From Fred Itua and Fred Ezeh, Abuja
As more leaders across various geopolitical zones continue to drum support for a Nigerian president of South East extraction, President- General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. George Obiozor, has said the region would produce a candidate to take over from President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, yesterday, Obiozor said Igbo leaders were already reaching out to political actors from other parts of the country to achieve the aspiration. He said Nigerians would overwhelmingly support a president from the South East as it was the turn of the region.
He said ongoing nationwide consultation embarked upon by Ohanaeze was already generating results and referred to Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark’s recent remarks that the South East should produce the president in 2023 as evidence. Clark, a former federal commissioner for information, had said it was in the interest of fairness and justice for President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor to come from the South East.
Obiozor, however, urged the region to put its house in order to actualise that dream.
“We have been consulting and the result of our consultation is producing results. A leader from the South South, Edwin Clark has come out to say that the South East should produce the next president in 2023. That means we are working and consulting. We are calling on all major political parties to zone the presidency to the South East. That’s the right thing to do. Anywhere in Nigeria or across the world, you must find an Igbo man. It means we are the only tribe supporting one Nigeria.
“People always say that Igbo don’t speak with one voice. The Igbo man or woman can’t speak with one voice, we accommodate everyone. It is the duty of the leaders to articulate these various voices and ensure that we present a common position. That is what we will do in 2023.”
On security situation in the South East, the Ohanaeze leader lamented that the region which hitherto was the safest in the country, had suddenly becoming a hotbed for insurgency. He attributed the upsurge to moves by the region to produce the next president in 2023.
He said the apex Igbo body would support any security architecture that would guarantee the safety of the region urging that the security of the region must not be compromised.
In the same vein, former Enugu governor, Okwesilieze Nwodo, has said the South East would not pitch tent with any political party that did not field Igbo as its presidential candidate for the 2023 poll.
Nwodo who spoke at a reception organised by leaders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in 19 northern states and FCT for Prof. Obiozor, in Abuja, advised all political parties to zone their tickets to the South East in order to secure the support of the region and other regions that have pitched their tent with Igbo.
“We have been treated badly in this country for long. I am a Board of Trustees (BoT) member and National Executive Council (NEC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). I was their first national secretary, and I have been the chairman of the party. I have told them repeatedly that the only way they can get the support of the South East in the general election in 2023 is to zone their presidential ticket to the region. Any of the national party, between PDP and APC, that fields Igbo candidate will surely get 100 per cent support from Igbo people. This time, Igbo has no party of choice as was the case in the past. We will ‘sheepishly’ queue behind any party that presents Igbo candidate for the presidency. That is what we want and that is what we are interested in. We are due for that position. It’s only Igbo that can clean up the Nigerian system putting the country on the track of growth and development.”
He pledged total support and loyalty to the administration of the Prof. Obiozor, as Ohanaeze Ndigbo, assuring him of support that would help him succeed.