By Valentine Nnamani (Enugu Correspondent)
Ahead of the 2023 general election, Igbos of the South East Nigeria, have commenced an early campaign for the actualization of their quest for an Igboman president of Nigeria.
The campaign formally took off in Enugu on Friday with the formal inauguration of the Nigerian Presidential Project 2023 - South East Option, a political advocacy organisation with the acronym, NPP.
Chancellor of the group, Dr. Walter Oji, said the mission of NPP is to actualize "the full integration of the South East geo-political zone into the Nigeria’s political power distribution with particular regard to the office of the President of Nigeria".
Oji said at a press conference in Enugu to unveil the organization and its plans, that now is the most auspicious time for the Igbos of the South East to produce a President for Nigeria. He stated that the full political rehabilitation of the South East Zone into Nigeria’s political power distribution is one aspect of that post-war federal policy that have not fully been achieved by successive governments in the country.
Oji also pointed out that the quest for Nigerian President of South East extraction is not antithetical to the clamour for restructuring of the federation, insisting that Igbos have a political and statutory rights to stake a claim for the nation's top job in 2023, the desire for restructuring notwithstanding.
The NPP Chancellor stated that the government of the war time Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon’s declaration of: “No Victor, No Vanquished” to reconcile and re-integrate the Igbos after the Nigeria/Biafra civil war with the regime's three R policy of reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction, did not entirely achieve its objectives, but could only do so with the support for the Igbos to actualize their quest for president in 2023.
Oji who argued that power rotation in Nigeria since the inception of the botched second republic has been a North to South and South to North arrangement with the President and office of the President rotating in like manner. “Under this arrangement and with the incumbent President coming from the Northern region and serving out his second tenure, the position of the President is obviously to rotate to the Southern region which consists three geo-political zones, namely, South West, South South and the South East. It is trite that South-West geopolitical zone produced former President Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999 to 2007, while the South-South geo-political zone produced former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010 to 2015.
“Therefore, there should be no doubt, there should be no question and there should be no equivocation, about the rightful demand by the South East geopolitical zone to produce the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria come 2023".
Oji remarked that since power is not a give-away, Igbos, he firmly advised, should vigorously stake a claim and go for the 2023 presidency which he viewed was the political turn of the South East. He enjoined all Nigerians to work together with the Igbos to actualize the Presidential dream. Particularly, he called on all the political parties in the country to immediately zone their Presidential slots to the South East.
The NPP Chancellor stated his group's preparedness to commit huge proportion of financial and human resources for the actualization of the presidency project. He also said that his organization has begun a cross-country zonal outreach across the Niger and Benue region, and across the Southern zones of Nigeria, to market the Igbo political aspiration.
“The people of the South East geopolitical zone are real time Nigerians. They have love and affection for all Nigerians and are always ready to sacrifice for others. They are now counting on all Nigerians to reciprocate the support and sacrifice the people of South East geopolitical zone have made for Nigeria’s national unity, progress and prosperity, by joining together to support the South East geo-political zone’s demand that they produce the next President of Nigeria of South East extraction come 2023.”
However, the birth of NPP is beginning to receive a zonal wide welcome as most rank and file Igbos and the political leaders of the zone have hailed the bold move as a good step in the right direction. NNL.