By Ochereome NNANNA
THE faction of the Igbo political elite that negotiated and agreed with the North that the zoning principle of the PDP must be respected to enable the North produce a president of Nigeria in 2011 for only one term in office, has scheduled a summit to drum up support for the North at the Hotel Concorde in Owerri the Imo State capital on Monday, September 27th 2010.
The group, known as the Igbo Political Association (IPA), had held a pre-summit at the Nike Lake Hotel in July shortly after a pact with the North. On Wednesday night, text messages from the Chairman of the IPA, formerly South East Forum, Chief Simeon N Okeke (former Chairman of the Police Service Commission) and a major facilitator of the IPF, Chief Chyna Iwuanyanwu to members affirmed that participation in the summit was strictly by invitation. Other members of the group include Chief Jim Nwobodo, Prof ABC Nwosu, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Senator Ben Obi, Dr Udenta O Udenta, Chief Ken Nnamani, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, among others. Former Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme, is said to be sympathetic to the activities of the group.
The Forum had, in August, sat down with Northern leaders, such as General Ibrahim Babangida, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Malam Adamu Ciroma, Prof Ango Abdullahi, Prof Jibril Aminu, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai and others, to reach a pact that the North should be supported to complete the late President Umaru Yar’ Adua four-year term to match the eight years that Obasanjo took on the platform of zoning on behalf of the South.
The pact declares that after the one-term four years, the presidency would be zoned to the South East, the only zone that has not tasted an elected president of Nigeria.
Many Igbo leaders of the older generation are attracted by the possibility of witnessing a president of Igbo extraction in their life time after 40 years of excluding the Igbo people from sensitive executive positions for their roles in the first military coup and the civil war that ensued. Babangida and Atiku ahs publicly announced they would run for only one term of office.
Already, most northern presidential candidates have announced their intention to pick Igbo vice presidential running mates if given the tickets of their political parties.