Ohanaeze Ndigbo yesterday renewed its quest for Nigeria’s first citizen of Igbo extraction by 2023, insisting that the ethnic nationality must succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
It stated that the demand for South East to produce the next occupant of the topmost office in the land was in the spirit of equity, justice and fair play, noting that the move would strengthen unity and promote a sense of belonging.
The organisation’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mazi Chuks Ibegbu, told reporters in Enugu that amid the ravaging coronavirus across the globe, Ohanaeze would not relent in promoting issues that engender unity and development, as the current advocacy falls within the precincts.
He urged all political stakeholders nationwide to ensure the presidency was zoned to Igboland in 2023 as an indication of the seriousness in the claim of “one Nigeria.”
Advancing reasons why Ndigbo should produce Buhari’s successor, Ibegbu stated: “In 1999, the ticket was Olusegun Obasanjo versus Olu Falae; In 2007, it was the late Yar’Adua versus Muhammadu Buhari; and in 2019, it was Buhari versus Abubakar Atiku. So in 2023, it should be Igbo versus Igbo. With this arrangement, Nigerians can then make their choice among the array of Igbo candidates.”
On the possible candidates, the spokesman, who observed that it was not within his power to pronounce such, added that stakeholders of Igboland and Nigerians would be called upon to do so at the appropriate time.
The 2023 presidency, nonetheless, he assured that Ohanaeze Ndigbo was fully committed to the restructuring of Nigeria, adding that such would be the ultimate panacea to its multifarious challenges.
Regarding the recent deportation of almajirai by some northern states for onward movement to the south, Ibegbu called on the Federal Government never to resuscitate such institution again in the north, stressing that it was “thoroughly abused by some northern power brokers.”He, however, advised leaders of the northern region to rehabilitate the affected persons and discourage their emigration.
The image-maker warned against a situation that could be cashed on by Boko Haram to destablise the south, stating that local security in the zone had been activated to deal with the development.
Besides, promoters of Igbo for presidency 2023, South East for President 2023 Movement (SEFORP2023) have said advocacy, campaigns and dialogues for the realisation of the bid had continued despite the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Its national coordinator, Rev Okechukwu Obioha, during a live programme yesterday in Enugu, asserted that the clamour had become a national challenge.
He pointed out that there was no better way to preserve the unity and development of the country than to allow its components opportunity at the highest echelon of power in the land, stressing that, “the Igbo have paid their due for the growth and development of Nigeria and should be compensated.”
Also yesterday, Ohanaeze congratulated Prof. Ibrahim Gambari on his appointment as Chief Of Staff (CoS) to the President.It also commended the Nigerian leader for appointing an Igbo son, Prince Paul lkonne, as Executive Secretary of the National Land Development Authority (NALDA).
The group observed that while “Gambari will bring to bear his skills in conflict resolution, lkonne will advance the frontiers of Buhari’s agrarian revolution.”
In a statement signed by the Secretary General, Dim Uche Okwukwu, Ohanaeze urged the President to spread the joy of appointments evenly to all geopolitical zones.
While pledging its continued support for the President’s agrarian revolution, the group stressed food production as the panacea for the looming post-COVID-19 gross unemployment, hunger and economic paralysis.