Pete Edochie, a veteran actor, has raised concern over the political marginalization of the Igbo people, emphasizing that only a president from the South East can provide strategic leadership that can restructure Nigeria.
During an interview on a BBC Igbo programme, the Anambra-born film star bemoaned the fact that Nigeria has only had one Igbo head of state in the sixty years since independence.
“Igbo people are Nigerians. In 1956 when Queen Elizabeth came, it was the vehicle of an Igbo man Odumegwu Ojukwu that was used to convey her, since he was one of the richest black man at the time.
“He never asked to be paid. Successful Nigerians in those early times were people of Igbo extraction: Power Mike in boxing, Chinua Achebe in literature. Even Ben Enwonwu, the Nigerian who painted the queen at the time, is Igbo.
“I myself as a successful actor am an Igbo man. Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba are the major ethnic groups in Nigeria. Only once in the history of Nigeria has it emerged that an Igbo person became the head of state in Nigeria.
“That was Aguiyi Ironsi during the military government and his headship was short-lived. Since then, the north and the Yoruba have been sharing power between themselves, apart from Goodluck Jonathan who isn’t even Igbo.”