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Nigeria Masterweb News Report

    Ojukwu Confirmed Presidential Nominee of APGA

    (Saturday, January 11, 2003)

    Chief Charles O. Okereke, Nigeria/Africa Masterweb

    Chief Chukwuemka Odumegwu Ojukwu on Friday was confirmed the presidential candidate of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in April elections, at a special convention of the party in Abuja. The Abuja convention was just a formality to ratify Ojukwu's earlier nomination as the party's consensus presidential candidate. The National Chairman of the party, Chief Chekwas Okorie, presenting him to party chieftains, said Ojukwu was a perfect nationalist and visionary leader that the country needed at the present time. He noted that Chief Ojukwu was a man ordained by the Almighty to ensure genuine reconciliation and re-integration of all parts of the country, through genuine dialogue. He described him as one "born with silver spoon, but abandoned it to be with the poor and the oppressed."

    Chief Ojukwu, while addressing thousands of party supporters after his confirmation made the following statements, "I have come more as a healer, somebody who has a duty to place this country on the right path, and not as a fighter or a warrior you have perceived me to be some years ago." "We shall look again into our system, our structure and give Nigeria a chance to move forward," he continued. He named Sani Ibrahim Bayero, a brother of the Emir of Kano, his running-mate and pledged to convene a sovereign national conference to enable Nigerians discuss the future of the country if he becomes president. The Oxford-educated orator at 69 has lost little of the fire power and charisma characteristic of his young days, firstly rising rapidly in the Nigerian army hierarchy and finally leading the aborted Biafran secession bid. The former Biafran leader still speaks eloquently at almost 70.

    Emeka(short form of his first name) Ojukwu was born in Zungeru, northern Nigeria in 1933. He attended the best schools in the country before his millionaire father Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu sent him to England for further studies. Ojukwu graduated from University of Oxford and returned to Nigeria and served in the colonial government as an administrator. He left the foreign colonial civil service in 1957 and joined the army. Ojukwu rose rapidly in the army. He was a major at 28, and two years later a lieutenant-colonel, and became governor of eastern Nigeria after the country's first military coup in 1966.

    Political analysts predict the nominations of Generals Obasanjo, Buhari, and Ojukwu to rekindle Nigeria's historic regional and ethnic rivalries at the heart of the Nigerian civil war. Generals Olusegun Obasanjo, yoruba, from the SW and Muhammadu Buhari, hausa, from the North, were nominated as the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) respectively earlier this week. General Emeka Ojukwu, igbo, from the SE contesting under All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) completes the 2003 Nigerian ex-general presidential flag bearers ethnic manifesto. The three tribes Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo, from where these retired generals are from, are the three biggest tribes out of 250 in the country. Nigeria is a country riddled with ethnic rivalry and religious intolerance. Local analysts blame the country's volatility on selfish politicians who use differences in language and religion to acquire or cling to power.

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