Former governor of Rivers State and Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi has come under heavy attack owing to his tough view that the Igbo have no chance of taking over from President Mohammadu Buhari in 2023.
He made his position known in an interview he had with Saturday Sun, published yesterday.
Amaechi said: “I was the first to do that, but I don’t know what the situation is now. I don’t know what they will do now for voting against the APC. For refusing to support the APC, they cannot come to the table to demand the presidency slot.
“For people like us in the APC, if the Igbo had come and voted Buhari, they would boldly tell Mr President and the National Chairman of the party that presidency should go the Southeast since the South-south; Southwest and Northwest have produced a president. What argument would the Southeast come up with now to convince anybody that they deserve the slot for 2023 president?”
Reacting, the President General of apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, expressed anger over the comment of Amaechi, saying, however, that the issue was bigger than the minister.
“I do not want to bring myself low for a reaction, one of our executives will do that, but I think the issue of Igbo presidency is bigger than him. This is not a matter of careless talk,” he noted.
Also, the United Progressive Party (UPP) National Chairman, Chief Chekwas Okorie was equally irked at the comment from Amaechi, saying it was a sad one, just as he insisted that it would do great harm to his future political career if he does not retract it.
“It is sad Rotimi Amaechi is making such a statement; it is a statement he ought not to make. It is a statement that will do him a lot of damage if not now, in the future. Why must he dabble into a controversy that is uncalled for? Who will benefit the presidency in 2023 if not Ndigbo?
“ I am not saying they will get it on a platter of gold, but there is serious political engagement in the Southeast as I speak and Amaechi is not privy to it. He is an Igbo himself whether he likes it or not. The next election will be a fresh contest, not a logical follow-up and it will be based on equity, fairness, and justice and I do not see any other area that is to get it based on this facts if not the Igbo.
“There is a remarkable improvement in the voting pattern of the Igbo for President Buhari; he had more than 25 per cent in three states of the Southeast. What did he get from Rivers State that belongs to Amaechi? APC was a total failure in Rivers State despite all the militarization of the area.
“How many House of Assembly members, House of Representatives members, as well as the Senate membership did his Rivers State produce? He carelessly threw away the APC opportunity and he still has the guts to talk. I think he must be advised to watch his comments,” Okorie fumed.
Also, the Emeritus President General, Aka-Ikenga, Igbo intellectual group, Dr Sylvan Ebigwei, reminded Amaechi that Ndigbo does not need the presidency to fly, but want restructuring for level playing ground.
His words: “Amaechi should know that Ndigbo does not even need the presidency to fly rather what they need is restructuring. If there is a level playing field, if there is justice, fairness, equity, the Igbo will always find its bearing”.