Nollywood veteran, Kanayo O. Kanayo has said Nigeria would start progressing as a country the day a person of Igbo ethnic extraction becomes the president.

He said the “Igbophobia” which has made some sections of the country blacklist the Igbos from the presidency was only a figment of imagination.

The movie star spoke on what being an Igbo and a Nigerian means to him on the latest episode of ‘The Honest Bunch’ podcast.

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According to Kanayo, “Being an Igbo means that I come from a side of the country that speaks a dialect just like the Hausas, Fulani, and others.

“It also means to me that I’m a special person created that everything I touch prospers. When we [Igbos] are called the Jews of this part of the world, it means a lot. And to whom much is given, much is expected. A tree by the road is the one that receives the knife cut.

“We’re in the market place always and we dance beautiful dances. That’s who the Igbos are. So we become the envy of other people.

“An Igbo man starts his business with kiosk today, give him the next one year, he turns it to a shop. From a kiosk to a shop.

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“It’s here. Spit into our hands by a force we call Chukwu Abiama. You can’t take it away. So we would continue to be the envy of other people.

“I remember during the elections last year, some people said the Igbos want to take over Lagos. How can we take over Lagos? For what when we have an ancestral home we come from?

“But then most of us don’t want to go back. And it’s only in Nigeria that it happens. A New Yorker is a New Yorker regardless of where they come from.

“So if we abolish state of origin in Nigeria, we will be better as a country. What has it got to do with state of origin when you’re employing somebody? It’s the IQ we’re looking for.

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“So being Igbo has become an endangered specie. Because I’m now judged by where I come from, not by what I have to offer.

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“The content is what should be looked at. So in the larger entity called Nigeria, there has been a division, nepotism orchestrated by many people for political, economic and religious purposes.

“Being Igbo and being a Nigerian to me, is like running at opposite courses. It looks like the [civil] war never ended.

“For instance, Prof Yusuf formerly of the NHIS granted an interview I watched on Arise TV a few months ago.

“He said, ‘these our Igbo brothers, why are they not talking? Why are they not joining the protest?’ And I replied him the next day, I said, ‘Prof, during the elections, you said we didn’t have the capacity to be president, so we don’t have the capacity to protest.

“You said we can’t be trusted with power.’ I mean, these are statements that are on papers so I’m not saying it out of context.

“When other Nigerians were protesting from region to region, I said, ‘Igbos, you are targets o!’ Igbos are the only people who come to every community in Nigeria and build houses.

“We are the only people. Give it to us because we call every place we come home. We are not looking for an Igbo president. We are looking for a president of Igbo extraction who will give Nigeria with what he has and what God has given him.

“The fear of the Igbo man that ‘in 1967, Ojukwu declared a succession, if you give them that opportunity again they will secede,’ is only imaginary.

“Like I said, we are the only people who own properties even in the remotest areas in Nigeria. So that fear is induced.

“The day you give an Igbo man the presidency of this country, that is the day Nigeria will discover why it is Nigeria. Economically, people would begin to say Hallelujah.”