- Some elders from the southeast have said that the next president of Nigeria come 2023 must be from the region
- The elders led by a former governor of Anambra state argued that Igbos have never been given the opportunity to produce a president for the country
- Chukwuemka Ezeife noted that the elders will not tolerate any Igbo son playing second fiddle to any presidential candidate from another region in the forthcoming election
Igbo leaders under the aegis of the Igbo Elders Consultative Forum (IECF) have said that the next Nigerian president must emerge from the southeast geopolitical zone.
Vanguard reports that the elders also threatened heavy sanctions against any politician from the southeast region who accepts to serve as running mate to any candidate outside the zone.
Making this known at a press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday, February 16, the chairman of the IECF, Chukwuemka Ezeife, insisted that it is either the southeast produces the next president or the region will quit the country.
Ezeife who was a former governor of Anambra state the forum encouraged visionary, credible and creative presidential aspirants from the southeast to declare their intention to run for the presidency.
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He also encouraged these aspirants to ensure they pursue their ambition with every sense of seriousness, vigour and commitment.
Elders to sanction Igbo sons who enter the race as running mates to candidates from other regions
Further stating that leaders from the region are serious about this fresh directive, Ezeife warned that bootlickers angling to be running mates to candidates from other regions would be sanctioned.
“It is either we are allowed to produce the president of this country in 2023 to change the appalling narrative of continued decay, poverty, insecurity, poor governance, corruption and maladministration in Nigeria or out of it.
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"No half measure, as serious sanctions will be visited on any Igbo man or woman that sabotages this noble and patriotic decision of our people to provide for Nigeria a credible, visionary and creative president."
In fairness, equity and justice for all regions of Nigeria
Adding that the call for a president from the southeast is not just about legality or morality, Ezeife argued that other zones have been given the opportunity to serve Nigeria in that capacity except the Igbos.
The Sun reports that Ezeife in his submission said that for the sake of justice, equity and fairness, it is important to change the narrative that Nigeria is the sleeping giant of Africa.
Also speaking, Charles Nwekeaku, the secretary of IECF warned that any political party that does not zone its presidential ticket to the Southeast will lose the region’s votes.
“We are waiting for them (political parties), as they will meet their Waterloo this time, if they insist on shortchanging the Southeast people this rare opportunity of producing a credible, patriotic, detribalised and dynamic president of Nigeria in 2023."
Also at the briefing were a former minister of education, Professor S.C Madubuike, secretary-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo (FCT chapter), Nkonye Kingsley, His Royal Majesty, Igwe Ibe Nwosu, and several other Igbo scholars and traditional title holders.
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Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide has called on all political leaders to allow the southeast to produce the next president of Nigeria.
According to the president-general of the association, Professor George Obiozor, the country must create a political equilibrium that accommodates all the regions.
Going further, Obiozor pointed out that it is only the southeast that has not had a shot at the presidency since the return of democracy in 1999.
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Tinubu, an APC chieftain and former Lagos governor, announced on Monday, January 10, that he had informed President Buhari about his ambition.
George, however, said Tinubu is not fit to be Nigeria's president, adding that the APC leader "is living in cuckoo land".