizen.
Indeed, there has never been and there is still not any constitutional law that stated that a particular tribe cannot vie for the position of President.
Interestingly, Ohaneze is a South East Geo-Political zone based organization, which seeks to project the image of the Igbos and the rest of Nigeria in general.
Although at a particular point in time, the organization was accused of been elitist, its objective according to a cross section of members is to ensure that the ordinary man in the street is a member.
The members argue that anybody who is Igbo or of Igbo extraction, within Igboland or in diaspora, should be considered as a member of Ohaneze. Such individuals, according to them can attend meetings without a third party making introduction.
”You can come to Ohaneze meeting without anybody introducing you. If there is need to introduce yourself, you get up and tell them who you are”, they stated.
In an interview session with a Lagos based news magazine in 2004, the then President of the Anambra chapter of Ohaneze, Dozie Ikedife, insisted that restructuring was on course, irrespective of any presidential election.
”If it happens that no Igbo man is installed as President this time around, Ohaneze will still play its role to ensure that a President is installed in this country and that things move peacefully with a sense of equity, fair play, justice and enhancement of the sense of belonging for all”, Ikedife had declared.
Since no tribe or ethnic group has been excluded from Nigeria, the debate about who occupys the number one seat in 2019 and other election dates, should be for all and sundry. Perhaps.