2023 Is The Right Time To Have Nigerian President Of Igbo Extraction Says Dr Kalu

With recent calls from political stakeholders and eminent Nigerians pushing for the zoning of 2023 presidency to the southeast geo-political zone, a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party(PDP) and National Coordinator of PDPCOALITION, Chief Dr. Emeka kalu has added his voice to what is now termed the hottest political topic ahead of 2023 general elections. In a chat with Ejike Omenazu, Kalu said the southeast geo-political Zone is ready to lead the most populous black nation in the world.

Excerpts  from his interview:

What is your view on the recent defection of Governor David Umahi from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC)?

I have already made a lot of comments on it, so I will not wish to keep dignifying what I consider as betrayal of trust for a man who leaves where he was being celebrated as a king to a place where he will play second fiddle role.
Whatever that must’ve precipitated Umahi’s action is secondary as it doesn’t determine the state of PDP as a party, so we must move unto more important things rather than dwelling in the past.

Political terrain is a jungle and if you don’t threat cautiously, thorns will damage your boots or at worse, damage your very legs. PDP have moved on and all I can say at this point is that I don’t think his calculations worked out the way he speculated because he couldn’t move over with the PDP structure because the owners quickly retook their own while he couldn’t get hold of APC structures because those were in firm custody. So where does that leave him?

How do you see the allegation of marginalization of South East by PDP being given by Gov Umahi as one of the reasons for his defection to APC?

How do you see the allegation of marginalization of South East by PDP being given by Gov Umahi as one of the reasons for his defection to APC?

It’s a very ironical question, first for the fact that it is not an allegation that South East is being marginalized in Nigeria largely as a result of the MINDSET in many quarters that the Civil war of 1967-70 is not over. This same set of people believes that South East must continue to pay the price of trying to break out from Nigeria, so this is not an allegation, it is fact we have lived with for decades, but which was amplified out of proportion by the way this administration had handled the business of running Nigeria, forgetting that the generation that is suffering now had nothing to do with the civil war and so punishing them for it will only generate bad blood and stunt our progress journey.

That notwithstanding, I am not of the school of thought that solution to Nigeria problems lies in tribal presidents. But I also believe that since the founding fathers of this nation in their wisdom considered the principles of Federal Character, it means that they understood the sensitivity of tribe in the Nigerian context. Therefore this is the right time to have a President of Igbo extraction because if will calm a lot of nerves and allow some bad blood already heating up the polity to naturally resolve itself. But certain conditions must be met.

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Presidency is a great office and wether it is occupied by Hausa or Yoruba or Igbo, it is all about who will fix our country Nigeria. I know we have been disenfranchised and marginalized, but the fact still remains that we the Igbo haven’t done what we need to do to make sure that we become a people that will produce a block vote that determine the presidency.

In the North, they invest in voters education, but in the south east we watch Premier Leagues matches on Election Day that is the problem, how can we keep talking about disenfranchisement whe we are not doing the needful? if you want to make a difference you have to lead by example. We must claim our place by boosting our demographics and the governors should invest in voters education to increase our demographics, then our quest for President of Igbo extraction will begin to gain the deserved momentum.

With the APC now in control of Ebonyi and Imo states, don’t you think that the PDP is losing its grip of the South East geo-political zone?

With the  APC now in control of Ebonyi and Imo states, don’t you think that the PDP is losing its grip of the South East geo-political zone?

No I really don’t beleive so because Ebonyi state we know is pure PDP state. The Governor that decamped had been an APC mole in PDP, a crony to APC all these while and we already knew that. I vividly rememberd in 2019 while we were on presidential campaign trail coming to Ebonyi State, the Governor was leaving the state. You can understand the clear message that when a presidential candidate of your party is coming into your state, everyone knows that you are the chief campaigner, but that was not the case, he had to run away from his state so that his APC masters will not get angry that he supported his PDP candidate, that was the level of his hypocrisy and we all knew.

He was contributing nothing to the party except protecting his personal interest and carrying the wishes of APC. In Ebonyi we have the likes of Former SFG Chief Bar Anyim Pius Ayim, former Senator Chief Obinna Ogba and so on and so forth, these men are partymen who have proven loyalty to the party, but not stuge to APC. We have our structure intact, the decanmpee have already started to see the ripple defects because not all the lawmakers have accepted to lose with him rather they choose the light that is going to shine in Ebonyi come 2023. I am optimistic that our great party PDP is standing firm in that state and no cause for Alarm.

