Notable Catholic priest, Fr. Obimma Emmanuel (Ebube Muonso), in this interview, urges equity, fairness in the sharing of presidential slot in Nigeria.
Is southeast right in agitating to be given presidential slot in 2023?
In as much as zoning of presidential seat is not contained in the Nigerian constitution, I believe that if Nigerians can give southeast this opportunity they’re looking for, it will promote unity a and mutual understanding.
I also believe it will be one major step that will put an end to restiveness in the region.
There is suspicion that if southeast is given this opportunity, they will declare Biafra Republic?
The Igbo want the unity and peaceful co-existence of this country more than other tribes.
Igbo people have stake in this country. They have investments in every nook and cranny of this country.
The Igbo man is a peace loving person. If given the presidency, southeast will promote a unified and indivisible Nigeria.
They will not secede by declaring Republic of Biafra. Igbo man has the mindset of unity.
Igbo do not want war or division in Nigeria, because they want to preserve the lives and property of their people.
The Igbo only need opportunity to enable them contribute their quota to the development of Nigeria.
Among myriad of aspirants, who would you like to see flying presidential flag for the southeast?
I’ve looked at all the Igbo aspirants across political parties. They are all qualified to take Nigeria to the next level.
However, to me, the former governor of Anambra state, and the former vice presidential candidate of the PDP, Mr. Peter Obi, stands out.
But PDP may not zone presidency to the southeast, considering some scheming in the party?
Rotation and zoning principle is written into the PDP’s Constitution in 2009.
Since then, PDP allowed power to rotate between geopolitical zones in the north and south.
This has been the practice in the party; but now that it is the turn of the southeast to benefit from it, some PDP leaders want to change it.
That is tantamount to changing the goalpost in the middle of the game.
Going by the party’s constitution, the principle of rotation leaves PDP with no choice than to zone presidency in 2023 to the southeast zone; which is the only zone that has not produced president.
What happens if southeast does not get presidency in 2023?
As human beings, who are also stakeholders and shareholders in Nigeria, southeast and, of course Igbo, will feel not wanted in Nigeria.
If PDP and APC deny southeast their tickets, what are the options for the people of the zone to convince themselves that they are truly part of Nigeria?
Igbo have played supportive roles in the PDP and APC to other candidates from some other regions.
Nigeria has a golden opportunity to extend the right hand of fellowship to a major part of this nation that has not produced president since after the civil war, up until now.
When APC came up with the policy of zoning 2023 presidency to the south, politicians from the South-West, who are presently occupying the position of vice-president, and whose son, Olusegun Obasanjo, was president for eight years, started their campaign, just to ensure that Igbo man does not get it.
In the PDP, politicians from the North, whose brother, President Muhammadu Buhari, will complete eight years next year, are, by recent declarations, insisting on succeeding him.
What this shows is that Igbo are not important in the country’s political equation
Under this democratic dispensation, the South-West has produced a president and vice president for 16 years; and the South-South has equally produced the president for six years and a vice president for two years.
The southeast is the only geopolitical zone in southern Nigeria that has not produced a president for the country in the present democratic dispensation, and since the end of the civil war in 1970.
Zoning power to the southeast is a matter of justice and equity.
There will be consequences if efforts at promoting peace and unity in Nigeria through dialogue are not encouraged.