Fred Ezeh, Abuja

An Igbo pressure group, the United Igbo Journalists Forum, has suggested that Igbo people in states other than the five South-East States of Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia and Ebonyi, should be discouraged from joining the race for president in 2023.

The group, in a statement released in Abuja on Monday, said it will amount to the continuation of brazen injustice and marginalisation against the South-East should Ndigbo in other zones seize the opportunity to produce the president outside the southeastern States.

The Chairman and Secretary of the Forum, Emeka Nze and Pastor Godwin Mbachu, said in the statement that the group is not denying Igbos in Rivers, Edo, Benue, Akwa Ibom and Kogi States of their ethnicity, adding that they recognise them as brothers and sisters but by the virtue of boundary delimitations, they now belong to the other zones.

The statement further noted: ‘Moreso, the rotation principle already adopted by some political parties is not on the basis of ethnicity or languages in Nigeria, as there are over 300 of such groups in the country. And for the Presidency to rotate among the different ethnic nationalities would engender confusion in the political system.

‘Consequently, the proponents of rotation which dated back to the second republic,
in their wisdom recognised the six geopolitical zones for the seat of President.

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‘We, therefore, urge the major political parties especially the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the main opposition, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), to field candidates from the Southeast geopolitical zone of the country.

‘We further expressed concern that some Igbo politicians from other zones in the guise of being Igbo are already planning to thwart the rotation principle and scuttle the chances of the Southeast geopolitical zone to produce the President in 2023.

‘These individuals have gone ahead to sponsor some faceless associations to enlist them as those qualified to run for the number one seat in the country. This is unacceptable to the Southeast as it is capable of engendering confusion by returning the Southeast to the table of agitation.’

Meanwhile, the Forum has openly rewarded Dr Theophilus Ekechi, for the role he played in the early stages of the fight against COVID-19, particularly his suggestions to the Federal Government which helped in the reduction of the carnage that would have been caused by COVID-19.

They encouraged him to continue in his quest for a better society, promising that the Forum of Igbo Journalists will support him in his quest for a better society.