Bear in mind that his reasons for going across is fales. He is using Ndi Igbo to make his case and also insinuating that our great party have been unfair, he can now see that the odds are against him. PDP have made him and placed him where he is, even giving him the opportunity to make his own brothers incharge of the party structures in the state. But he miscalculated by not realizing that PDP is not a party of domies, rather a party of people with intelectual capabilities. He has been disappointed now because I know we are very strong in Ebonyi state.

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As for Imo, that State will return to PDP come what may. It did not go to APC by choice, rather by force. You know that anything you obtain by force is not yours. Don’t worry, it is all about interest and a working state, we want Imo State to work and it will work.

Gov Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, while commenting on the defection of David Umahi to APC said that nine other PDP governor will also defect to the ruling party. Does this not worry you and the PDP national leadership?

Gov Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, while commenting on the defection of David Umahi to APC said that nine other PDP governor will also defect to the ruling party. Does this not worry you and the PDP national leadership?

Worry me? Haba! Why will I be worried over what Bello said when he is barely trying to keep afloat in governing his state. That one is just a wrong guy that saw himself in power by accidents because he does not understand what democracy is all about. He believes in violence to win elections so whatever he says shouldn’t be taken seriously, especially when we are talking about principles of democracy and proper administration which he does not know. He only know how to peddle violence.

Let me state it categorically, nothing like more Governors joining APC. For what exactly?. But we know some like-minds that are still amongst us, the APC members in PDP, we are waiting for them to get bold and cross over so that we can finally rebuild our party. They’re the least important thing now. The important thingis that PDP will take the center come 2023.

Do you see the possibility of APC giving its presidential candidate to South East with David Umahi as its candidate instead of South West where it controls more states?

Quoting the Bible, I’ll probably say it will be easier for a Carmel to pass through the eye of a niddle than for Umahi to get APC ticket. If they favour him enough for his betrayal of PDP in loyalty to APC, they may consider him for VP which is what he is eying. But I wonder who leaves where he had chances of becoming a King to where he will be a servant.

We will see how it goes, but I know one thing PDP will win in the end.

Some South East stakeholders have been advocating a Peter Obi presidency with a northern running mate. Don’t you see this as feasible in PDP?

Obi is surely qualified to drive Nigeria as the leader. The question of Nigeria President of Igbo extraction cannot be overemphasized. Igbo are interprising people whom if they had been the ones running Nigeria since 1970 they would’ve transformed it. They have the record of ingenuity of turning desolation into prosperity over time. We have men that can deliver if given the opportunity in 2023 and this is exactly what Nigeria needs at this material time. Look at men like Chief Anyim Pius Ayim, we’ve already seen the rest who are active in politics for a while, look at so many others, look at my self, all these men can get Nigeria working again considering their antecedent in success. But at the moment, what Nigeria need to know first is that equity and continued unity of Nigeria lies in principle of Federal Character which will continue to give everyone sense of belonging in our collective project called Nigeria, we must do the needful at the moment.

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As a seasoned politician, with the recent #EndSARS protest and the current sentiment in the land, don’t you foresee the APC and PDP losing grip of the leadership of the nation to a revolutionary party to be controlled by the youths?

The beauty of Democracy lies in this kind of competition. It is not about a revolutionary party, it is about sacrifices and more sacrifices like the youths paid recently. But look around you, what do you see? They have lost already because they have succumbed to the will and caprices of puvayors of our collective destiny. You saw how this administration handled the situation as if we were still under military junta and the unsuspecting youths who trusted their government have recoiled out of shock that will take them time to recover.

At this point, only adults with courage and wherewithal can do the fight for the youths. What we need at this point is change of mindset, a new consciousness and the desire to wrestle power from the few elites that are feeding fat on the people. This is not battle between youths and their parents, it is a battle between light and darkness, make no mistake about it.

As the politicians strategise for the 2023 general elections, what is your advice to South East and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo?

I have always hammered on the need to be with one voice to be able to achieve our desires in a complex entity like Nigeria. Going out of our way individually will not help Ndi Igbo and the factions of Igbo organizations isn’t helping the matter.

Igbo need to reach out, build bridges and extend hands of followership to other regions.

The truth remains that Igbo-Phobia in Nigeria is a condition that was planted over time, nurtured and preserved till this day. So Igbo need to regain the confidence of other tribes with proves that what we are fighting for is not “Igbo Presidency” (Presidency for the sake of Ndi Igbo alone) but a “Nigerian President of Igbo extraction”.

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