…say S/West; S/South have had their turns
By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
Notable Igbo leaders yesterday urged all the major political parties in the country to cede their presidential tickets to south east geopolitical zone in 2023 in the interest of justice, equity, and national unity.
Rising from a cross-party meeting of the Southeast leaders in Igbere, the home country of the Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate and former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzo Kalu, the leaders said that the south west and the south-south zones which made up the entire south had respectively produced Nigeria’s presidents in Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, leaving them behind.
In a communique jointly signed by Kalu; the former deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim; Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Nkeiru Onyejeocha; the spokesman of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu and the National Chairman of United Progressives Party, UPP, Chief Chekwas Okorie at the end of the meeting and made available to Vanguard, the leaders also called on Nigerians across all geopolitical zones and ethnic nationalities to support Nigeria’s president of Igbo extraction in 2023.
The communique read thus “Political leaders of the South-East across all political persuasions met at Igbere, Abia State, on January 5, 2021, to discuss the political future of the geopolitical zone vis-à-vis the 2023 general election.
“The meeting recalled that Nigerians across political, ethnic, and religious divides fought hard, long, and collectively to enthrone the current democratic dispensation as the surest way to engender national development and guarantee a just and equitable society where every section of the country enjoys a sense of belonging.
“The meeting observed that the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has rotated between Northern and Southern Nigeria and among the various geopolitical zones. Thus, the South West and South-South geopolitical zones in the southern part of the country have produced the President of Nigeria. Hence as power is expected to rotate to the South in 2023, the meeting noted that the South East is the only zone in the South that is yet to produce a President of Nigeria in the current democratic dispensation.
“The meeting further observed that the people of the South East have continued to demonstrate their commitment to the unity and development of the country. Not only has the geopolitical zone actively supported the emergence of the Nigerian President of other geopolitical extractions, the people are also known to be major agents of development and heavy investors outside their zone and often the next in population after the indigenes in any state of Nigeria. Our well-pronounced presence and investments in every nook and cranny of the country represent the firmest and most practical demonstration of faith in the unity, peace, and continued corporate existence of the country, for where a man’s treasure is, there his heart lies also.”
“In view of the above and after exhaustive and incisive deliberations, South East political leaders resolved to:
“Recommit ourselves to the deepening of the nation’s democracy as the surest way of fast-tracking national development and building an egalitarian society where no man is oppressed for reasons of his class, ethnic, religious or political affiliation and background.
“Implore Nigerians across political, ethnic, religious, and geopolitical divides and persuasions to support the people of the southeast geopolitical zone to produce a Nigerian President of southeast extraction as a mark of good faith and to promote justice and national harmony. For emphasis, we deem this very important in giving every part of the country a sense of belonging and in promoting national unity and solidarity. It is the loudest reassurance of equality of all parts and that the country indeed belongs to all members of the Nigerian commonwealth
“Consequently implore all the political parties to cede their presidential tickets in the 2023 general election to the South East in the interest of justice, equity, and national unity. To make good our demand and reciprocate such good faith, we have decided, as a geopolitical zone with a substantial presence in every part of the country to give a block vote and throw our full weight behind any major political party, particularly the APC and PDP, that zones its presidential ticket to the South East in 2023 general election. We resolved to work for such a party irrespective of our different individual political parties.
“To emphasize that what we seek is a Nigerian President of South-East extraction, one that will work to further unite and develop every part of the country. Such a President will be the President of all Nigerians irrespective of their political, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, ensuring that all citizens and every part of the country is given a sense of belonging and treated with the utmost sense of justice. Such was the dream of the founding fathers of this great nation wherefore they declared that though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand. For the same reason, they also committed to building a just nation where no man is oppressed so that Nigeria may be blessed with peace, plenty, and prosperity.”