SEVERAL prominent politicians of Igbo extraction have threatened to ditch Nigeria’s main opposition the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) it do not zone the presidency to the southeast geo-political zone come 2023.
Although not constitutional, Nigeria’s component parts have a gentleman’s agreement that the presidency will rotate between the north and the south of the country. President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure will end in 2023 and being a Fulani northern Muslim, it is expected that the next president will come from southern Nigeria.
Since the return to democracy in 1999, the southwest has produced President Olusegun Obasanjo and the south-south President Goodluck Jonathan, so come 2023, the presidency should automatically go to the southeast. Amid claims that the southeast is being marginalised by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, numerous Igbo groups have argued for the recreation of the defunct republic of Biafra that existed briefly between July 1967 and January 1970.
It is believed that the zoning of the presidency to the southeast come 2023 would end all these secessionist clamourings and both the PDP and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have been urged to field presidential candidates of Igbo extraction in two years time. Earlier this week, however, the PDP said it would abandon zoning come 2023 and allow its presidential candidate to come from anywhere.
In response to what is seen as a betrayal by a party that has enjoyed a lot of support across the southeast geo-political zone, a group has been put together called the Igbo Leadership Development Foundation. It has threatened to mobilise their people to dump the PDP if it fails to zone the 2023 presidency to the region.
In a statement published by its director of public affairs, Dr Law Mefor, the group vowed to drag the PDP to a court of competent jurisdiction if it failed to stick to its constitution which provides for a rotational presidency. Other members who also signed the statement include its chairman Dr Godwin Udibe and Onyebuchi Obeta, its national secretary.