Buhari should hand over to Southeast candidate – Ohanaeze

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IT will be just and equitable for President Muhammadu Buhari to hand over to candidate from the Southeast in 2023, the Ohanaeze Youths said on Thursday.

It insisted that it was the turn of the Southeast to produce the President’s successor.

According to him, for equity, peace and justice to reign, Nigerians, especially the North, should support the Southeast in their bid.

“Buhari should hand over to an Igbo candidate in 2023. It is a glaring fact that it is the turn of the Southeast in 2023,” Dozie said.

To him, anything short of a President from the Southeast will not be fair to the region.

Also, President of Ohaneze Ndigbo in Anambra State, Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene, restated the organisation’s position that is the Southeast’s turn to produce President Buhari’s successor.

Dozie and Okeke-Ogene were reacting to a statement yesterday by past Secretary-General of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Chief Anthony Sani, who said that President Buhari was not a product of rotation.

Dozie said the former ACF scribe was expressing his personal opinion.

Mallam Mamman Daura, President Buhari’s family member, stirred the hornet’s nest when he said in an interview with the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Wednesday that only the most competent, irrespective of region, should be elected as President in 2023.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) distanced itself from Daura’s statement.

Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, said: “That is not our position but a personal opinion by an individual who happens to be a member of our party.”

Similarly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) denounced Daura’s comments.

Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Diran Odeyemi, said: “We shall come up with our zoning formula which will define where our presidential candidate will come from.”

The Igbo apex socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) also faulted Daura for the comment.

Ohanaeze President-General, Chief Nnia Nwodo, through his media aide Chief Emeka Attamah, said: “All we know is that it is the turn of the South where we have abundant competent individuals who can steer the ship of this country, particularly among Ndigbo.”

Yesterday, Sani argued that Buhari was not a product of rotation.

The former ACF scribe said, aside from former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 and 2015, no fewer than 70 Presidential candidates contested against Buhari in 2019.

He said: “I find it curious when some groups like Ohanaeze would say that President Buhari was a product of national consensus on zoning or rotation of position of president to the North. The fact of history says no to that.

“I agree that the annulment of elections of June 12, 1993, morally blackmailed the nation into fielding General Obasanjo of PDP and Chief Olu Falai of AD/APP in 1999 to make up for the annulment and death of the winner, Chief MKO Abiola.

“I also agree that President Obasanjo wanted to enthrone politics of zoning and rotation when he foisted President Yar’Adua on the nation.

“But this did not last because apart from General Buhari’s bid in 2003 against President Obasanjo which was against letter and spirit of zoning/rotation, President Jonathan from the South contested against President Buhari from the North not only in 2011 but also in 2015.

“In 2019, of about 76 presidential candidates, about 70 were southerners. All these shows there is no national consensus on rotation and zoning that is binding on political parties.

“Therefore, it is either the proponents of politics of identity symbolised by rotation and zoning make it a law or they design a winning game plan and sell to the nation to secure their needed electoral mandate.

“The publicity secretary of ACF is right when he said yesterday (Thursday) that currently, rotation and zoning are still affairs of political parties and must be seen and treated as such in the interest of our multiparty democracy.”

But Okeke-Ogene told The Nation that Sani’s comments bordered on selfishness.

He believes it will be selfish for the North not to support the Southeast for the presidency in 2023,

He said Nigerians massively voted for President Buhari during the 2015 general election partly to compensate for the death of former President Yar’Adua

“Why are they no longer thinking towards rotation? Is it because the position is coming to the South? Is that not sign of being selfish?

“A President from the Southeast in 2023 is a right and not a privilege. It is these denials by the North that has given birth to the various agitations in the land today.

“Calculate the number of years the North had been in power in this country with the South, yet, they are not better off.”