The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, has said it won’t support the presidential ambition of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu.
The position of the group was made known by the National Publicity Secretary, Chief Alex Ogbonnia in an interview with Punch.
Ogbonnia urged both Osinbajo and Tinubu to drop their 2023 ambition and back a competent aspirant from the South-East region to emerge the next President of the country
Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State between 1999 and 2007, had in January 2022, declared his intention to fulfill his “lifelong ambition” of becoming a President in 2023 while Osinbajo, on Monday, said he would want to succeed his principal (Buhari) to complete what they both started together.
Ohanaeze said it was not the turn of the South-West to produce the next President but the South-East, adding that both the South-West and the South-South had produced Presidents and Vice-Presidents since the beginning of the Fourth Republic in 1999.
He said separatist agitations would increase in the South-East if the zone does not produce the next President.
Ohanaeze’s spokesman, Ogbonnia, said, “I had written an open letter to Tinubu before which I’m sure he must have read reminding him that at a point he had been the conscience of the nation with his truthful disposition. But in recent times, because of his ambition, he has chosen not to talk even when things are so bad.
“In the past, Tinubu would talk about equity, justice and fairness but in recent times, Tinubu has chosen to become an entirely different person. I advised him that he should not contest. He should rather stand as an elder statesman in Nigeria. Above all, there is a zoning and rotation principle in Nigeria and it is the turn of the South-East.
“Then on the side of Osinbajo, he has a very tall credential, having occupied the position of the Vice-President, he is supposed to be an elder statesman. His profile is at variance with the decision he has taken to contest for the presidential slot because he knows that it is not the turn of the South-West. He has shown he has the interest of himself more than the interest of the nation.”
According to him, elder statesmen like ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo; Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo, amongst others have been clear that the South-East should produce the next President in the spirit of fairness and equity.
“People like Obasanjo, Bode George and Adebanjo have been clear about it. These are exemplary men and we are asking for more men to support a South-East Presidency,” he added.
Continuing, the spokesman for the South-East group said separatist agitations might increase in the zone if it does not produce the next President.
“What Ohanaeze is saying is that if this Presidency does not come to the South-East, definitely, there would be more restiveness and separatist agitations in the South-East; it would increase insecurity and it is not in the interest of anybody who loves the interest of this country.
“It is the stand of Ohanaeze that Osinbajo and Tinubu should add voice to the Presidency coming to the South-East and not begin to pursue personal interest,” he added.