By Anayo Okoli & Dayo Johnson
ENUGU—FORMER president, Olusegun Obasanjo, has restated his position that the South-East should be allowed to produce Nigeria’s President in 2023, insisting that it would ensure peace, justice, fairness and sustainable national development in the country.
Similarly, former secretary to the Government of the Federation, Olu Falae, also threw his weight behind a South-East presidency, noting that it is the only zone that has not produced the president in recent times.
Obasanjo, who addressed members of Political Action Committee, PAC, of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, who visited him at his Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, to solicit his support for the quest for a Nigerian President of South-East extraction, said the minimum Nigerians would accept is that the next president should come from the South.
Ime Obi Ohanaeze Ndigbo, at its meeting, last week, mandated its president general and the secretary to constitute a political committee to go around the country to solicit support for a president from the South-East.
The Ohanaeze team consists of Ambassador George Obiozor, the President General; Ambassador Okey Emuchay, the Secretary-General; former president generals of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nnia Nwodo, and Gary Igariwey.
Others are Professor Anya Anya, former Chairman, Police Service Commission, Simon Okeke, and Dr. Chiedozie Ogbonnia, the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
“The next president of Nigeria must come from the South East. The least acceptable minimum is a president from the Southern part of Nigeria”, Obasanjo was quoted by Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s spokesman, Alex Ogbonnia, as saying.
The former President, who commended Ohanaeze Ndigbo for demanding their rights, told the delegation that what he “owes Nigeria is sincerity, objectivity and guidance.”
He maintained the need for morality, equity and justice in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural country like Nigeria, warning that “it is inconceivable to have peace and progress in a country that is rooted in injustice.”
Obasanjo said: “Federal character, rotation of power and such other measures are meant to help our nation-building process and more sure-footedly, move Nigeria forward” and warned that “riding over these measures rudely, shoddily and roughly cannot augur well for our nation-building process and progress.”
In his remarks, Obiozor commended the former president for his unwavering commitment to peace and unity of Nigeria, saying that Obasanjo remains one of the strongest voices in Nigeria and one of the most respected Nigerians in the world because of his track records of accomplishments while his tenure lasted as the President of Nigeria.
He commended him for his courage, sincerity, steadfastness and passion for justice, especially as it affects the Igbo and the future of Nigeria.
For national unity, peace, it’s turn of S-East —Falae
Also throwing his weight behind a South-East presidency, Falae, who spoke in an interview, said the region has not produced a president in recent times.
The former Minister of Finance said: “I expect that the South East will have a fair chance to ask for the president of Nigeria because in recent times the president has not come from the South-East. I said in recent times.
“For national unity and peace, yes, but the South East is not the only zone that has not produced the president in recent times. There are six zones now and in the recent past, the zones that have produced the president are the North-West, South-West and South-South.
“The North-Central, North-East and South-East have not produced president in the recent times, so there are three that have equal rights to ask for it if we want to be fair
“If we want to use North and South, then it’s two (North and South) I insist it must come from the South because the present president is from the North.
“However, if we are talking of zones within the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, then we cannot limit it. We must look at all the zones that have not produced the president.”
Nigeria’s next President must be patriotic, detribalized — Onitiri
On his part, a socio-political activist, Adesunbo Onitiri, has said that Nigerians must select with caution, a patriotic, young, highly educated, Godly, and de-tribalised president during next year’s general election.
Onitiri, in a statement in Lagos, yesterday, said: “We democrats also urge all Nigerians to vote wisely, as this suffering and abject poverty must end. Our economy is at its lowest ebb. There is serious insecurity in the country.
“We need a patriot, young, highly educated, healthy, internationally connected President, who has the capability and ability to govern. He must be honest, transparent, credible, and diligent with the quality of a world-class President. Not a moneybag.
“Nigeria needs leaders like Mohammed bin Rashid of Dubai, President of Malaysia and President of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew. These people should be our role models. We desperately need leaders that can turn our economy around, turn our desert into a land flowing with honey and milk.”