The apex Igbo socio-political organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has advised the Federal Government to support the emergence of an Igbo president in 2023 to quell the agitations in the South-East region “to the barest minimum.”
Elder statesman and former Governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife; Chairman, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Elders Council, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu; and Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Alex Ogbonnaya, spoke in separate interviews with Sunday PUNCH.
Ezeife said, “The almighty God, who created the heavens and the earth, has agreed that the South-East region will produce the next president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is just a matter of justice and fairness.
“Beyond that, Nigeria has made progress and undeniably so, because of the immense contribution of the people of Igbo descent. The Igbo are everywhere in Nigeria, developing things in the country, committed to economic growth.
“As we all know, we don’t run a segmented society. Everybody has human rights. In order for Nigeria to progress, there is no point keeping the Igbo down. This is why the presidency for the 2023 general elections should go to the South-East.”
He decried the “injustice” the Igbo face in their search for a better life, like other Nigerians.
“I was the Chairman, Power Sharing Committee, during the National Conference of 2014. We decided, then, that zoning and rotation are right and important for a thriving democracy. Even if it is not in the constitution, it became a practice. Buhari is supposed to complete eight years in office, so it should go to the South.
“The South-West held power for about 11 years. The South-South region has held power for six years, so if we are not rejecting Igbo people as citizens of Nigeria, we must allo w an Igbo man to become president,” he said.
Similarly, Iwuanyanwu said from the political arrangement of the country, the president should come to the South after eight years of the current tenure led by the North.
He said, “When it does come to the South, then the sub-regions of South-South, South-West and South-East will come together to decide which section should produce the president.
“But, I feel, out of justice and equity, with the kind of unity that we have now between these constituent regions, they would be given to the South-East, that is, if the South-East has a good candidate, because the president of Nigeria cannot just be anybody. The candidate has to be acceptable to everybody.”
Also, Ogbonnaya, in his remarks, decried the level of “injustice” against the region, arguing that the lopsidedness of the presidency was evident to all.
“People who sat together and talked about the idea of living together as one country thought of the union as a federation, managing people of diverse groups with diverse interests and cultures. If you say for the security architecture, the South-East should have, at least, one.
“Each ministry should have, at least, one Igbo heading it. Then, the agitations will reduce to the barest minimum. There must be representativeness in everything as far as we claim we are operating a federal system. The concept of federal character must be upheld at all times
“Above all, it is the turn of the South East to become the president of Nigeria. If there is a body language by the Federal Government indicating that, all these agitations and threats of secession will stop,” he said.