Ohanaeze, Arewa chieftain warn Buhari, APC leaders over 2023 presidency

• ‘Darling of north’ Okorocha vows he’ll defeat Atiku in Adamawa

Apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to plead with the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership to choose an Igbo man to fly the party’s presidential ticket in the 2023 general elections, insisting Igbo remains the only vaccine that can heal and unify the country.

In a statement, Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, noted that the imposition of another northern presidency in 2023 could make the country go up in flames.

The statement reads in part: “President Muhammadu Buhari has an opportunity to engender national unity. We implore the President to rise above the immature and primitive calculations of the PDP and support Igbo, either from the southeast or Ikwerre in Rivers State to heal the wounds of the injustice of marginalisation and unify the country.

“Retention of power in the north in 2023 will be a recipe for political maladies, including migraines and perhaps epilepsy. It’s patently disingenuous, even foolhardy to abandon the principle of rotation of power in a Nigeria that has not outgrown the quota system and federal character.

“Buhari’s hopeful consideration of a Southern aspirant of Igbo stock as APC presidential candidate will reset Nigeria’s potential and bestow on Mr. President the hero of Nigeria’s Democracy.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the entire Igbo nation, having made the quest for Igbo presidency a political priority and, mindful of existing political realities, urge President Buhari to support the candidacy of any Igbo from the seven Igbo speaking states, including Ikwere in Rivers State.”

THIS was as an elder statesman and Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) chieftain, Anthony Sani, urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to stifle democracy by allowing the APC to pick its presidential candidate via consensus mode.

Sani, who was the former Secretary-General of ACF, said although the party adopted the method while picking its national chairman, it should resist the temptation in its choice of a presidential flag bearer.

He said the move is “capable of consigning members of the party to the sidelines and stifling internal democracy, leading to an avalanche of aggression, agitation, mistrust and suspicion in the polity.”

He noted: “Political parties exist to facilitate socio-economic development of the nation democratically. And if the ruling party is unable to consciously entrench internal democracy in the management of its internal affairs, then it would be hard for it to convince Nigerians that it can entrench democracy that is rooted in justice, liberty and common decency through elections.”

Sani added: “It is, therefore, important to point out that if indirect primaries have become veritable avenues for some aspirants to bribe delegates to the chagrin of party members and promote plutocracy, then consensus would be the worst mechanism in party conventions.

“It stifles popular participation. So, it is not the way to go. Let the party convention allow all aspirants, already reeling from the high cost of nomination fees, test their popularity, as an antidote to aggression, agitation and suspicion that will be the aftermath of the convention by consensus.”

MEANWHILE, a former Imo State governor and APC presidential aspirant, Rochas Okorocha, has said he would defeat the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubakar if he is given the APC ticket.

Okorocha, who spoke during a political programme on Arise TV, said his popularity and the goodwill he enjoys in the northern part of the country, give him an edge over other APC aspirants.

He particularly stressed that he would beat Atiku in his home state, Adamawa.

He said: “APC has smartly waited until the PDP produced its candidate. Now, what should preoccupy the mind of the APC is who can defeat the PDP presidential candidate.

“The PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar, is someone that had contested election with our President and was an APC member, and he polled substantial votes. What APC needs is the man that can poll similar votes in the north, to be able to defeat him. Anything outside this that goes with sentiment will mean failure for us.”

He added: “This is what we should know. Who is that person among the APC aspirants that can get sufficient votes in the north because PDP’s only strategy is northern votes? We might not have President Buhari run another election because most people that won elections on the platform of the APC in previous elections did so because of President Buhari.

“Now, such privilege is no more there. So, you have to look for that man that people will look at and vote for, and I am that man. I am more acceptable in the north than any of the aspirants. I am the darling of the north. I have a cordial relationship with the north.

“If I run election in Adamawa State, today, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar will sweat to have a defeat because I can show what I did in Adamawa State. I challenge everyone to show what he or she did in other parts of the country outside their region.

“In the north, I saw their children that were not going to school and I provided free education for them. Some people believe that if I am elected president, power is still in the north because of my close relationship with the north.”

SOurce: GUardian.ng

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