Magnus Eze, Enugu, Desmond Mgboh, Kano and John Adams, Minna and Paul Orude, Bauchi
Ahead of the 2023 presidential election, a leading pan-Igbo organisation, Igbo Leadership Development Foundation (ILDF), has started shopping for potential and credible personalities who could be candidates of both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on behalf of the South East.
According to the group, the South East has eminently qualified persons who would make great president of Nigeria and therefore should be allowed to soley present candidates in the next election.
It said in the principle of fairness and equity, the South East should produce the next president after President Muhammadu Buhari.
The group, in a statement signed by its Chairman, Dr. Godwin Ifeanyi Udibe and Vice Chairman/Director Public Affairs, Dr. Law Mefor, said it will canvass and persuade the APC to consider Igbo personalities who have held such positions as governor, minister and Senate members as it candidate.
The group advised the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to consider Igbo who held those top positions as candidate.
It said: “We are persuaded to promote qualities such as prudence in the management of human and material resources, commitment to equity and pan-Nigerianism, sound educational background, and international reach and exposure.”
ILDF said the South Eadt should produce next president to maitain the culture of rotational presidency between the North and South, which it said has “helped to douse the political tension in Nigeria. We therefore recommend that it be continued for now for the good of the federation.”
It said since President Buhari is from the North, “it presupposes that after his eight-year tenure, the next President should come from Southern Nigeria and since South West and South South have occupied the office in the current dispensation, the South East is next in line in the spirit of the rotation principle, fairness, equity and good judgment.
“This will bring an end to the manifest marginalisation of the South East. This will foster national unity, and also bring to a close the bitterness of the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, which has lingered for 50 years since the end of hostilities and engender unity.”
‘We’ll mobilise for Igbo presidency’
Meanwhile, the newly elected President General, Igbo Community in Bauchi, Chief Chidi Chukwunta has said Igbo would mobilise for 2023.
Chukwunta made the statement in Bauchi after being sworn in as the new president general of the community in the state, yesterday.
He said he would do everything possible to get Igbo united to takeover power in the next general elections.
“Considering the fact that other tribes have been on that throne, as the president of Igbo in Bauchi, I will support every move to ensure that an Igboman become a president in 2023.”
The Igbo leader, however, called for the unity of his kinsmen to foster development.
There are six states comprising Igbo community in the state – Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, Anambra and part of Delta according to sir Chukwunta.
Sir Chukwunta was full of praise for the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed for ensuring the safety of Igbo in the State.
The newly elected president enjoined the Igbo residents in Bauchi to be law abiding, saying their welfare was his priority.
Let people determine – Ex-gov, Aliyu
Former governor of Niger State, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, has said elder statesman, Mallam Mamman Daura’s comment on the 2023 Presidency was a suggestion on the way out after over 20 years of democratic experiment.
Aliyu, who is a member of Board of Trustee (BoT) of the opposition People Democratic Party (PDP) pointed out that “whatever system you have, you have an objective to achieve. After over 20 years of zoning arrangements, have we really produced the best for the country?
“We had zoning from 1999 to date because we wanted unity and we wanted every part of the country to have a sense of belonging. We want Nigeria as one, so the zoning makes it obvious that everybody will be able to participate but has it given us what we wanted.
Aliyu believed Daura’s comment on zoning should not generate unnecessary bickering because it is like flying a kite, adding that, “whether you zone it or not, election is about the number of votes you are able to gather, so let the people determine what happens in 2023. To me I think the society should determine what they want and how to get it.”
Northern group backs zoning
However, some youths in the North have faulted the influential relative of President Buhari.
The youths under the aegis of Arewa Youths for Peace and Security (AYPS) said the unity of the country and stability of its democracy have a lot to benefit from zoning the highest office to the South at the expiration of the Buhari Presidency.
A statement by the national leader of the group, Alhaji Salisu Magaji, said it would be unfair and unjust to drop the zoning arrangement when a major component of the Nigerian tripod was yet to have a shot at the office.