- 2023 a pipe dream –Ikedife
From George Onyejiuwa, Owerri and Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo State, Dr Vitalis Ajumbe has said that the desire of the Southeast to produce the president of Nigeria in 2023 is very possible if they get their political acts together.
He said that the geopolitical zone should resolve to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 election, saying that anything short of that would not work.
He pointed out that if the Southeast is really desirous of occupying the topmost political position in the country, the political elite from the zone must shun its current opposition to the APC and galvanize the people to massively vote for President Buhari for a second term in 2019 as he is the only one who will serve just four years and will not seek a re-election.
“It is possible for the southeast to produce a president come 2023 if they play their cards well by voting massively for Buhari in 2019. The reason is simple: Buhari is the only candidate who will serve a four-year term and go no further. Any other candidate will want to serve two terms of eight years. So, our best choice in the southeast is to vote for Buhari for second and last term,” Ajumbe said.
He maintained that what is required is for the political elite in the zone to start the process of negotiations between the zone and the APC for a mutual agreement on the matter. He stressed that if power returns to the south according to the zoning formula, the southeast that has not produced the president would be in an advantageous position to clinch it.
Also speaking on the issue, the National Auditor of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief George Moughalu said: “I have always said that it is only through the APC that the Igbo man can get presidency. With APC and by the time Buhari does his two terms, the Igbo can lay legitimate claim to the presidency, there is nothing wrong with that.
“The Igbo need to be building friendships across the political divide. We need to be playing politics, we don’t need to be at the sideline, we need to be at the centre of the game. Power is not given, rather power is taken. We have to reach out, we have to consult, we have to get more involved than we have been.
“It is only Buhari’s second term that can make it possible for Igbo in 2023 because under any party anybody who wins will want to do two terms, so we are safer in APC. The Igbo agenda can be better pursued in APC than in any other party.
“I advised our people to get more involved in the politics of APC, we should get more committed, we should market ourselves and build more friendships across the divide because it takes more than an Igbo man to make it, other groups have an impute to make. So we have to start building friendships across the zones. And we have time to do that now, the Igbo should start to be involved in APC now for 2019. We have to support the President of today in order to be involved.”
From the other end of the spectrum, former Ohanaeze president, Dr. Dozie Ikedife dismissed the 2023 projections as mere academic exercise, stating that anything could happen before 2023, in the light of the several ethnic agitations in the country.
He said: “The fact of the matter is that if Buhari runs in APC in 2019 the chances of Igbo President in 2023 will be high, than it could be with new candidate under any political party because of second term. But all these projections are so far to be talking about; 2019 is two years ahead, then you add four that is six years ahead then you add another four years, that’s 10 years. In political circle, 10 years is almost a century, anything can happen between now and then.
“So it is purely an academic exercise, you may make projections but then, man proposes, God disposes. Some of us would not be alive then, so we won’t be caring much of what will happen but if we make projections, judging from what is happening, talking about restructuring, self determination, putting all those into consideration, one has to be sure about the configuration of Nigeria. The configuration may alter drastically between now and all these time, you have to factor all those into the equation.”
He spoke further: “And looking at the horizon, I don’t even see yet the Igbo prospective candidate and on what configuration of parties? Are you going to move through the one you call your own, APGA, without widening the angle to give the person a fair chance? Or are you going back to APC, which you people call Hausa party, which is an erroneous nomenclature, an erroneous label? Or will you go through PDP, which has been discredited and its image is being rebuilt? There are so many factors here but I don’t want to indulge too much in pipe dream.”
Ikedife added: “Even if Igbo are not anxious for presidency, the Igbo should in the meantime be building cohesion, cohesion, cohesion. See how they can be their brother’s keeper in the political arena as well as in the football field, in the commercial undertaking, in the market and in the churches. The amount of tithe they throw into all these Pentecostal churches is colossal and you know where they are located mainly. A lot of money and material are being invested in the wrong direction. If I was younger I would start a church and start to perform miracles and I would have branches all over the country so that they will be throwing some of the money onto my organization.
“The important thing for Igbo now, people of South-East and South-South is cohesion between the South-South and South East. They were all from the Eastern Region, they cohabited, and they lived well together. But a bitter ethnic, chauvinistic sermon has been preached to them and some of them bought into it and some people from South-South don’t want to see people from South East as if they are demons but they are not. When we were young we went to school with everybody from any part of the country, there was no discrimination at all, that’s a long time ago.
“For the people of South-East, the most important thing now is to try to inculcate among themselves the spirit of brotherliness, (one voice, one mind). If they can buy into this philosophy, which was the theme for the Igbo Day celebration of 2008, when I was the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, if we can inculcate it into our own culture and our relationship, things will be much easier for us.”