Jude Chinedu, Enugu and Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
Former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, has said the demand for a president of Igbo extraction in 2023 was justified as they had shown more commitment to Nigeria than any other ethnic group.
Nnamani who spoke to journalists in his Amechi Awkunanaw country home, in Enugu, during a reception organised in his honour by some All Progressives Congress (APC) stakeholders, however, warned that Igbo should actively participate in the politics of 2023 as power was never given, but taken.
“Igbo are not known to be shy. It is left for them to make the necessary noise to tell the world that they are part of Nigeria. But political positions are not a buffet where you will take rice, beans, egg or whatever you want. If you want something, you work for it. We are the true Nigerians; there is no part of Nigeria you go today that you will not see an Igbo man. Igbo are the only people that invest in both direct and portfolio investments in the country. Our men and women build factories in all parts of the country. Igbo are the people who want Nigeria to progress. Therefore, Igbo are not making mistake for aspiring for 2023 presidency, but when the time comes they have to participate to say they are part of Nigeria. Igbo will benefit more if Nigeria is stable and there is equal opportunity for everybody because our people are prepared to compete. Igbo are not asking for handout, free launch or dinner. We are asking for a level playing field,” he said.
However, the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has said Yoruba will hold Asiwaju Bola Tibubu, Chief Bisi Akande, Governor Kayode Fayemi and others responsible if the South West failed to clinch the presidential ticket of APC.
The group said Tinubu, Akande, Fayemi were prominent leaders and key factors to reckon with in the APC in making the presidential agenda of the Yoruba a reality, even as they urged them to sheathe their swords of division, as the race would not be won amid a divisive house.
Addressing journalists in Ado-Ekiti, ARG Publicity Secretary in Ekiti, Prince Michael Ogungbemi, said with the belief that the APC may zone the presidency to the South in 2023 after the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari two terms, the South West had the prospect of occupying the position.
The ARG, therefore, urged the Yoruba leaders to use their strategic positions and political peregrinations to engender unity in the South West and clinch the presidential ticket that may be zoned to the South.
“The South West is ready to take over; we have the human and material resources. The political leaders must go on consultations. We have six geopolitical zones, South West is just a bloc. Tinubu must lead this bloc. Also, luckily, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who is the NGF Chairman, is from the South West.
They must move for a united family to clamour for presidency for the South West and produce a unified front. If they can speak with one voice, we will actually clinch this ticket, because it is our turn.
“We can’t go into that race with a divided house. Tinubu, Fayemi, Akande, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, Gen. Alani Akinrinade, Prof. Banji Akintoye, Sen. Femi Okurounmu, Sen. Ayo Fasanmi, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) and others must convey a meeting of the progressive politicians in the zone, so that we can be united. If we have a candidate that is acceptable to both the North and the South, we will surely win.”