By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
Igbo leaders, including the current Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, have urged the mainstream political parties to give their presidential tickets to south east in 2023 in the interest of justice and national unity.
After a cross-party meeting of the Southeast leaders in Igbere, the home country of the Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate and former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzo Kalu, the leaders said that the south west and the south-south zones which made up the entire south had respectively produced Nigeria’s presidents in Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, leaving them behind.
In a communique jointly signed by Kalu; the former deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim; Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Nkeiru Onyejeocha; the spokesman of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu and the National Chairman of United Progressives Party, UPP, Chief Chekwas Okorie at the end of the meeting and made available to Vanguard, the leaders also called on Nigerians across all geopolitical zones and ethnic nationalities to support Nigeria’s president of Igbo extraction in 2023.
The communique read “Political leaders of the South-East across all political persuasions met at Igbere, Abia State, on January 5, 2021, to discuss the political future of the geopolitical zone vis-à-vis the 2023 general election.
“The meeting recalled that Nigerians across political, ethnic, and religious divides fought hard, long, and collectively to enthrone the current democratic dispensation as the surest way to engender national development and guarantee a just and equitable society where every section of the country enjoys a sense of belonging.
“The meeting observed that the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has rotated between Northern and Southern Nigeria and among the various geopolitical zones. Thus, the South West and South-South geopolitical zones in the southern part of the country have produced the President of Nigeria. Hence as power is expected to rotate to the South in 2023, the meeting noted that the South East is the only zone in the South that is yet to produce a President of Nigeria in the current democratic dispensation.
“The meeting further observed that the people of the South East have continued to demonstrate their commitment to the unity and development of the country. Not only has the geopolitical zone actively supported the emergence of the Nigerian President of other geopolitical extractions, the people are also known to be major agents of development and heavy investors outside their zone and often the next in population after the indigenes in any state of Nigeria. Our well-pronounced presence and investments in every nook and cranny of the country represent the firmest and most practical demonstration of faith in the unity, peace, and continued corporate existence of the country, for where a man’s treasure is, there his heart lies also.”
“In view of the above and after exhaustive and incisive deliberations, South East political leaders resolved to:
“Recommit ourselves to the deepening of the nation’s democracy as the surest way of fast-tracking national development and building an egalitarian society where no man is oppressed for reasons of his class, ethnic, religious or political affiliation and background.