NEWSMAN, Abuja – Elder statesmen Alhaji Tanko Yakassai and Chief Mbazulike Amechi, have canvassed for Igbo presidency in 2023, saying the South-East zone remained the only part of the country yet to produce a President.
Alhaji Yakassai, who spoke in an interview on a television programme monitored in Lagos, however, said power was not served anybody on a silver platter.
Consequently, he said that he supports shifting the presidency to the South East in 2023 but urged Ndigbo to come together and pursue it through dialogue and reaching out, Vanguard reported.
“I have a lot of sympathies for the Igbos as far as producing a president for Nigeria is concerned. The South-West, South-South and the North have all tasted it but the South East has not tasted the presidency. However, nobody gives political power to anybody. You have to fight for it. So, I expect the South East to reach out to other sections of the country for votes”, Yakassai said.
“The Igbo should go out, seek the understanding of fellow Nigerians to support their aspiration for the Presidency but should not threaten or antagonise people. They should persuade them to vote for you,” Yakassai stated further.
The elder statesman who also counselled the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, to slow down on his agitation for the state of Biafra, said “We are all better off in a united Nigeria. Though the Igbos have not produced a president, they dominate the economic life of the country”
Reacting to Tanko Yakassi’s position, another elder statesman and an aviation Minister in the First Republic, Mbazulike Amechi, agreed with him saying it should not be an issue of debate.
“To me, it is not Igbo presidency but the president of Nigeria of Igbo extraction. It is something that should not be discussed or argued because the whole peace and progress of the future and oneness of this country depends on that” Amechi said.
Adding that “We all fought for the independence of this country and the southeast produced the greatest number of the nationalists that led that struggle but the effect of the coup of 1966 that led to the civil war has continued and has made some parts of the country not be treated well and pushed aside; and this does not make for peace and unity of the country”
The prominent Igbo leader also shed more light on IPOB’s Demand.
“As for IPOB, I have been able to bring them and Ohanaeze Ndigbo together and they are enjoying peace now and I am happy that they have reconciled. I think IPOB is pursuing their own programme and I do not think their programme is conflicting with the issue of Nigeria presidency of Igbo extraction. The truth is that Igbo land and Ndigbo have not been fairly treated in Nigeria and IPOB says if you cannot accommodate us in Nigeria, let us go; Ohanaeze is fighting for justice and fairness within Nigeria”, Amechi explained.
–We will join Kanu to fight for Biafra if South-East doesn’t get Presidency in 2023–
Meanwhile, the former national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, has declared that Ndigbo would join Nnamdi Kanu, to seek Biafra secession from Nigeria if South-East does not produce the president of the country in 2023.
“In the spirit of fairness and equity, Nigeria should give the presidency to South East in 2023, otherwise, we will join him and fight for Biafra”, Nwodo blasted.
Nwodo, who was also the former governor of Enugu State and national secretary of PDP said that Ndigbo have suffered grievous marginalisation in Nigeria and should be given a chance to produce a president for the sake of equity and national unity.
In an exclusive interview with Vanguard, Nwodo added that South-East geopolitical zone has been persecuted for over 50 years. “In the first republic, the country was led by Tafawa Balewa, in the second republic, it was led by Shehu Shagari. And then, those of us in PDP made a very strong case to move the presidency to South East, because even the military people were all from the north, apart from Aguiyi Ironsi who presided over for a very short time”, he said.
“We managed to convince them at the party and Olusegun Obasanjo and Alex Ekwueme contested. That was when Obasanjo won and after his tenure, he handed power to another northerner, late Alhaji Musa Yar’Adua who unfortunately died in office and the Vice president completed the tenure. President Muhammadu Buhari will complete his eight years in office by 2023. Following equity, the presidency should come to the South-East because Obasanjo was president for eight years, now Yemi Osibanjo is also the vice president and would finish his eight-year tenure by 2023”, Nwodo stated further.
-Ndigbo should present an acceptable presidential aspirant –
Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba has urged the South East to exercise caution in its quest or campaign for the “Igbo Presidency”.
Minister Nwajiuba also advised the people to make sure that whoever they will be presenting in the 2023 election would be someone that will be accepted by every part of the country.
“Anybody talking about Igbo presidency should be careful because there was never a time we heard about Hausa presidency. When the Yoruba were contesting, we did not hear of Yoruba presidency, why is our own different?” Nwajiuba asked.
“There was never a time we as Igbo did not contest in the primaries, the only thing was that we were not voted. Any day you bring out an aspirant that is acceptable to other Nigerians, that is the day you indeed want the position of president in Nigeria. All you need is majority”, Nwajiuba further explained.
The minister said the South East knowing
every of their sons and daughters should embark on an introspective search for
an acceptable aspirant else it would continue to bemoan its fate in the