By Lateef Adegbite
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state, show of interest to contest the 2023, Presidential elections on the ticket of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC appears to be giving the leadership of the Ohaneze ndigbo , a cause for concern.
The Igbo socio-cultural Organisation have never hidden its grudge that since the return of Democracy in the country in 1999, the north and the Yorubas, have dominated the political scene , leaving out the Igbos, another major ethnic group in the country. This may have informed why the Organisation has persistently drummed it to the ear of the political Leaders of the major ethnic groups in the country and indeed, Nigerians, that ‘’the net President of Nigeria in 2023, should come from the south east geo-political region to promote national unity’’.
Recall that in December 2020, the Leadership of the Pan- Igbo socio-cultural Organisation had taken up the matter of the Igbo Presidency on the ticket of the APC, with Ibrahim Gambari, a Professor and Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General, with the intention that he will take up the matter with him, as one of his closest kitchen staff but that was how far they could go.
Given the Ohanezenaeze Ndigbo, zeal for the next Nigerian President to come from the south east , irrespective of the Party, may have informed why the body have set up a 2023 Presidency lobby team that could reach out to other zones and social cultural Organisations in the country, particular, the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, in the north.
It was not surprising why the group on Monday, January 17, 2022, appealed to the ACF, which is a very formidable force in the country, because of the political heavy weights involved in the north Pan-socio-cultural Organisation ‘’to support the south east to produce the next Nigerian President in 2023 for the interst of Justice and equity’’.
Okechukwu Isiguzoro, the Secretary General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, had led a delegation of Igbos on a courtesy call visit to Yerima Shettima, President of the Arewa Consultataive Forum, ACF, in Kaduna, capital of Kaduna state. The Secretary –General of the Pan-Ibo socio-cultural Organisation who could not hide his feelings had told Shettima, the ACF President that that the Igbos are in ‘’total support of a united and indivisible Nigeria contrary to the calls for session by the the Nnandi Kanu, who is currently in the Department of State Security, DSS, led Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
He noted that for the south east to produce the next Nigerian President either on the Platform of the APC or the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, It must lobby the ACF, as ”the north is the deciding factor on who becomes the country’s President in the 2023 general elections” which is just around the corner.
Hear him:We know that the north with their population and the vast majority will always play the role of a kingmaker ,being a deciding factor in the 2023 Presidency. We feel that the best thing to do is to migrate from the other part of the world and interphase with the real people who are holding the masses. According to him, the Igbos residing in the 19 northern states of the Federation have about N12.3 trillion investments in the region.
He was said to have assured Nigerians, particular, the nineteen northern states that they have no cause to worry trusting an Igbo person with power in 2023. As a prelude to ensuring that an Igbo person emerge as the next Nigerian President he has made it clear to those that care to listen that ‘’the Ohananeze Ndigbo Worldwide has mapped out resources to support any of the Presidential Candidates of Igbo extraction from the APC and PDP, the major political parties in the country’.
The Pan –Ibo Secretary General may have expressed fears that despite the leg work of the Organisation members to lobby other groups, across the country, the south east may not get the Presidency
either on the ticket of the ruling APC or the PDP, if the parties adopt the zone arrangement, insisting the two major Parties , should throw the Presidency open for all potential Candidates.
Many believe that the Leadership of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, may have woken up from sleep to Negotiate and lobby the,ACF, for an Igbo Presidency in 2023, because the Katsina state born Nigerian President may have spoken his mind that the Next Nigerian President should come from the south region ‘’to among other things ensure equity, natural Justice, good Conscience and end the civil activities of IPOB’’. Already two political gladiators from the region: Dave Umahi, governor of Eboyi state and Orji Uzor Kalu, a former governor of Abia state, on the Platform of Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA, and now Chief Whip of the APC, in the Senate have reached out to the Nigerian President to tell him about their interest to contest the 2023, general elections on the ticket of the APC. The Eboyi governor had said that his ‘’Presidential ambition is in the hand of God’’, stressing that ‘’power and might belong to God.
Appearing on Channels Television recently, he had cleared the air on his visit to the retired Army General at the Villa, stressing that it was basically to tell him about his Presidential ambition but about the insecurity and the socio-economic state of the south east. He disclosed that he mention the issue of running the 2023 Presidential election on the Platform of the ruling APC to him in passing as ‘’the father of the nation and father of the Party’’, notwithstanding that Tinubu, the Party National Leader had declared his interest for the position, describing it as a’’ life- long ambition’’, meaning that the Campaign for an Igbo Presidency in 2023 would not stop him from the project.
Only recently, the Tinubu Support Groups were said to have met in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, with Kashim Shettima, a former governor of Borno, a state under the siege of the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram and the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, Babachair Lawal, a former Secretary of Government of the Federation and several other Political heavy weights from the region to plan on how the former Lagos governor will emerge as the ruling APC, Presidential Candidate in the 2023, general elections. Lawal, the for the country’s former SGF, believes that Tinubu, has ‘’the capacity, and requisite qualification s to take over from the retired Army General as the next Nigerian President’’. Shettima, the fomer Borno governor, who could not hide his feelings had said that he has thrown his weight behind the former Lagos state governor to take over from Buhari in 2023, citing is ability ‘’to manage resources, loyalty to the APC, and President Buhari.
As a prelude to ensuring that Tinubu, who may have sealed the ambition of Yemi Osibajo, the Vice President Ambition for good as his godfather, gets the ticket, Adulmumuni Jubril, Director General, of the Tinubu Support Groups Management Council,SGMC, has called on the Leaders of the various support groups to continue ‘’the aggressive grassroots mobilization for the Lagos former governor as they go back to their Constituencies’’.
In spite of the fact that it is still not yet clear who Buhari, the APC, Leader, would support among those jostling for the APC, Presidential ticket from the south east and Tinubu, the one-time Lagos state governor may have started his political Campaign to win the heart of the Nigerian President as he has ‘’offered ‘’to support the Federal government to end terrorism and other evils in the country’’.
He may have taken advantage of the gruesome murder of Rabe Nasir, the Zamfara state Commissioner fof Science and Technology by the armed bandits operating in the state speak out. Appealing to Zamfara residents’’ to share relevant information to security agencies personnel on suspicious movements of unknown characters in their localities to bring terrorism to its knees’’. He was said to have donated N50 million to the families of those who were killed by the Bandits Group followers in Communities in Bukkuyum and Anka, Local Government Area of the state recently.