IGBO Presidency Project Movement 2023 officials have warned politicians of northern extraction to respect the zoning of the presidency and relinquish power to the south of the country come 2023.
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 Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure will end in 2023 and being a Fulani northern Muslim, it is expected that the next president will come from 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. Amid claims that the southeast is being marginalised by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, numerous Igbo groups have argued for the recreation of the defunct republic of Biafra that existed briefly between July 1967 and January 1970.
Of late, certain politicians from northern Nigeria have threatened to tear up the gentleman’s agreement come 2023, saying another Fulani candidate should take over from President Buhari. However, the Igbo Presidency Project Movement 2023 has described the calls by the leader of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima that the north produce the next president as insulting to the sensibility of the 365 ethnic groups that make up the country.
After a meeting in Awka, the Anambra State capital, the group issued a statement signed by its national coordinator, Igboeli Arinzechukwu, saying it was an assault on the attempts to strengthen the nation’s unity, as well as her democracy. Mr Arinzechukwu said: “Nations are not held together by force but by a sense of justice, fairness and equity.
“Thus it is instrumental for young Nigerians like us who believe in the unity of Nigeria based on fairness and equity to immediately react to statements made by the coordinator of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Yerima Shettima. In a recent statement, Shettima clearly called for power to remain in the north after President Muhammadu Buhari would have exhausted his eight year tenure in 2023.
“Such a statement smacks largely of ignorance or contempt of the attempt by those who fought to restore our democracy and preserve the fragile unity of Nigeria by reaching the conventional notion of zoning which encouraged the rotation of the presidency between north and south. Rotational presidency had remained a trend in Nigeria and has been followed almost religiously with the exception of the Goodluck Jonathan era which was brought upon us by the demise of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in office but was immediately corrected in 2015 when these progressive forces brought change.”
The group vowed not to leave any stone unturned in their attempt to achieve the goal by working with all stakeholders to deliver the presidency to the southeast in 2023. It warned that the situation today cannot accommodate the thinking of Yerima.