There seems to be no let down in the clamour for an Igbo man to become the President of the nation in 2023, as there are indications that prominent leaders of Igbo extraction are closing ranks and have been having series of meetings in order to intensify efforts on their bid to achieve the aim.
The meetings, which multiple sources said had leaders of thought, prominent politicians, traditional rulers, businessmen and industrialists, among others, in attendance had been taking place at the home of a former governor in the South East, whom sources say is the coordinator of the project. To this end, many of the Igbo leaders are said to have buried their political differences in order to accomplish the task.
However, sources within the group said there had been no decision on the choice of candidate as well as the political party to use for the project.
This is coming as Association of South East Town Unions (ASETU), lent its support to the agenda, saying that the region is handling the 2023 presidency agenda painstakingly, just as its National President, Chief Emeka Diwe, confirmed that there are ongoing meetings and consultations over the matter.
Adopting Yoruba model Further checks by our correspondents however revealed that, while some of the Igbo leaders are insisting on fielding a common candidate for the top job, others are of the opinion that the race should adopt the 1999 Yoruba model, in which the major political parties: the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Alliance for Democracy (AD) fielded Yoruba men: Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (PDP) and Chief OLu Falae (AD).
According to most of the sources within the group, the Yoruba model is actually gaining attention of most the leaders, going by its acceptability within the assembly. “We are very serious about this project.
For once we are putting our differences aside to see this thing through. We are insisting that they should give us the two candidates for the APC and the PDP, so that it would be like what happened to the Yoruba race in 1999”, said one of the sources. It was also gathered that a prominent Igbo business tycoon, who is very close to a former governor in the South West has offered to bankroll the project, and to be assisted by other magnates.
The businessman, whose ‘empire’ cuts across the West African coast, is already reaching out to those that may want to prove stubborn, and he is said to be in touch with his friends in other regions, including the South West and the North over the project.
According to our source, the meeting has the blessings of all that matters in the South East, including those that are not presently resident in the country, as some of them who couldn’t attend had given their blessings to the parley. “It was a meeting supported by our leaders, irrespective of political affiliations. Everybody wants an Igbo man to clinch the seat, so it depends on how we play our own game.
The meeting will later resolve who and who to run and which platform. “But for now, we just want everybody that matters to key into the project, and that is what we are gradually achieving.
Once that is fully settled, the next stage would be to determine those that can accommodate our interests when they get to office. We’re not joking -ASETU Speaking on the supposed necessity of the agenda, Diwe, who leads many socio-political groups in Igboland, said the present efforts were to ensure that the agenda was realised, and Ndigbo are serious with the 2023 presidency agenda.
Noting that the issue is on the front burner because of its importance, Diwe said the 2023 presidency was not an individual opinion, but a collective decision, which explained reasons for the different meetings and consultations currently going on.
“Knowing what town unions represent in Igboland, in our structure, issues as important as this are not what we go about with a personal opinion. It is something we go about with the opinion of the Igbos represented by the five chairmen of the South East states as collated from their various states. “So, this evening (last night) we’re having a night session on this matter in Enugu and by tomorrow (today), there will be an answer on the matter. I have my own opinion, but it is the general opinion of the Igbo, the structure I represent that will go.
We’re not joking with this”, he said. No going back, says Rep In the same vein, a member of the House of Representatives Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon Benjamin Kalu, has said that the clamour for the South East to clinch the Presidency is real and a genuine aspiration of the people of the region, saying that it is offensive to ask if the region was willing and ready to take up the challenge of leading Nigeria.
He said: “It is as offensive as asking one of the sons of a great man, if he thinks he is entitled to his father’s throne and inheritance when the others have had a share; unless you are indirectly questioning his paternity. “Are you aware of anything cogent enough to disqualify the people of the South East from aspiring to lead this nation?
If you know please tell me. What else is more genuine than the fact that the South East has supported other regions to occupy that position and have patiently waited for it to go round in turns? “National peace and unity found in cohesion is enhanced when every tribe and tongue is given the sense of belonging they desire and deserve.
Beyond this, it is politics, not traditional birthrights, it is never given, it is taken. Advising his kinsmen to further close ranks and stop playing politics of hatred, Kalu said the time for the zone to be more firm and united had come, so as to clinch the number job in the country.
“The South East should stop swimming against the tide in the bid to show strength. We are stronger when we partner to build bonds and confidence than when we show the strength of individuality.
There is wisdom in aligning properly and timely too. We can’t deliver the dream alone; we need a strong partnership with the rest of the regions.
“The Igbo enweghi eze (the Igbo nation has no king) ancient philosophy has to give way because my generation is in search of true leadership found in selflessness and patriotism to Nigeria, not just the Igbo nation.” Contrary view But on the contrary, Saturday Telegraph also gathered that, apart from some individuals who have been posturing as possible candidates, there is yet no formal and concerted effort to build a common platform for the project.
A source who is conversant with the political trends in the region said that while some personalities including one of the serving governors had shown interest in the project, the bulk of the political heavyweights were lukewarm about it because they were not convinced about it’s feasibility.
“The real political leaders are not showing interest yet because the atmosphere is still very hazy.
The average political leader in the South East believes more in restructuring of Nigeria than getting the Presidency under the current political structure. This is because they are being realistic that even if they get the Presidency today, there is nothing much they can achieve with it under the current political structure. “Secondly, if you are talking about power shifting to the South East in 2023, under which party are you going to launch the campaign?
The bulk of South East leaders are not in APC but in PDP but APC is the party in power. We also know that the issue of power shift transcends political parties and that is why some prominent Nigerians from other zones are agitating for it to go to the South East.
“We are not unmindful of the clamour too in the South West by politicians of the APC stock who feel that their being in power today entitles them to get it. What I can tell you is that the coast is still foggy and nobody can tell you with certainty where the pendulum will swing”, he said.