- General Joseph Okonkwo Okoloagu said the president is open to an Igbo presidency
- The APC chieftain said Igbos have to play their politics right
- Okoloagu said he would love to see an Igbo presidency in his lifetime
General Joseph Okonkwo Okoloagu (ret.) who is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that President Muhammadu Buhari is open to the possibility of an Igbo presidency in 2023.
In an interview with Vanguard, the former military chief said he met with the president in 2018 and that the president seemed positive on the issue of an Igbo presidency.
He said: “January 2018 was the last time l met with President Buhari when the caucus of South-East APC went to Aso Rock to see him and extract commitment and support for lgbo presidency in 2023 and, in fairness to him, he was open. Why not? He has always admitted that what is good for the goose is also good for the gander. And he doesn’t see why an lgbo man cannot be President in 2023. Now, having said that, let’s talk about the reality. Those of us who moved from AC to ACN and now to APC know that it is not that l hated the popular party of my kinsmen but you can’t put all your eggs in one basket, and that’s why we have not been able to get it right. If the lgbo want a party of their own, they should invest in a particular party and let it control most of the states where we have influence, just like the Yoruba did. But you can say APGA today, tomorrow we are in PDP. There is no direction and you and l are talking about lgbo presidency in 2023. Even sickness has period of gestation.”
Okoloagu said for the Igbos to get a possibly shot at the presidency in 2023, they need to do away with ethnic politics.
He said: “I have looked at it politically, maturely, militarily and what have you, it’s very doubtful but democracy is a game of numbers. You don’t do ethnic politics like the Yoruba have done, the Hausa have done.
“So if the Igbo feel they are strong in the PDP, let them give us an lgbo PDP candidate just like we the lgbo in APC are going to request. If we get it, good but what is even the guarantee that we will make it at the end of the day? Are we going to have the support of the people because some people carry PDP as if it’s a birth right and that has not helped us? One of the things that pain me in election happened in 2015 when l made it clear to my people that if we don’t get into the Senate and the House of Representatives, you have to lobby for appointment and that appointment is of no use because you are appointed at the pleasure of the man who appointed you. But if l, Gen. Okoloagu, is a senator today and l stand on the red carpet, the floor of the Senate and say ‘this is what l want’, l must pursue it. You cannot as an appointee get up and tell the man who appointed you that you want transformer for your people. Are you the one that appointed him or he that appointed you? So, our people are getting it completely wrong, and that is the tragedy of lgbo politics. 2023, l don’t know but all of us in APC are interested in Igbo presidency. If at the primaries we are able to present Igbo candidate, it’s not only the Igbo in APC that will vote for him while the rest will lobby.”
"And those of them who came from the PDP to APC, l thought they were coming to build the party if they had brought their followers, unless they don’t have followers, because l know the heavy weights that defected from PDP to APC.
"The structure of Accord Party was my personal effort. I used my pension to start AC (in Enugu) and sustained it from AC to ACN and from ACN to APC. I thought my relief had come. But did we fare better in 2019 than we did 2015 when we didn’t have them? It is not as if l don’t want lgbo presidency in 2023 but one thing l know is that the Constitution makes democracy a game of numbers. So we must fight for it. I would love to see lgbo president in my lifetime. But you cannot desire something without working for it. All I am telling the lgbo is to work for it and we will get it."
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Meanwhile, Igbo Youth Assembly (IYA) worldwide, appealed to President Buhari to always seek the advice of former leaders like Gen. Yakubu Gowon in handling difficult political issues plaguing the country.
The group made the appeal in a statement issued on Friday by its President; Mazi Ifeanyi Nwaudunna after the group paid a visit to Gowon.
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