Push for 2023 Igbo presidency heightens

The push for the realization of Igbo President in 2023 intensified at the weekend  with some pressure groups giving reasons why the Southeast deserved to produce President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor.

A former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode also lend his weight behind the clamour for an Igbo President. He however advised leaders of the zone to reach out to their colleagues in other zones to make the quest a smooth sail.

The groups that raised the clamour for Igbo President are the Nigeria Presidential Project (NPP) and a coalition of Igbo Youth Groups and Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide.

While NPP claimed it was had started consultation with President Buhari, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and former Nigerian leaders on the issue, the coalition of Igbo Youth Groups and Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide said it had already penciled in two Igbo sons as the most qualified for the position.

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NPP Chancellor, Chief Walter Orji, added  during the inauguration of the Imo State chapter of  the  group that they were optimistic that the two major political parties in the country—All Progressives Congress(APC) and Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) — would zone their presidential slots to the Southeast.

Stressing the group’s determination to actualise the project, Orji warned that any political party that failed to allow an Igbo to fly its  presidential flag in 2023 would lose in the Southeast.

He said: “I have to remind you that it was Igbo that said that they want Nigeria. Without Ndigbo  there will not be Nigeria. That’s why we cannot give up  our  entitlement to produce  the next  President.  Any political party that refuses to zone its presidential candidate to the Southeast will lose base in the zone.”

Orji  advised the 11-member committee not to criticise anybody or allow money to distract them.

The Director, Media and Publicity,  Tony Nwachukwu told The  Nation  that apart from the incumbent President and Osinbajo, the group had reached out to former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan as well as erstwhile heads of state, ministers,  the leadership of the National Assembly and political parties for their  support.

Nwachukwu said: “We have equally reached out to the governors’ forum,    Obas and Emirs. We have also appealed to Alhaji Abubukar Atiku in our mail to drop his presidential ambition.”

He added that the leaders   assured the group  of maximum support particularly in advising the political parties to do the needful by zoning their presidential tickets to the south.

“We have no doubt that APC and PDP will zone their presidential candidates to the Southeast,” he said.

The Coalition of Igbo Youth Groups and Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide said in a statement at the weekend it would amount to injustice if the Southeast was denied the Presidency in 2023.

Maintaining that there was no going back on its drive for the actualisation of the project, the coalition said it had already thrown its weight behind Science and Technology Minister  Ogbonnaya Onu and Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi as best candidates from Southeast.

The  statement issued after its  joint meeting in Abakiliki, the, Ebonyi State capital.was endorsed by the OYC President, Okechukwu Isiguzoro;  the  President, World Igbo Youth Congress,  Mazi Alex Okemiri; the  National leader, Southeast Women Professionals, Dr.  Helen Ogbonnaya  and the President, Igbo Students, Chidi Ugwujo.

Noting  that there  are millions of  prominent Igbo politicians and technocrats qualified to be Buhari’s successor in 2023,  it   said  many of them “are handicapped either by pending corruption charges by EFCC (Economic and Finacial Crimes Commission) or there is no visible evidence of political structures to actualise their ambition or linked with incompetence in their stewardship.”

They said they  zeroed in Onu and Umahi because “both are transparent in governance, with proven track records of achievements and without questionable criticism from any quarter to become President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor in 2023.”

In Awka, Anambra State, former Minister Fani-Kayode argued that the   only way to compensate Ndigbo for what they suffered during the civil  war and end the agitation for self actualization by some  groups was for the Southeast  to produce the nation’s next President.

He said during  his visit to Governor Willie Obiano at the weekend that such was not too much for the Igbo  to ask for.

Fani-Kayode  however advised the Southeast political leaders  to ensure they liaised with people from other regions to make the project a reality.

His words “Igbo man has never led the country and it is a sad thing for some of us that no Igbo man has ever ruled the country. It is one of the things that should be done to ensure stability

“It is realisable, and it is incumbent on the people of the Southeast to ensure they win the support of people of other regions.

“A lot of work needs to be done. It is due (Igbo Presidency) , and will go a long way to stop agitations by groups like the Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) and make the Igbo feel  a sense of belonging in the entity called Nigeria.

“We can ameliorate the pains of the past and make up for it. No part of Nigeria has ever lost over three million people in a crisis, so it can serve as compensation.

“If it is going to be achieved, we must ensure we win support in all parts of the country.”

But a former Commissioner for Information, Tourism and Public Utilities in Imo State, Vitalis Ajumbe, said the Southeast should forget the agitation for 2023 president.

The region, he explained, should rather pursue the Vice- Presidential slot and build from there.

“My zone has the right to aspire for the presidency in 2023 but how prepared are they? “The Igbos are not united politically. They will fight themselves,” he said during an interview at the weekend.

“The only way I think we can make it is when an Igbo man is made the Vice-President so that that Vice President will now be a rallying point. But it is something we must discuss and agree on the way it will go,” he argued.


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