NDIGBO have been advised by Senator Chris Adighije the former lawmaker representing Abia Central Senatorial District to step up negotiations and planning towards producing Nigeria’s next president in 2023.
Over recent years, many Igbos have questioned their future in Nigeria amid claims that they are marginalised and kept far away from the corridors of power. Since the return to democratic rule in 1999, no Igbo has ever been elected president or vice president and this has fuelled calls for secession and the creation of an independent nation state.
Since President Buhari assumed office in 2015, these calls have become strident with widespread demonstrations held demanding the recreation of the defunct state of Biafra. Igbo elders, however, have been calling for caution, warning that their future rests within a united Nigeria and antagonising all other ethnic groups will not serve them well in the future.
There is an informal gentleman’s agreement in place between Nigeria’s ethnic groups that the presidency should rotate between the north and south of the country. With there being three geo-political zones in the north and three in the south, when the presidency goes to either half of the country, the components parts agree on who should get it.
Since the return to democracy in 1999, the southwest has produced President Olusegun Obasanjo and the south-south President Goodluck Jonathan, so the next president should automatically come from the southeast. Senator Adighije agreed with this but added that the region must negotiate with the southwest about reaching a consensus on the matter.
He added that any region, individual or group taking Ndigbo for granted is doing so at their own peril, pointing that the Igbos are resourceful and will not accept being underrated. According to the senator, if the right strategy is adopted, Ndigbo can produce the next president after the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari ends in 2023.
Senator Adighije said: “You have to negotiate with other regions of the country but before we go into that negotiation, you have to put your house in order. Many people think that it is impossible for the southeast to put its house in order but that statement lacks merits as it is not true and I know that Igbo are resourceful.
“The only thing the Igbo won’t accept is for them to be underrated and anybody doing that is doing it at his or her own peril. At the appropriate time, our strategy will become clearer.
“Igbo has its own style of politics, we are mature people and we have produced people like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Michael Okpara and others, so, we can’t say southeasterners don’t play politics. There is a need for reorientation and plan in view of the fact that the southeast was hitherto the majority but we are now becoming a minority.
“We should think about this strategy, come together and talk to individuals. Let people understand where we are coming from, as this will also affect other issues and positions in the future.”