By Chukwudi Nweje
Director-General, Voice of Nigeria and chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Osita Okechukwu and former Speaker, Anambra State House of Assembly, Mr. Ben-Chuks Nwosu have said that the South-East is united in their quest to produce a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction in 2023.
They spoke against the backdrop of insinuation that people of the zone lack unity of purpose to see through their aspiration, saying such insinuation by other sections of the country was not enough reason to deny Igbo their right in Nigeria.
Both men corroborated the position of the January 5 meeting of South-East leaders in Igbere, Abia State, where Igbo leaders from across political party lines demanded the APC, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and other political parties zone their presidential ticket to the South East to make the quest for a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction a reality.
They said equity and fair-play demand that the president of Nigeria by 2023 should be of Igbo extraction.
Said Okechukwu: “My advice is that we should not border ourselves whether the Igbo are one or united in our quest for Nigeria president of Igbo extraction. This is not to say that one is opposed to the unity of our people in this canvas. No ethnic nationality nor geopolitical zones have ever united behind any presidential candidate to the best of my knowledge throughout our history. I am one of the followers of President Buhari from inception, to be sincere he never had the support of a large segment of the northern elite in the four elections spanning from 2003 to 2015. His base was mainly the Talakawa or the masses.”
He, however, accused the PDP of being the biggest obstacle to the 2023 aspiration of Igbo alleging the party was hatching a “secret scheme to retain the presidency in the North.”
Nwosu on his part urged Igbo to consult widely to select a candidate that would be acceptable across Nigeria, even as they should avoid people with excessive political baggage.
He, also, called for wider consultations to appease those who said they were neglected during the Igbere meeting.
“The truth of the matter is that the Nigerian president in 2023 should be of South-East Igbo extraction, but where he will come from should be thoroughly discussed so that we will bring out the best and the brightest person. We must think of people who have less political baggage and people who have fewer enemies nationwide and people loved across Nigeria, we must also consider the fact that someone we consider a greenhorn could be the person that is acceptable to other zones and interest groups.”