Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari has the burden of history to treat the South East the way Chief Olusegun Obasanjo treated the North in 2007 by allowing the region to produce his successor.
It stated that the ongoing mischiefs about zoning in Nigeria was because it is the turn of the South East to produce a president, insisting that it was strange that certain elders were strategising on how to deny the region the opportunity and, in the long run, destroy the country.
Ohanaeze was reacting to a statement credited to the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), signed by the former Vice Chancellor of the Plateau State University, Prof. Doknan Shenni, which suggested that the “2023 presidential contest should be left open to every region of the country for the best candidate to emerge.”
Reacting to the statement, National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, expressed surprise that the leadership of the NEF could “collectively act the fifth Roman emperor, Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, who fiddled while Rome was on fire.”
He said: “It is, therefore, strange that the elders, instead of seeking solution to the problems they have so identified, are busy strategising on how to destroy the vital values that have helped to lubricate a precarious balance in the country.”
Ohanaeze recalled: “About 1994, some Nigerian patriots conceived an article of faith and principle of rotation of power that guarantees equity and inclusiveness for all the diverse components of the country. Thus, Nigeria was structured into six geopolitical zones namely: South South, South East, South West, North West, North Central and the North East. It was also agreed that political offices would be zoned or distributed among the zones in such a way that every zone will have a sense of belonging. Furthermore, the presidency will rotate among the zones to promote peace, unity and progress in Nigeria.
“The NEF is aware that Nigeria has religiously followed the rotation and zoning principle since 1999 with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (South West) as the elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Obasanjo, in keeping with the rotation principle, handed over to the North in the person of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2007. At the death of Yar’Adua, a Southerner, specifically the South South, in the person of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, was elected the President. Jonathan, again, handed over to a Northerner, President Muhammadu Buhari whose second tenure of four years each will end in 2023. By the rotation and zoning principle that has been in operation in Nigeria, it is only fair that the presidency be zoned to the South, particularly, the South East.”
Ohanaeze explained that it was the moral duty of elders to guide the society on the path of truth and honour. It added, “NEF knows full well that in the interest of peace, unity and corporate existence of Nigeria, we the elders must, as a matter of necessity, embrace equity and justice. It is, therefore, only fair that the South East of Nigeria should be supported to accede presidential power because what is good for the goose is, good for the gander.”
The Source: The Guardian