IGBO young people’s organisation the Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC) has warned former vice president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to respect the principle of a rotational presidency and shelve plans to run for office in 2023.
Over the weekend, Atiku’s son, Adamu Abubakar, revealed that his father may decide to throw his hart into the ring again in three years time. Nigeria’s presidency traditionally rotates between the north and south of the country and with both President Muhammadu Buhari and Alhaji Abubakar coming from the north of the country, it had been expected that the former vice president would sit out the 2023 contest.
Although Atiku himself has not confirmed that he will seek the presidential ticket of his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), his possible candidature has raised eyebrows. Come 2023, the PDP had been expected to nominate a candidate from the south of the country, with Alhaji Abubakar’s former running mate ex-Anambra State governor Peter Obi, expected to be the front runner.
In an Democracy Day message, OYC has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to honour former Alhaji Abubakar for his role in ending military rule, pointing out that he deserves to be recognised as one the heroes of democracy. However, it adds that any plans by the former vice president to seek the top job in 2023 will harm Nigeria’s fledgling democracy.
OYC president Okechukwu Isiguzoro, and secretary Okwu Nnabuike, issued a joint statement in which they praised Alhaji Abubakar for the significant roles he and others played to ensure civilian rule. However, the OYC called for the respect of the rotational presidency between north and south of Nigeria.
Their statement read: “This will allow a Nigerian from the south to emerge as President Buhari’s successor. Anyone encouraging Atiku Abubakar to contest in 2023 against the political tide is deceiving him.
“Those who deceived him through the restructuring of Nigeria in 2019 have been systematically displaced in Igboland. Atiku Abubakar should know that Igbo governors are doubtful of his sincerity.”
According to OYC, political jobbers were assuring Atiku of Igbo support in 2023, adding that any such advice was a fake promissory note. It added that a fresh candidate will be sought for 2023 and it will not be Alhaji Abubakar.