Chukwuemeka Ezeife, a former governor of Anambra, and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, as well as others have advised the Southeast region to persuade other regions to support them to clinch the presidency in 2023.
They said this on Saturday at the United For Better Nigeria Initiative (UBNI) National Convention in Abuja.
Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, said that it is neither a right nor was it legal for the southeast to demand presidency.
Anyim said that they had to persuade other regions to support their dream if they would produce a president in 2023.
“Is it right for the Southeast to produce the next president?, my answer is legally no, and the reason is that the constitution is clear, the constitution says every Nigerian of 40 years is entitled to aspire for that office.
“On the other side, morally is it right? is it an entitlement? I will say yes because the federal character principle enshrined in the constitution encourages rotation.
“The reason I have to make this clarification is that when the right you have is not legal, the only approach and the instrument you have is persuasion.
“So the approach, the language will be to persuade others to see reason with you that morally they should support you to take a turn since it rotates.”
Anyim, therefore, encouraged the Southeast that as they go ahead with the movement of advocating for a president, it should be with an altitude persuasion.
According to Ezeife, the kind of Nigeria God wanted when He created Nigeria was for her to develop into a superpower among nations, and raise respect and dignity for all blacks on earth.
He said that one of the ways to achieve the feats the nation wanted was to carry everybody along without discrimination.
“So I found Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and other groups in this place talking about the need for federal character. If you do it that way, there will be unity, if there is fairness, equity, justice, you will have unity and progress.
“In the absence of those, you see where we are now. It is not a matter of give us president, we don’t give, you have to work for it, the Igbo does not prostrate.
“The Igbo man does not keel down but this time, we are prepared to kneel down to every part of Nigeria, every group, every ethnic group in Nigeria, we are prepared to even prostrate because we believe in this country.”
Ezeife said that Igbo people had contributed greatly to the development of Nigeria in terms of infrastructure, intellect and business.
He therefore said that it was time to give Igbo people the chance to build Nigeria to the standard God wanted it.
Mrs Nkolika Mkparu ,Coordinator-General, UBNI, said that there was a feeling of political marginalisation after over a century (by 2023) the Southeast region is yet to produce a president.
Mkparu said that UBNI, a non-partisan political advocacy group, which had been involved in enlightenment for a united Nigeria deemed it fit to beam searchlight on the issue.
She said that in achieving this political balance, the support from the Southeast region alone would not suffice, therefore there is the need to appeal to other regions to support it.
“The truth of the matter is that our strongest strengths are from the north, our great leaders are from the north, so we are working with the whole nation with the understanding that inclusiveness is what will lead Nigeria to a better future.
“Inclusiveness that will bring us together in one union is what will bring our country together.
“Nigeria is huge enough for everybody, Nigeria has the capacity to hold everybody, Nigeria has the intellectuals, Nigeria has all it takes to lift the county, all we are asking for is to give the southeast also a chance to lead.
“All the other parts have tried, south south has tried, north has tried, west has tried since over 50 years now, so we are hoping that we should be allowed to try.”
The Guest Speaker, Prof. Mutiullahi Olasupo, who is the Director of Institute for Peace Leadership and Development Studies, University of Abuja, said that it was right for the southeast to produce the next president in the interest of peace and natural law of justice.
He said it was imperative for all Nigerians to exclusively resolve that the presidency in 2023 should go to the southeast.
He said that the same mechanism that produced former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999, should also repeat itself by 2023, to produce a president from the south east.
“Out of all the six geo-political zones in this country, it is only the southeast that has not produced the president in this country.
“Does that mean that the south east is not being recognized as a geopolitical zone in Nigeria?” he asked.