Despite concerns from some quarters of the country about the South East’s readiness to run for president next year, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has declared that Ndigbo are now better prepared than the North was in 2015 when they were handed the presidency.
Ohanaeze, on the other hand, stated that while the Igbo are prepared, leaders are always crucial in the emergence of their successors, and asked President Muhammadu Buhari to perform the role expected of him as President.
Prof. George Obiozor, the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said in a statement yesterday that Igbos are prepared and ready for the 2023 Presidential election, insisting that the situation in Igbo land today is much more favourable and conducive than it was in 2015 and 1998, when President Buhari of the North first came to power.
“Let it be acknowledged and accepted that when President Buhari was elected in 2015, Ndigbo was more prepared than the North.” Boko Haram had threatened to overrun the North and the country at the time, and the nation’s top concern was security, and the question of who would ensure the country’s security favored Buhari, a previous Head of State and a General. The only preparedness in the north was having a man like Buhari available, who was expected to be capable of dealing with the security concerns in the north and throughout the country.
“How prepared were the people of the South West in 1999, when President Obasanjo was elected?” In that election, many individuals in the South-West did not vote for him. The inhabitants of the southwest zone were engulfed in NADECO issues and dissatisfaction with the June 12, 1993 election annulment. Regardless, the Nigerian nation and people, through the two major national political parties, allocated the presidency to the South West in order to repair and unify the country following the 1993 election crisis.
“The urgency of allocating the Presidency to the South East is a concept whose time has arrived now, if the truth be told.”
“Without a doubt, Ndigbo is prepared and anticipates it as a national priority.” It is also acceptable and rational that before any other zone in the country has a second pass at the presidency, Ndigbo should have their first shot,” Ohanaeze remarked.
As a result, the leading Igbo cultural organisation encouraged President Buhari to do his part in ensuring that a person from the southeast becomes president.
“No leader in history has ever been unconcerned with who will replace him, and President Buhari will be no different. As a result, it is predicted that Mr. President would play a key role in the selection of his successor.
“To this end, it is critical for the President not to lose sight of political events that might jeopardize the country’s national unity and corporate existence.” Mr. President is expected to carry out his strategy of national healing and reconciliation to its natural conclusion, according to Obiozor.
Ohanaeze disputed with some who questioned how anybody who loves Nigeria could talk about the presidency going to the South West in 2023, asking why the southeast should be excluded or if the southeast is not part of Nigeria.
“It will be wrong, unpatriotic, and against the national spirit and interest to deny Ndigbo their chance and pretend that they do not exist as members of the Nigerian country.”
“Ndigbo waited patiently and cooperatively for the Southern zones, the South West, and the South-South to have their turn at producing the country’s Presidents. Who wants to drive Ndigbo out of Nigeria by denying them a place in history as the nation’s first president?” Ohanaeze was perplexed.
Continuing, Ohanaeze Ndigbo warned Nigerian officials to “beware of those who seek to adopt a politically driven policy that sees the South East as enemy territory, which is a completely incorrect and unacceptable description of the situation in the southeast.”
The statement reminded Nigerians that “an overwhelming majority of Ndigbo do not believe in secession or independence from Nigeria,” referring to IPOB agitation. Instead of debating what is impossible, an Igbo President will focus on what can be done.
“Indeed, Ndigbo has displayed the highest values of patriotism and true patriotic propensities throughout the history of Nigeria, from Nnamdi Azikiwe to the present.” The friendliness and peaceful cohabitation with others, regardless of tribe, religion, or color, is what distinguishes Ndigbo by history and character. Marketers, travelers, entrepreneurs, and businesspeople are all Ndigbo.
“We all know that power-sharing is the devil in Nigerian politics, and an Igbo President will show all Nigerians that power-sharing can be done peacefully, legitimately, and with equality and fairness for everyone, as well as his readiness to accept the final option.”
“Other ethnic groups’ dread of Ndigbo is likewise unfounded and based on the imaginations of those who construct a skewed picture of Ndigbo. “We are looking for a solution, not a blame game,” Ohanaeze stated.
“As a result, all parties should zone the presidency to the south east because it is politically prudent and rational, morally justified and defendable, and patriotically persuasive.” It will be legally and ethically unjustified and a national political error, as well as a blatant and obvious example of discrimination, for any zone in the South to desire to hold the Presidency twice when the southeast has not had it even once.
“Above all, despising or ignoring other people’s sentiments or fundamental rights as fellow citizens stinks of irresponsible political adventurism.” No politician in Nigeria should be under the impression that Nigerians are unaware of what is wrong or right at this time; Nigerians are aware.
“We have many competent persons in Igbo land today who can address and solve Nigeria’s recurring and endemic socio-political problems and ensure peaceful coexistence for all inhabitants, regardless of tribe, religion, or race.” Nigeria and Nigerians would experience the true definition of a Federation with justice, equity, and fairness with an Igbo President,” Obiozor promised in the statement.