Ethnic Minorities Warn, We Will Not Play Second Fiddle
ABUJA, August 05, (THEWILL) – A former federal commissioner, Chief Edwin Clark and a former Senate President, Senator Ameh Ebute today fired a political warning ahead of 2011 general elections, and declared that never again will minorities play second class citizens in the leadership of Nigeria.
The minorities, which massed under the Congress for Equality and Change (CEC) also demanded that minority ethnic groups in the country should assert their inalienable rights to the political leadership of the country after following and supporting the majority groups for the past 50 years.
The duo of Clark and Ebute spoke at the formal inauguration of the group in Abuja. Ebute, who is the Chairman of the Congress, lamented what he called the ‘unacceptable fact’ that for 50 years of existence of this country, political leadership has been exclusively held by a few power blocks.
"The Congress observes with disappointment and unacceptability the fact that for the 50 years of existence of this country, political leadership has been advertently or inadvertently believed or claimed to be exclusive preserve of a few power blocks to the exclusion of the others whose political activists are deemed or coerced into automatic followers and willing supporters ad-infinitum".
The former Senate President however pointed out that since human beings are born equal, the minority groups of the North-Central, North-East and South-South zones of the country "have decided to turn around and assert our inalienable rights to the political leadership of this country as other privileged Nigerians".
He appealed to all Nigerians "who believe in equalitarianism and change" to join the association "in educating, mobilizing and consolidating the political activities of the people in fulfillment of God’s given doctrines of natural justice, equality and good conscience which are embedded in equality and change".
According to him, Jonathan’s emergence as President of the country was a divine recognition and acceptance of the doctrines of equality and change.
He therefore expressed the association’s support for Jonathan’s presidency and urged him to embrace "the God given opportunity" to run in the 2011 presidential elections on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
However, Clark, who is the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the association, restated his belief that no ethnic group in this country is superior to the other, saying the fact that some ethnic groups are minorities does not make them inferior.
Clark who turned 83 years this year, while describing the inauguration of CEC as "the realization of a dream" said with the inauguration he had achieved one of the things he had been yearning to achieve in his lifetime.
On zoning, he said although it is desirable for the purpose of ensuring justice and fair play in the sharing of political posts, it cannot be applied in isolation of history.
"The zone that has had its fair share or that had historically dominated the political leadership of the country cannot justifiably insist on zoning so as to deny the zone that has never had even one turn in 50 years".
He recalled that in 1979 the minority ethnic groups of the South-South and North-Central were mainly responsible for the election of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, adding that they were however forgotten when offices were being shared.
He said the minority groups are not against anybody, explaining that "What we are saying is that we are part of this country with equal rights to enjoy what the country has to offer its citizens", adding, "whether you are Tiv, Yoruba, Igbo, Ijaw, Hausa or Fulani, we are all Nigerians with equal opportunities".