- Ahead of the 2023 presidential election, Governor Umahi said Buhari's body language supports power shifting to the south
- The Ebonyi governor, however, lamented that the southern region is divided over which zone should produce the president
- Umahi hinted that the southwest and the south-south should leave the ticket for the southeast in the interest of fairness and equity
Abakaliki, Ebonyi state - Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state has said President Muhammadu Buhari’s body language supports candidates from the south but the region is divided.
The governor, who received the president in Ebonyi disclosed this during an interview on Channels TV on Friday, May 6.
“We cannot be honest by half. When zoning doesn’t exclude people from contesting. It’s been happening. There is no political face that is not zoning in this country. And the body language of the Mr President is well disposed toward the presidency shifting to the south.
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“But when the south cannot handle it on the basis of equity, fairness and justice, then we should continue to suggest that we shouldn’t blackmail the north; we should deceive ourselves. This thing should be thrown open because if there is no zoning, then you have no right to continue to agitate that the north cannot contest.
“We cannot be used to drag presidency to the south and then we are shortchanged. So we should be part of such agitation if such fairness and equity cannot be ascribed to us. That is the position of most leaders in the southeast."
It's the turn of the southeast, says Umahi
Governor Umahi said while the southwest has the constitutional right to contest, the southeast should be allowed to produce Buhari's successor as the zone has "never tested it."
“I’m not asking that people from the South-West should not run; it is their constitutional right. But I want to say that we have worked together, the southern governors said look presidency should rotate to the south, but on the basis of equity, fairness, and justice we had the South-East in mind since the southeast never tested it.
“Now it has become clear that the platform upon which we collectively asked the north to concede the presidency to the south is no longer the same platform upon which the realities are based; then it’s fair and just that we should be able to allow anybody in the country to run," the Ebonyi governor said.
2023: Afenifere dumps southwest aspirants, backs southeast for presidency
Meanwhile, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, on Saturday, January 29, said any attempt to deny the southeast the presidency in 2023 is a gang-up against the region dominated by Igbo.
Afenifere leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo said those opposed to Igbo president are discriminatory against the southeast region.
“If there is anything like power shift in Nigeria, it should go to the southeast. There is doubt about that, any other thing is just gang-up," Pa Adebanjo said.