OHANEZE Ndigbo has expressed its bitter disappointment with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for not zoning its presidential ticket to the southeast geo-political zone during its recent screening exercise.
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.
Last week, the PDP held its presidential screening exercise and opened up the exercise to candidates from, all over the country. Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, Ohaneze Ndigbo’s general; secretary, accused the PDP of insincerity.
Mazi Isiguzoro said: “Ndigbo are not happy with the way PDP has abused the principles of the zoning formula enshrined in her constitution. This is unacceptable and has brought open the suspicion that the PDP national working committee (NWC) is not sincere with the Igbos after milking their votes for 20 years.
“Any attempts by the NWC to manipulate the primaries in the favour of Atiku or any other northerner will spell doom for the party. Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State and former Anambra State governor Peter Obi remained the best choice for the PDP.
“Both aspirants have shown courage and Igbo ingenuity in governance with a proven track record of accomplishments in Rivers and the Anambra states as governors. We have monitored the progress made by the two Igbo sons and approved that their approaches to issues of the day and the dilemma facing Nigeria have sparked rays of hope for a better Nigeria.
“Governor Wike has worked very hard to strengthen PDP as an opposition political party. This is why we are in support of Governors Ikpeazu and Ugwuanyi’s efforts to assist the Ohanaeze’s mandate of recovering Igbos in the south-south zone.
“It has been a herculean task to unite our kith and kin from south-south, who are part of us in line with the constitution of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. All Igbo speaking states of Ohanaeze, including Ikwerre in Rivers and Anioma in Delta are part of the 2023 Igbo presidency project.”
“Mr Peter Obi’s stand on issues of the economy and simplicity has earned him a lofty admiration amongst Nigerians. We are thus pleased that he has accepted the challenge of throwing his hat into the ring and we wish him the best ahead of the PDP primaries.”