Cover Politics

2023: Pressure mounts on APC, PDP to zone presidency to South East

…As Northern elders appeal to other zones to support South East.

By Ezeocha Nzeh

The clamour for a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction in 2023 has continued to gather momentum as the two Major political parties, the ruling All {Progressives Congress (APC) and opposition Peoples democratic Party (PDP) to pick their presidential candidates for the 2023 general elections from the South east zone

A coalition of Northern elders, who made the call at the weekend, expressed their support for equity and justice in the zoning of the office of presidency, while insisting that Nigeria’s 2023 presidency should rotate to the South East zone and not to any other.

Their elders explained that their position was taken because there is need for all component parts of the country to be fairly and equitably treated in the nation’s political affairs.

The northern elders argued that Ndigbo have been marginalized in the scheme of things in the country, and appealed to both the ruling All Progressives Congress,APC and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party,PDP to field candidates of South East extraction, just as they appealed to all other zones in the country to back the Igbo in their long quest to produce a president even with a vow to canvass their position to all stakeholders in the Nigerian political projects with a view to achieving Igbo presidency.

The Coalition group, under the aegis of Northern Elders for Peace and Development, in a statement by its coordinator, Zana Goni and the National Women Leader, Hajia Mario Bichi, insisted that the Igbo of South East should produce next president to maintain the culture of rotational presidency between the North and South, which they said has “helped to douse the political tension in Nigeria.

They argued further that since President Buhari is from the North, “the right thing would be that the next president should come from Southern Nigeria, and since South West and South South have occupied the office in the current dispensation, the South East is next in line in the spirit of the rotation principle, fairness, equity and justice.”

“This will bring an end to the manifest marginalisation of the South East. This will foster national unity, and also bring to a close the bitterness of the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, which has lingered for 50 years since the end of hostilities and engender unity,” it added.

“If all the major geopolitical zones in the country, and especially the major ethnic groups in the country have all been presidents, and in all fairness, justice and equity, we should be looking at the South East to produce the president.

“There is no denying the fact that the Igbo have contributed greatly to the development of this country. It is time for us all to reciprocate their good gestures through mass support for the next president to emerge from the South East.

“At a time that our national unity is so threatened, we believe that a detribalised tribe holding the presidency at this time is the surest way of restoring Nigeria’s unity. The Igbo, 50 years after the war, have been so marginalised. To heal that wound and to put that war behind us, we think if the country reaches out to them by supporting them produce the 2023 presidency, it will be the masterstroke to heal the wounds. And finally, if that wound is not healed and is made deeper, it can only promote tribal groups,” the Northern elders noted

The group further noted that “When it was given to the Yoruba to heal the wound of Abiola, Obasanjo emerged in our party and Falae emerged in the other major party. It was not like they just went into the room and came out with these people. They went through party primaries to emerge. Last time, you saw the primary that produced Atiku, you saw the primary that produced the president and that two Fulanis came on board. The rules will not change. If you zone to the South East, the two parties will have to tow that route so that interested candidates from the south East can slug it out.

“We tasked Ohanaeze Ndigbo (umbrella organization of Igbo worldwide), to reach out to great Igbo leaders to make contacts with leaders from other geo- political zones and interest groups for support for South East president.”

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