IGBO youth group the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (CSEYL) has called on governors Aminu Tambuwal and Emeka Ihedioha to call off their planned 2023 presidential campaign as northern Nigeria cannot produce the next president.
Under Nigeria’s informal zoning policy, the presidency rotates between the north and the south of the country, so when President Muhammadu Buhari leaves office in 2023, it will be the turn of the south to produce the next president. Given that the southwest and south-south have both produced presidents in the shape of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr Goodluck Jonathan, many believe it is the time of the southeast to produce the next president.
Consequently, several southeast leaders have already begun eyeing the presidency, with former Anambra State governor Peter Obi considered the front runner within the Peoples Democratic party (PDP), while ex-Imo State governor Rochas Okorocha is eyeing the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket. However, not everyone is prepared to stick to this agreement, as ambitious contestants like Governor Tambuwal from Sokoto State is said to be prepared to upset the apple cart.
Earlier this week, posters of Governor Tambuwal appeared in Abuja, with Imo State’s Governor Ihedioha named as his planned running mate. CSEYL has called on the two governors to shelve the idea as the presidency has been zoned to the southeast in 2023 and Governor Ihedioha is an embarrassment to Ndigbo for accepting anything less.
In a statement signed by its president Goodluck Ibem and general secretary Kanice Igwe, the association said: “We are totally disappointed and alarmed to see the 2023 campaign posters of Governor Emeka Ihedioha as a running mate to Sokoto State governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, when the southeast zone is seeking for the office of the president.
“This action of Governor Ihedioha is a betrayal of the highest order. He is not interested in the interest of the zone, he is only interested in his personal interest and gain. What a shame.”
It added that it was more disappointing that, while other governors of the southeast were busy working for the interest of the zone, the Imo State governor was allegedly scheming ahead of 2023, more so as Tambuwal’s running mate, not even as presidential candidate. Their posters have even appeared in several major cities across the country, as presidential and vice-presidential candidates.
CSEYL added: “When we saw these posters in major cities of the country, we thought that he was not the one responsible for the posters but up till now, we have not seen any rebuttal from his office. This simply means, the circulation of the posters has his backing and support and this action by Ihedioha is totally against the collective interest of the southeast zone and it must stop forthwith.”
According to the youths, some governors who assumed office on the same day as Governor Ihedioha have inaugurated tangible projects and are still working day and night for the benefit of their states. However, it added that since he assumed office on May 29, he has not inaugurated any project, nor has he embarked on anything meaningful for the betterment of the people.
“We call on Imolites to rise up to the occasion and ask their governor what he is doing with all the monthly allocations, internally generated revenue, 13 percentage derivation funds and other funds coming into the state’s coffers,” CSEYL added.