Some elders under the auspices of Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development, have thrown their weight behind the agitation for a President of South East extraction in 2023.
According to the elders, the need for equity and fair play in the political equation of the country, necessitated their position.
Consequently, they have made a passionate appeal to both the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to consider fielding candidates of Igbo extraction as their presidential candidates.
This was as they also appealed to other zones in the country to back the Igbos in their clamour for the presidency to be zoned to the area, for purposes of equity.
The elders, in a statement over the weekend, argued that such a gesture had the potential to douse the political tension in the country.
“We, therefore, recommend that it be continued for now for the good of the federation,” the statement quoted the northern elders as saying.
The elders said since President Buhari is from the North, 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.
They thanked the elite and leaders of the South East extraction for not taking secession as an option, despite the activities of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“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.