A group of Northern elders operating under the aegis of Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development has called on the two major parties in the country to zone the 2023 presidential ticket to the Southeast.
The group in a statement obtained by GWG affirmed that zoning the ticket to the Southeast was the right thing to do in the face of the marginalization of the Igbo in Nigeria.
The elders said that the patriotism of Igbo leaders who turned away from the secessionist calls of Nnamdi Kanu must be rewarded with the 2023 ticket.
The statement signed by the national coordinator, Engr. Zana Goni and the National Women Leader, Hajia Mario Bichi, said that the zoning of the 2023 ticket will replicate the decision of the two major parties in 1999 to zone the ticket to the Southwest towards mollifying the angst of the region after the death of Chief MKO Abiola.
“We, therefore, recommend that it be continued for now for the good of the federation,” the statement quoted the northern elders as saying.
Noting that President Muhammadu Buhari is from the North, they deposed that the right thing was that “after his eight-year tenure, the next president should come from Southern Nigeria and since South West and South South have occupied the office in the current dispensation, the South East is next in line in the spirit of the rotation principle, fairness, equity and justice.”
“This will bring an end to the manifest marginalisation of the South East. This will foster national unity, and also bring to a close the bitterness of the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, which has lingered for 50 years since the end of hostilities and engender unity,” it added.
In thanking the Igbo leaders for rejecting Kanu’s secessionist cries, they said:
“We wish to thank Igbo elites and leaders for openly coming out to denounce the treasonable activities of the leader of outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who hinged his action on the delayed emergency of Igbo presidency. Even though the APC said they will do North-South zoning, it has become a culture in Nigeria that no zone is allowed to continue beyond eight years. You can take that from the time of Obasanjo.
“If all the major geopolitical zones in the country, and especially the major ethnic groups in the country have all been presidents, and in all fairness, justice and equity, we should be looking at the South East to produce the president. “There is no denying the fact that the Igbos have contributed greatly to the development of this country.
“It is time for us all to reciprocate their good gestures through mass support for the next president to emerge from the South East. This is the time for it,” the statement further said.
“At a time that our national unity is so threatened, we believe that a detribalised tribe holding the presidency at this time is the surest way of restoring Nigeria’s unity.
“The Igbos, 50 years after the war, have been so marginalised. To heal that wound and to put that war behind us, we think if the country reaches out to them by supporting them produce the 2023 presidency, it will be the masterstroke to heal the wounds.
“And finally, if that wound is not healed and is made deeper, it can only promote tribal groups. When it was given to the Yoruba to heal the wound of Abiola, Obasanjo emerged in one party and Falae emerged in the other major party. It was not like they just went into the room and came out with these people.
“They went through party primaries to emerge. Last time, you saw the primary that produced Atiku, you saw the primary that produced the president and that two Fulanis came on board. The rules will not change. If you zone to the South East, the two parties will have tow that route so that interested candidates from the south East can slug it out. Eventually, two people will emerge.”