Igbo apex socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday described as selfish scheming by some notable Yoruba leaders for the South-West presidency. Some Yoruba leaders, including Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; former Lagos State Governors, Senator Ahmed Tinubu and Babatunde Fashola, had urged the people of the South- West to vote massively for President Muhammadu Buhari in this year’s general election to enable the zone grab power in 2023.
But Ohanaeze, which said it was not interested in 2023 Igbo presidency but on restructuring of the country, described those pushing for the South-West 2023 presidency as over ambitious and selfish. According to the group, restructuring will tackle the scheming of the South-West to produce the 2023 presidency, Speaking to Saturday Telegraph in Abakaliki, the National Publicity of the group, Prince Uche Achi- Okpagha, expressed regret that while the 2019 elections were still to be conducted, some selfish politicians were already scheming to become president in 2023. He said: “The most important thing like we will always say is that Nigeria needs to be restructured. If you restructure Nigeria, scheming and maneuvering to become the president will subside appreciably. When you restructure, you downsise the enormous powers that are vested in the Federal Government, when you do it, the interest will be less. “When you restructure this country, these political maneuvering and so much thuggery, all of them will reduce. Can you see how selfish politicians can be? We have not had 2019 general elections and somebody is already scheming to become the President in 2023. “Our interest is not even in 2023 presidency, our interest is on restructuring. If they restructure Nigeria, they can rule forever but let them restructure Nigeria so that the people will feel the impact of government.
We must be united – Imo Senator
On his part, the senator representing Imo North at the Senate, Benjamin Uwajumogu, said Buhari was committed to handing over power to the Igbo upon completion of his second term in office, urging the people of the zone to massively support the president’s re-election bid. Uwajumogu said it would take the Igbo at least eight years to think of producing the country’s president should former Vice- President Atiku Abubakar win. He said: “President Muhammadu Buhari will hand-over power to Ndigbo in 2023. I am assuring you of that. Ignore the shenanigans and just focus on returning the president a second time. The president is honest and he is committed to it. There is nothing else to do or add to this assurance except casting your vote for the APC come February. “It will take Ndigbo at least eight years if the PDP presidential candidate wins. The Igbo should be proud of President Buhari, he is the kind of president this country needs now.” Uwajumogu also claimed that the president had been fair and just to the people of the southeast geopolitical zone in the distribution of projects and dividends of democracy.
Igbo’s presidency dream, a charade-Coalition
The Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), a body of Igbo Intelligentsia, clergy, elders, patriots, women and gouth in its reaction, advised all well-meaning Igbos to regard the much talked about promise of Igbos producing a Nigerian President in 2023 as mere election gimmicks. The president general of ADF, Prof. Uzodinma Nwala, told Saturday Telegraph that the Igbos of today were politically vulnerable and must think of gaining internal strength and controlling its political structure on the home phase more than issue of presidency which he said is being talked about in insulting manner. He said: “Let me say this frankly, given the present alignment of forces or political configuration of Nigeria, nobody is going to give the Igbos presidency either now or 2023. Nobody is going to do that and that’s the pure truth.”
CLO chides S’West leaders
Also reacting, the Chairman of Aba Unit of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Prof. Charles Chinekezi, said Osinbajo demonstrated his high level of political insensitivity in his comment about 2023 presidency going to the South West. Chinekezi said the Igbo presidency of 2023 is an issue of the political right of Ndi-Igbo as part of the strong tripods on which Nigeria stands and not centred on the Re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari. He said: “Prof. Osinbajo’s comment is just a narrow sense of judgement that is based on tribal sentiments. For a professor of criminal law and justice who ought to understand the political landscape of Nigeria, the multiplicity of ethnic groups, tribes and races with high sense of the dominant tripod of Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba grouping to go ahead and make such comment is quite unfortunate. “For him to have discountenance the Igbos who have been skimmed out of the political settings of Nigeria since after the civil war is unbelievable. As far as we are concerned, the most logical stand of anybody who claims to love Nigeria and wants its progress and peace should be for Igbo presidency in 2023. “Even the North and most Yorubas have talked about it. Even former president Obasanjo said not long ago. I’m sure Osinbajo knows the truth and he is far smarter than the proposal he’s putting forward for his people for 2023. He knows that his proposal cannot even fly anywhere in Nigeria even in Yoruba land. “He should be discountenanced as Ndi-Igbo forge ahead to get their mandate. We all can build a better Nigeria. The issue of Igbo presidency is the issue of right of the South East and anybody who wants to thwart or discountenance it is only smoking a pipe dream and of course that person wants to blow up this country into pieces. “So, let’s be specific, it’s not in the hands of President Muhammadu Buhari or Vice President Osinbajo or any other person. It’s in the hands of generality of Nigerians, right thinking Nigerians who understands how a sovereign nation is built.” Chief Jerry Obasi, the leader of the APGA breakaway faction, ‘Authentic APGA’, while reacting, said that there are strong indications that the APC has no plans to allow the Igbo fly its presidential flag in 2023. Obasi further urged President Buhari to clear the air on the call by Osinbajo and Fashola, for the South- West zone to vote for him in 2019 in return for power shift to the zone in 2023.”
Igbos’re lukewarm- Amaechi
Similarly, First Republic Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazurike Amaechi, has lamented that the lgbos are showing indifference over the prospects of producing the next President in 2023. Amaechi who spoke to our correspondent in Awka yesterday said that power is not given on a platter of gold, adding that the South West has shown stronger interest in the position. He said: “Power is not given on a platter of gold and the idea that Igbos will produce the next President of Nigeria in 2023 is not sacrosanct because there is no section in Nigerian construction that talked about rotation of power “The Yorubas are serious about this and they are working hard to get it and I expect our people in Igbo land to work hard and show seriousness. “Our politicians in the South-East should wake up and show that we are interested but the Yoruba are more serious than us. “If tomorrow the position goes to the South West we do not have any body to blame because they deserve it going by the way they are fighting the agenda.”