The Southeast heard yesterday what it should do to have a shot at the Presidency in 2023 – support the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari.
All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain and Voice of Nigeria (VON) Director-General Osita Okechukwu said that only the Southeast people can deny the region of the presidency in 2023 if they vote against Buhari in the next year presidential election.
He warned that the fruit of whatever they sow with their votes would be there for them to harvest in 2023, should they cast their ballot against Buhari.
Okechuku, who was reacting to the statement credited to the Ohanaeze Ndigbo to the effect that 2023 Igbo presidency quest is a plot to hoodwink the region, counselled the Igbo leadership to put its house in order and organise the region ahead of the 2023 presidency rather than agonise.
He said: “May I once more appeal to the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to start organising for Nigeria’s president of Igbo extraction in 2023, instead of agonising. It is surreal for the truism is that equity, natural justice and good conscience is on our side.
“All we need to do is for the Ohanaeze Ndigbo leadership to think out of the box, reflect deeply, and dust off ancient stereotypes and prejudices by voting for President Buhari.
“The real politics is that voting Buhari will better galvanise and strengthen our alliance with the North, more than voting for Atiku Abubakar. Buhari has a vote bank of 10-12 million voters, mostly his core followership reflected in his bids in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 presidential elections.
“Is it not disheartening for the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Prince Uche Achi-Okpagha to agonise thus?”
He quoted the Ohanaze as saying: “Note that neither President Buhari, nor any Northern political stalwart has made a pronouncement on the 2023 presidency, instead they have allowed some cabinet members of Yorubas extraction, including Osinbajo and Fashola, to dissipate energy to the effect that Southwest would have presidency in 2023. It is an orchestrated plot to hoodwink the people of the two regions in order to elicit their votes.”
Okechukwu reminded his kinsmen of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha’s statement that “the quickest and easiest means to the presidency for the Southeast is to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term”.
He also reminded them that they “can short-circuit the period in terms of only having him there for another four years and whatever they do in 2019 will determine what will happen thereafter because politics is a game of numbers and it is like a cooperative society.”
Okechukwu went on: “Whatever you bring as an investment when dividends are going to be shared, you will get proportionate with your investment and your investment in politics is what you bring to the table and I urge the Southeast to look at this matter seriously that every time we have a presidency in Nigeria, it is negotiated in several ways. Either negotiated by votes or what you bring to the table and you must negotiate from the position of strength.”
Reminding them that the Southeast remained the only zone in the Southern Belt that has not presided over Nigeria from the Aso Villa since the rotation of the presidency between Northern and Southern Belts began in 1999, he said: “2023 is our turn, unless we wittingly or unwittingly throw it away.
“Hence, it is my candid view that with such immeasurable equity, natural justice and good conscience on our side, 2023 president is Ndigbo’s turn; unless Ohanaeze continues to angonise instead of organising.
“The present rotation convention, we mustn’t forget, was in the first place constructed to engender equity, peace and harmony of our dear nation. Let’s harvest it.
“One therefore appeals to Ohanaeze leadership to place the core Igbo interest above partisanship and demagoguery; for the quickest and surest route to end the vexatious issue of marginalisation and create a sense of belonging is 2023 president of Igbo extraction.”