The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, on Saturday stated that a phone call saved him from boarding the ill-fated Abuja-Kaduna train that was attacked by bandits on Monday.
The attack left some of the passengers dead, others injured and the assailants abducting some of the stranded passengers.
Speaking when Igbo leaders under the aegis of Ahamefuna Socio-cultural organisation converged in Enugu, Igwe Achebe said he did not board the train because of a phone call inviting him for an emergency.
He said, “I was among the passengers meant to be on the train last Monday because I had a meeting I was supposed to be attending. I was already at the train station when I got a call over an emergency and I had to leave the station to attend to it”.
The monarch decried the increasing insecurity situation in the country.
The event, tagged “The need for Nigerian Presidency from Southeast Nigeria come 2023”, featured Southeast leaders and elder statesman, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu; Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo and Chief Achike Udenwa, former governors of Enugu and Imo States; former ministers, senators, clerics, traditional rulers, women leaders and youth leaders.
They charged Southeast politicians to stand firm in demanding that their political parties zoned 2023 presidential tickets to the region.
In a resolution read by the former chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, the leaders said a Nigerian president of Southeast extraction will end agitations for a separate republic.
The leaders also said a Nigerian president of Southeast extraction will usher in unity, peace and progress in the country.
They asked all the political parties, especially the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party, to zone their presidential tickets to the Southeast, in demonstration of equity and fairness, adding that without that, efforts at nation-building would be futile.
The resolution reads: “A president from the Southeast will usher in unity, peace and progress in Nigeria. A president from the Southeast will guarantee the cessation of agitation by youths for a break-up of the Nigerian state.
“That our case is sufficiently self-evident and persuasive to jolt the conscience of the Nation to do justice to our people.
“That citizens of the Southeast, across all parties, must work in unity to achieve the objective of Southeast Presidency in 2023.
“That political leaders of the Southeast should not, under any circumstances, compromise the determination of the Southeast to get the Presidency of Nigeria in 2023.
“That the people of the Southeast shall view with sternness, any Southeasterner who works against this resolve.”
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They noted that the Southeast had supported other zones to produce the president of Nigeria and, in fairness, other zones should reciprocate by supporting the region in 2023 to produce the president.