HOUSE of God International Church presiding bishop Reverend Athan Azubuike has warned that Igbos may never produce the president of Nigeria even when they have all it takes to lead the country because they do not appear to be politically astute enough.
Although not constitutional, Nigeria’s component parts have a gentleman’s agreement that the presidency will rotate between the north and the south of the country. President Buhari’s tenure will end in 2023 and being a Fulani northern Muslim, it is expected that the next president will come from one of the three geo-political zones in southern Nigeria.
Since the return to democracy in 1999, the southwest has produced President Olusegun Obasanjo and the south-south President Goodluck Jonathan, so come 2023, the presidency should automatically go to the southeast. However, speaking at an event for young clergy in Owerri, Reverend Azubuike said that the average Igbo man is a trader and not a politician and as such they do not have the skills to mobilise people at the grassroots.
Reverend Azubuike said: “One thing is that an average Igbo person is a trader only interested in profit-making, we are not interested in working and are not interested in the grassroots. Once it’s a few months to elections, Igbo politicians will start visiting churches in remote villages, that is the sense of a trader, not a politician.”
”Let me be very frank with all on why Igbos may never produce a president but play second fiddle by asking who is coming out in Igbo land? You’ll tell me it’s Rochas Okorocha, Anyim Pius Anyim, Sam Ohuabunwa among others but since Pius became the senate president, how many times have you seen him and others in Imo State?
The presidency is not a local government election. Today, people are talking about the 2023 presidency and I ask those Igbo politicians claiming to be interested in the race what have they been doing to galvanize the grassroots.
“Why is it that an Igbo man is only interested in meeting people only when it’s a few months to any election? It’s arrant nonsense. If the programme organised by Mezie Imo Clergy Forum today was held in Yorubaland or the north, this place will be filled with great personalities but here the reverse is the case.”
Speaking on the same subject, former Anambra State governor Chukwuemeka Ezeife, said that the southeast was ready to kneel down, even prostrate and beg in order to get the opportunity to produce Nigeria’s president come 2023. Speaking at the United for Better Nigeria Initiative National Convention in Abuja, he said it was the right time for Ndigbo to produce the next president of the country.
He, however, pointed out that the presidency is not given to anyone but people have to work and show that they really merit the position. Chief Ezeife noted that one of the ways to put a south easterner in power come 2023 was for the region to swallow its pride and start begging every other region for the presidential seat.
Chief Ezeife said:“So I found Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and other groups in this place talking about the need for federal character. If you do it that way, there will be unity, if there is fairness, equity, justice, you will have unity and progress.
“In the absence of those, you see where we are now. It is not a matter of to give us president, we don’t give. You have to work for it, the Igbo does not prostrate.
“The Igbo man does not kneel down but this time, we are prepared to kneel down to every part of Nigeria, every group, every ethnic group in Nigeria. We are prepared to even prostrate because we believe in this country.”