Political parties in Nigeria, especially the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) have been charged to choose their presidential candidates among the Southeast extraction for equity, justice and balancing purposes.
The group, PDP Coalition, in a statement by Dr. Emeka Kalu, its Coordinator, lamented that since political independence in 1960, none of the southeast originally had ever been voted as the president of the country, despite the division of Nigeria into six geo-political regions.
The group insisted that Mr. Peter Obi and Sen. Pius Anyim, the former Governor of Anambra State and former Senate President, respectively for instance from the PDP have the capacity and mental ability to transform the Nigerian economy and make it competitive with others across the globe.
The group wondered why the Southeast is being relegated to the background in all spheres, including in politics, insisting that any attempt not to give recognition to the southeast in 2023 may not augur well for the country.
Kalu specifically challenged the leadership of PDP to make zoning of the presidency to the southeast a project that must be achieved as the party organises its convention in the next few weeks, stressing that Southeast geo-Political zone has competent, experienced, educated, purposeful, exemplary and capacity building persons to be elected the next President.
He said: “It is disheartening and undemocratic that in a heterogeneous society like Nigeria, the presidential seat continues to be rotated between two ethnic blocs; Western and Northern regions without giving Eastern region a slot to produce the number one leader of the country.
“Despite the six geo-political zones arrangement, we have three major ethnic regions in Nigeria as carved out by the colonial masters, but back to the cabinet system of government before the emergence of republicanism in 1963, no person of Igbo origin had been elected the President of Nigeria.
“During Parliamentarian days, Tafawa Balewa was made the Prime Minister who served as the Head of the Government, while Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe services were just mere ceremonial without strong statutory recognition.”
PDP coalition recalled that in 1999, late Dr. Alex Ekwueme’s ambition to govern the country was foiled by power manipulation, while Chief Obasanjo and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar were voted into office.
It said that at the expiration of Obasanjo’s government in 2007, late Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan were preferred candidates of the power bloc, while the combination of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi as flag bearers for PDP, did not also emerge winners of the presidential poll in 2019.
“For the sake of seriousness in addressing our challenges as a nation, absolute care should be taken to elect an experienced, age wise, focused and development – driven President whose antecedents are cherished by the generality of Nigerians.
“This boldly calls for greater political consciousness on Nigerians to see beyond their noses that in this advancing society, we need to have a president that is capable of uniting, developing and industrialising Nigeria to compete with the western world in this fourth industrial revolution,” Kalu added.
Kalu further recalled that in 2019 under the full fledged sponsorship of Igbo elite, Atikulated Agenda in its commitment, vehemently supported Atiku Abubakar to ensure he emerged as the president of the country, but regretted that the party lost the election “only on papers not by values and conscience.”
Kalu reiterated his call on the PDP leadership, respected political leaders, justice defenders, public opinion poll makers, youths and the entire Nigerians from the six geo-political zones to support a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction in 2023.
Besides, he challenged the Igbo to unite and vehemently support one aspirant without sentiment or sense of parochialism from the region.