The Igbo leaders have ruled out their support for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019
– They noted that they are more interested in restructuring of Nigerian than Igbo presidency in 2023
– The leaders said that all geopolitical zones in the country should be given equal right
Some leaders from the southeast geo-political zone of Nigerians have affirmed they would not succumb to the claim that the zone would produce the president in 2023 if they support the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
In separate responses to Saturday Vanguard, the Igbo leaders said that nothing short of the restructuring of the country to put the various geopolitical zones on equal footing would appease them.
9jahitplay.com gathered that the leaders, including people from the apex Igbo socio-cultural body, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, politics, and other Igbo-centred organisations dismissed suggestions that voting for President Buhari in 2019 would make the prospect of an executive president of Nigeria from the southeast a realisable prospect.
One of President Buhari’s leading canvassers in the southeast, Osita Okechukwu, director-general of the Voice of Nigeria, VON was, however, unwavering in his expectation that Buhari was the surest and safest channel to the realisaiton of a Nigerian president from the southeast.
Okechukwu further deposed that the Buhari administration had done enough to earn the confidence of the people of the region.
In his comments, a former minister of health, Prof. ABC Nwosu said that Ndi Igbo voting for APC in 2019 hoping to become president in 2023 will be making the biggest mistake of their lives.
He said: “They will in effect be voting themselves into irrelevance and second-class citizenship in Nigeria. How can the APC where the leadership consisting of President Buhari, Vice President Osinbajo, the chairman of party, Odigie-Oyegun and national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu midwife an Igbo presidency in 2023?
“How will that happen? It cannot happen. As Chief MKO Abiola asked: How can you shave a man’s hair in his absence? The best option for Ndigbo is to look for an alternative where they are represented in the center of power in 2019.
“Ndi Igbo being represented at the centre as Vice Presidential candidate in 2019 will ensure that they are not dealt out in the backrooms where who shall become president and who becomes vice president are settled.
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“If Ndi Igbo are in an alternative political party that absorbs a third force, this will put them at the center where they will make sure that they are represented. They cannot afford to wait till 2027 and so, the northern presidential candidate in this alternative party shall serve out the remaining four years and no more.
“All those advocating that Ndi Igbo should wait till 2027are enemies of Ndiigbo and consequently, enemies of Nigeria because Ndigbo are nation builders. For emphasis, the Igbo ethnic group cannot endure beyond 2023.
“The restiveness in Igbo land and the neo-Biafra agitations are self-evident and only opportunistic ambitious presidential candidates will fail to see this restiveness. The tenure of the president that will emerge in 2019 must be for years only. If Mandela with all his greatness did four years, the next President of Nigeria must do four years and give way in the interest of peace and political stability.
“This was what the north had expected of President Jonathan in 2015. The rest is history. Ndigbo must avoid like leprosy any presidential candidate whose body language indicates eight years especially those of them who have no views on restructuring which is the topmost Igbo agenda currently.
“For the Igbo, restructuring is top of the agenda. The presidency is second. And good governance can only happen when there is peace and security. Restructuring brings about massive devolution of power and resources from the centre to the federating units and stops the massive roguery at the centre. The Igbo position is that there must be devolution and restructuring of Nigeria.
“Those benefiting from the present unfair structure are the ones resisting restructuring not realizing that they are hurting themselves in the long run. The summary is that if Ndigbo vote for APC in 2019, they will be voting themselves into slavery in Nigeria. So, the alternative should be for them to look for a platform that offers only a four-year waiting period, a platform where an Igbo man is at the centre, preferably as the running mate.
“That’s what the Igbo should be looking for. Ndigbo expect that any Nigerian whether from the north, south-west or South-South will show understanding that continuing to exclude a major group in Nigeria from the presidency is wrong and a recipe for political instability.
The chairman, southeast Senate caucus, Senator Enyinninya Abaribe said: “Ndigbo are not focused on Presidency under the flawed structure that is prevailing in Nigeria. Ndigbo are more focused on restructuring the country where justice, equity, fair play and true federalism hold sway. After that, we can now seek the Presidency.”
The special assistant to the President General of Ohanaeze, Chief Emeka Attamah, said the most important thing to Ndigbo and other Nigerians is restructuring of the country so that the youth will realise their potentials.
“The President General and the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo have repeatedly said that our people will negotiate with those they will support to know what is there for them.