Outspoken groups, the Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) have both condemned the claim of Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige on how an Igbo can emerge Nigerian president in 2023 and the concept of power rotation in the ruling APC.
Speaking for Ohanaeze, National Publicity Secretary, Uche Opaga-Achi expressed his disappointment, saying that Igbo can’t beg to help put the country on the right track. He added that Ngige has lost his integrity since he assumed ministerial role.
“I am not surprised that it is coming from him. Ngige as a former governor of Anambra State towers higher in integrity to develop Anambra beyond imagination. However, ever since he joined APC his high political pedigree fizzled out in a staccato progression. Perhaps, in a bid to keep receiving crumbs from the corridors of power he seems to have lost touch with the truth, political morals, and conscience.
“Note that even his political party (APC) recognizes zoning as enshrined in the party’s constitution. The fact that the present administration does not place any premium on constitutionalism and the rule of law notwithstanding.
Zoning has become a convention in the Nigerian political field. Politics is all about scheming. The Igbo can scheme for the support and followership of the North and other regions. Northern politicians have dealt with all the tribes in Nigeria and can attest that once an lgbo man walks with you he does not retract. He follows you till the end. What else is trust?”, he stated.
However, Opaga-Achi noted that the emphasis is not 2023 presidency but on restructuring. “We have sung it in many fora that what is more pertinent in Nigeria now is restructuring. The restructuring will shape the economic, sociopolitical and religious/cultural deficiencies bedeviling us left, right and centre,” he stated.
Meanwhile, leader of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Yerima Shettima stated that Ngige is not speaking for the federal government, maintaining that the North will still produce a candidate for 2023 to balance the years of ruling with the South, adding that northern groups supporting the South will be dealt with.
He also cleared the assumption that there is a division in the North, adding that some northerners have turned to hustlers trying to make money off desperate politicians. “Anybody could say anything about it but what we are agitating for is but only one slot. The zoning has been jettisoned by Jonathan contesting in 2011 because it was the turn of the North but the demise of President Yar’Adua made him retain power and that has disrupted the zoning system.
“Any person in the North that does not share my sentiment is surely not a thoroughbred of the North. There is no senior northern politician that does not share my sentiment. You can call them one by one and they will tell you the same thing that the North deserves another term as for those that are saying rubbish, we will address their case soon. Some set of people will just call themselves together saying they represent the Arewa and yet they don’t know the politics of the country. It does not mean that there is a division in the North, just that there are some set of people who just spit rubbish when they receive small change from some people. “Whoever that is running for 2023 should come from the North for him to have the total support of the North. I am not saying that we will take the post by force, but we will lobby our way and let other Nigerians see reasons with us.
“We don’t have a nation yet, but we have a country, so we need to allow some level of stability to reign before moving the power around. The most important thing is that we will support the best person. The person must have the interest of Nigeria at heart and that is the way forward,” he stated.