To sustain the balance of forces between North and South Nigeria, it is expedient and pragmatic for Southern Nigeria to speak now with one voice in support of South East’s aspiration to produce Nigeria’s president in 2023; Likewise, the two major political parties, the PDP and APC should zone the presidential ticket to the SE, states a group of professionals from the South East, SE geo-political zone living in Europe and the Americas.
The group under the aegis of South East People of Nigeria in Diaspora (SEPNID), rising from a meeting held in Newcastle, United Kingdom on Tuesday, in a Communique signed by its Chairman and Secretary, Hon Enyinnaya Emma Nwaka and Oluebube Umeokoro respectively, appealed to the political elites in the South West, SW and South South, SS to add their voices in the agitation of the SE to produce the next president of Nigeria in 2023 in the interest of justice, equity and fairplay.
The communique stated that the Presidency having moved from the SW to the North West, NW and back to SS, before moving up NW again, justice demands that the SE be given the option of producing the Presidency in 2023.
Hon Nwaka, who elaborated further on the intents of the communique maintained that agitations to address issues of justice and equity are not novel in Nigeria’s political development, recalling that in 1999 the three major political parties, namely the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; The then All Peoples Party, APP and Alliance for Democracy, all jointly zoned the presidency to the SW to produce Chief Olusegun Obasanjo flying PDP’s flag and Chief Olu Falae flying APP/AD joint ticket, and both the SS and SE jointly supported the project.
“We, members of SEPNID are therefore drawing from this page in Nigeria chequered history and calling on Southern Nigeria to speak with one voice on behalf of the SE; Likewise, we are equally calling on the PDP and APC to zone their presidential ticket to the SE”, Nwaka stated.
Nwaka reiterated that joining of forces by Southern Nigeria is desirable to create a balance between North and South, as none of the six geo-political zones can on its own produce the President of Nigeria.
The communique further stated that having examined the options available in the event that the SW, and SS fails to support by the SE; And the two major political parties fails to zone the Presidency to the SE, SEPNID urges SE political elites from both parties to follow the leading of the Senate Chief Whip Senator Orji Uzor Kalu who proposes that the SE supports the aspirations of the North East, NE, another geo-political zone that has also been denied an opportunity to produce the president.
Hon Nwaka further added: “The SE since 1979 had supported the emergence of presidents from other zones of Nigeria, equity demands now that power is returning to the South, that the rest of Southern Nigeria rally round the SE to produce the next President.
“SE has always stood on the side of equity. This explains why we massively voted MKO Abiola of blessed memory, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, late Musa Yar’adua, Goodluck Jonathan and Abubakar Atiku since 1993. So now that it is our turn to produce a President, equity demands that our Southern brothers equally support us to produce the President, as we cannot do it alone.
“Unfortunately, to our amazement, we are witnessing a massive turnout of presidential aspirants from our SW and SS brothers. We have taken cognitive notice of appeals from Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Elder statesman, urging that justice be done for the SE, for us in the diaspora, we see the actions of SW and SS political elites as a stab in the back, an unfortunate setback indeed for Nigeria as a whole, but that is the reality the SE faces today: Betrayal from its SW and SS brothers. How do we deal with it? That question formed the focus of our meeting and going forward, how does the SE proceed to mitigate the incalculable cost of remaining under the shadows for another four years, or even eight as the possibility of a second term is not ruled out for whoever emerges President.
“To that end, we were pleased to note that the able Igbo son, distinguished Senator Orji Uzor Kalu who has been neck deep in Nigeria’s politics since 1999, like an experienced sailor is already charting a course for the SE, we discussed and concluded as captured in our Communique as follows:
“We solidly support the position of the Chief Whip of the Senate, Sen Orji Uzor Kalu that SE align with the NE to produce the President in the event that the two major political parties fail to zone their presidential ticket to the SE.
“Our premise is that politics, like life is dynamic, and the Igbo nation under the present circumstances cannot be frustrated to the point of becoming irrelevant in Nigeria’s politics. Such idea is inconceivable, unthinkable. Eight years in the life of a nation is so short, but in those eight years, we must remain relevant”, he submitted.
Equally elaborating on the meeting and its conclusions, SEPNID’ s Secretary, Oluebube Umeokoro added that group would draw the attention of the APC and PDP to eminently qualified SE aspirants in their parties from which they should pick a candidate to fly their flags.
“The APC has people like former governors – Rochas Okorocha, Orji Uzor Kalu, Ogbonnaya Onu, and Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State. It also has former House of Representative member, Hon Emeka Nwajiuba and former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani; While PDP on the other hand has former governor, Peter Obi; Former Senate President, Senator Pius Anyim, and the boardroom guru, Sam Ohuabunwa and others.He urged the political parties to tap from the ingenuity of the people of the SE as represented by these galaxy of stars as Nigeria will be the ultimate beneficiary of these talents.”
The SEPNID meeting had in attendance members from UK, USA and other European countries.