Igbos have been urged to be wary of plans by some forces within the All Progressives Congress (APC) to make former President Good luck Jonathan, the party’s flag bearer in the 2023 presidential elections in the country.
Chief Chaka Nweze, a stalwart of the party and its pioneer secretary in the state, gave the urge in Abakaliki, noting that though such a move has not been made formal, its tidings point to truth behind it and this necessitated the forehand warning from him.
The former Executive and later Caretaker Chairman of Ohaozara Local Government Area of the state, said that such moves should be nipped in the bud in every sense to avoid a perpetual enslavement of the Igbos politically if it materialises.
“The game plan of such an unfounded move is to give Jonathan the party’s ticket and if he wins, will surrender the presidential slot back to the north in 2027 having served his first tenure before losing to incumbent Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
“This will potentially mean that the north will rule Nigeria again for another eight years (2027 to 2035) before the issue of Igbo presidency will come up again and would probably have lost complete steam by then,” he said.
The Former Vice Chairman of the state’s branch of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) called on Igbos to unite and nip this disaster in the bud as 2023 presents the only feasible opportunity to achieve the Igbo presidency.
“Igbo political leaders within the APC should unite and commence immediate consultation with all power blocs and brokers within it and the entire country, to sell the idea of zoning the party’s presidential slot to the south east.
“The APC had preached peace, unity, fairness and equity and this was an ample opportunity to show that it truly believes in the oneness of the country and confound those who posit that the present government had greatly marginalised the Igbos in several ramifications,” he said.
He noted that the real issues should be sorted by the Igbo leaders and stakeholders in the party who should lead by example and purge themselves of all divisiveness among other acts, capable of truncating the Igbo presidency dream.
“Igbo leaders aspiring for the office should be sensible and apply utmost caution towards their ambitions so that when it is needed that they come together to take a united, common front, they would not be found wanting.
“They should eschew all personal considerations and place the interest of the state above all other interests, to ensure that this opportunity does not elude them.
“Though we should give the presidential slot our best push, it will even be better to get a vice presidential slot than to allow Jonathan rule for another 4 years.
“It will be better because we would only wait for eight years to intensify the presidential bid with increased gutso than waiting for a whooping 12 years or even more that we are not sure of ” he said.
Nweze appealed to political actors from other zones of the country to accede to the yearnings of the south easterners by voluntarily supporting moves to zone the presidency to the zone as was done to the south westerners in 1999.
“Nigerians should realise that all political power brokers unanimously agreed to zone the presidential slot to the south west to assuage the pains of the Yorubas over the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential elections.
“The major political parties then zoned their presidential slots to the south west and this has ensured the uninterrupted practice of democracy in the country since then as had never been witnessed before since 1960.
“They can still use the notion of assuaging the Yoruba hurt to the present case where the issue of secession and marginalisation can still be adduced as reasons for unanimously allowing the south east zone to rule the country.
“It will smack the highest level of injustice for a south westerner or south southerner to rule the country again after Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan had ruled the country while no Igbo man had ruled it since 1960.
“When the Igbos must have ruled the county, the same principle would be applied to the north central zone which had not ruled on the northern side as I appeal to our brothers there to support us in ensuring that this arrangement is actualised,” he said.
He called on Igbos to nevertheless, still support the APC as it remained the only national vehicle to achieve the elusive presidential ambition.
“It is glaring to all that the current impasse in the PDP is because some political gladiators especially from the south south zone want to remove its chairman, Uche Secondus for them to realise their vice presidential ambitions.
“When Secondus is removed, the party will then zone its presidential slot to the north for such persons to effectively pursue their vice presidential ambitions and with Atiku Abubakar reviving his campaign structure, the PDP has no plans for the south east.
“The APC has however shown through its actions, that it is desirous to enshrine equity in the country by allowing a south easterner succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Buhari’s successor just has to be an Igbo man or we forget ruling this country ever,” he said.