Rising from a meeting in Newcastle, United Kingdom, on Tuesday, the South East People of Nigeria in Diaspora (SEPNID), a group of South East professionals living in Europe and the Americas, have appealed to the political elite in the South West and South South to support South East to produce the next president of Nigeria in 2023.
The group said the need for the South East to produce Nigeria’s president in 2023 is in the interest of justice, equity and fairplay.
SEPNID said in order 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 South East.
They articulated these in in a Communique signed by its Chairman and Secretary, Hon Enyinnaya Emma Nwaka and Oluebube Umeokoro respectively,
The communique stated that the Presidency, having moved from the South West to the North West and back to the South South, before moving up North, again, “justice demands that the South East be given the option of producing the president 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, noted that in 1999, the three major political parties, namely the Peoples Democratic Party, then All Peoples Party, and Alliance for Democracy jointly zoned the presidency to the South West to produce Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who was elected on PDP’s platform.
Chief Olu Falae contested on the APP/AD joint ticket and the South South and South East supported the project.
“We, members of SEPNID are, therefore, drawing from this page in Nigeria’s chequered history and calling on southern Nigeria to speak with one voice on behalf of the South East,” Nwaka said.
He 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.
“Since 1979, the South East has 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 South East to produce the next president.
“South East 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 South West and South South brothers. We have taken cognitive notice of appeals from an elder statesman, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, urging that justice be done for the South East.
“For us in the diaspora, we see the actions of South West and South South political elite as a stab in the back. But that is the reality the South East faces today: betrayal from its South West and South South brothers. How do we deal with it? That question formed the focus of our meeting and going forward, how does the South East 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 are 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 South East. We discussed and concluded as captured in our Communique that “we solidly support the position of senator Kalu that South East align with the North East to produce the president, in the event that the two major political parties fail to zone their presidential ticket to the South East.
“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,” 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.