A group, under the aegis of Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development has emphasized the need for all political interest groups to allow the South East rule Nigeria for the sake of justice and equity.
Their calls is coming ahead of 2023 general elections, where they noted that since other regions have ruled for years, all component parts of the country ought to be fairly and equitably treated in the nation’s political affairs.
The northern elders acknowledged that the Igbos have been marginalized in the scheme of things in the country,appealing to both the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to field candidates of South East extraction.
The elders made their position known on Sunday, in a statement by their national coordinator, Engr. Zana Goni and the National Women Leader, Hajia Mario Bichi, arguing that the Igbos of South East should produce the next President to maintain the culture of rotational presidency between the North and South, which they stressed has “helped to douse the political tension in Nigeria.”
“We, therefore, recommend that it be continued for now for the good of the federation,” the statement quoted the northern elders as saying.
The elders said since President Buhari is from the North, the right thing was that “after his eight-year tenure, the next president should come from Southern Nigeria and since South West and South South have occupied the office in the current dispensation, the South East is next in line in the spirit of the rotation principle, fairness, equity and justice.”
“This will bring an end to the manifest marginalisation of the South East. This will foster national unity, and also bring to a close the bitterness of the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, which has lingered for 50 years since the end of hostilities and engender unity,”it added.
They thanked the elite and leaders of the South East extraction for not taking cessation as an option despite the inglorious activities of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, which it accused of attempting to destabilize Nigerian’s unity by hiding under the delayed Ibo presidency.
They also tasked other zones to queue in by supporting a president from the South East, vowing that it is either Igbo presidency or nothing.
“We wish to thank Igbo elites and leaders for openly coming out to denounce the treasonable activities of the leader of outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who hinged his action on the delayed emergency of Igbo presidency.”
Even though the APC said they will do North-South zoning, it has become a culture in Nigeria that no zone is allowed to continue beyond eight years. You can take that from the time of Obasanjo.
“If all the major geopolitical zones in the country, and especially the major ethnic groups in the country have all been presidents, and in all fairness, justice and equity, we should be looking at the South East to produce the president.
“There is no denying the fact that the Igbos have contributed greatly to the development of this country. It is time for us all to reciprocate their good gestures through mass support for the next president to emerge from the South East. This is the time for it, the statement further said.
It read further: “At a time that our national unity is so threatened, we believe that a detribalised tribe holding the presidency at this time is the surest way of restoring Nigeria’s unity.”
The Igbos, 50 years after the war, have been so marginalised. To heal that wound and to put that war behind us, we think if the country reaches out to them by supporting them produce the 2023 presidency, it will be the masterstroke to heal the wounds.
“And finally, if that wound is not healed and is made deeper, it can only promote tribal groups”.