Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s recent call for the South East geopolitical zone to produce the next President of Nigeria in 2019, has been rejected by the Enugu State chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The party, which condemned the proposal by Obasanjo, asked the South East to wait for its turn to take a shot at the nation’s foremost office till 2023. It said that the proposal by the ex-Nigerian leader was against the existing power sharing formula in which the Presidency of the country is being rotated between the North and South every eight years.
In a press statement issued by the state APC Publicity Secretary, Mrs. Kate Offor, the party said that in accordance with the eight-year rotation principle between the North and South, Ndigbo should support President Muhammadu Buhari for a second tenure in 2019, and produce his successor in 2023 when the power will be shifted to Southern Nigeria.
According to Offor: “In political domain there is the law with its legal teeth and the convention with its moral weight; the political convention today in Nigeria which the ex-President is a prime beneficiary states that the ‘rotation of President is South-eight years and North-eight years’. We stand by that convention.”
The Enugu APC said that “since our entry into the 4th Republic in 1999, we supported Obasanjo, the South West by extension, we supported Jonathan, the South-South by extension, now that Ndigbo has resolved to support Buhari (North West), we are hopeful of 2023.”
Offor welcomed former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani and other prominent politicians in the state, who decamped from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC.
She said: “For us, the exodus of Ndigbo from the PDP and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) into the APC is a testimony and a realisation that it’s bad politics to put all our eggs in one basket so no one ethnic group can benefit in isolation. It is better for Ndigbo to play in the big league and the mainstream of Nigerian politics.
“The surge is also a vindication of our true position that in the fullness of time, Ndigbo stands to gain more from President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration than they did in the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr Goodluck Jonathan’s regime,” Offor stated.
On what Ndigbo should expect to gain from APC when Buhari’s appointments are skewed against the South East, she quipped: “Appointment and re-appointment is a continuous exercise; all we know is that if Ndigbo support Buhari, our infrastructure such as roads would be revamped and our prosperity rekindled. Whereas, in the last 16 years, we had prominent positions – Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Minister of Finance, Ministers of Power, Deputy Senate President, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives among others; our roads, hospitals, schools and electricity were in decay and poverty, unemployment and hunger multiplied. One percent became millionaires while 99 percent became poor.”
The Enugu APC stance came at a time when Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha said that three South East Governors from the PDP would soon decamp to APC.
Okorocha said that he is consulting with three governors in the South-East zone, who will soon join him in the APC.
In a press statement he issued after a stakeholders’ meeting of the South East APC leaders in Owerri, the Imo State capital, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Governor, Mr. Sam Onwuemodo, said that “we are going to support President Buhari for the eight years he is going to lead the nation. This is the time for Ndigbo to work together. We are also going to use the Anambra State election to show that APC has arrived in the South-East zone. The Igbo played bad politics in 2015. Today, we have lost a lot. We are not anywhere because of our bad politics”.
According to Okorocha, being the only APC governor in the South East gives him worries, stressing that he wants other political leaders in Igboland to join the move and join the APC.
Meanwhile, Nnamani has emerged the new leader of APC in the South East zone.
Okorocha explained that the decision was to give Ndigbo recognition in national politics.
Nnamani had said the Igbo need more representation at the national leadership of the APC where key decisions are taken and at the National Assembly.