GOVERNOR Hope Uzodinma of Imo State has revealed that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has not reached a decision to field an Igbo candidate for the presidency of Nigeria 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.
In a bid to douse some of this tension, President Buhari visited Imo State this week, where he met with Igbo leaders, seeking to convince them that they still have a stake in Nigeria. Several Igbos leaders have pointed out that in the interest of fairness, the presidency of Nigeria should be zoned to the southeast come 2023 but Governor Uzodinma has dismissed this suggestion.
Governor Uzodinma said: “We are not looking for an Igbo president, we are looking for a president of Nigeria. We as a party the APC, believe what we are practicing here is partisan democracy and every politician must be loyal to his party, so at the end of the day, it is the decision of the party that you belong to that will matter.”
Adding that President Buhari’s visit to the state has nothing to do with the 2023 elections, Governor Uzodinma simply described it as a working visit. While in the state, the president who commissioned several projects, also promised to help Governor Uzodinma fight insecurity.