The South South Elders Forum (SSEF) has asked political parties in the country to zone their 2023 presidential tickets to the Niger Delta region.
The convener, Anabs Sara-Igbe said the call was necessitated by the fact that former President Goodluck Jonathan only served one term and for fairness, equity and justice’ sake it would be proper for the parties to zone their presidential slot to the Niger Delta to enable the zone to complete its two terms.
Sara-Igbe told The Guardian in Port Harcourt that it would be unfair and insensitive for the South West geopolitical zone to want to produce the next President in 2023 because it produced the President between 1999 and 2007 and Vice President from 2015 till date.
“The South West had done eight years having produced a president and a Vice President. So, the South West should not talk about vying for the presidency in 2023. If the South West wants to go back to Aso Rock, then nothing stops the North from desiring to return to power.
“Constitutionally, the Niger Delta region was supposed to produce the President for two terms, but Jonathan did five and half years. So, we are saying that if the principle of zoning is applied, after President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure, power should shift to the South and we should be allowed to complete our term before it goes to other parts,” he said.
He also explained it would have been most appropriate to support the South East geopolitical zone for the presidency in 2023, but that the region seems not prepared for it now.
“Activities of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) seem to have taken preeminence in the zone over clamour for the presidency. The South East would have been the best for it, but the zone is not prepared for it.
“Its people have been fighting for Biafra instead of fighting for the presidency. If they don’t believe in one Nigeria at this point, I don’t think Nigerians will like to support them for now until they convince Nigerians that they believe in one Nigeria,” he said.
Sara-Igbe added that it was imperative that the rest of the country supports the Niger Delta to complete its second term slot because proceeds from crude oil exploration from the zone had been the mainstay of the Nigeria’s economy for decades, insisting that the Niger Delta has been a stabilising zone in the country.