Minister of State for Education, Mr. Emeka Nwajiuba has cautioned the Southeast on the manner its leaders are going about the pursuit of ‘Igbo Presidency,’ asking the region to abandon regional sentiments and broaden its scope by pursuing a pan-Nigerian support if it must get a shot at the presidency in 2023.
Nwajiuba, known for his forthrightness said without any equivocation that other ethnic groups which had produced Nigeria’s president in the past never ascribed tribes name to it.
The minister who advised leaders in the region on what to do said, rather than bandying ethnic sentiments around, the primary step he had expected was for the ‘who-is-who’ in the Southeast to search for an aspirant who is a bridge builder and can galvanize the needed popular support across ethnic divides, important to catapult him/her to getting the nation’s most coveted job.
Nwajiuba, made his blunt remarks while speaking to journalists in Abuja. He said in politics, no position is ceded as a gift, adding that its about getting multilateral buy-ins, especially in a nation as diversed as Nigeria.
Nwajiuba’s words: “Anybody talking about Igbo presidency should be careful because there was never a time we heard about Hausa presidency.
“When the Yoruba were contesting, we did not hear of Yoruba presidency. Why is our own different? Remember that before Obasanjo won in 1999, he contested for the ticket against Ekwueme. There was never a time we as Igbo did not contest in the primaries, the only thing was that we were not voted.
“There is no time people involved in politics will cede a position to anybody. Up to 2015, the only tribe that did not contest for the APC primaries is the Yoruba, is it not true? The North west ran, north east ran, north central vied, South East vied.
“If Owelle Rochas Okorocha had defeated Buhari in the 2015 APC primaries, are we going to be talking about Igbo presidency now? But what is important is that if the Igbo want to become president, it is not for you to say it’s your turn.
“Any day you bring out an aspirant that is acceptable to other Nigerians, that is the day you indeed want the position of president in Nigeria. All you need is a majority.
“Buhari won the APC primaries with 3,886 votes. That’s what we counted. I was a returning officer in that election. Kwakwanso came second, then Atiku, Rochas, then Nda-Isaiah. I can still recall these things.
“So there was never a time it was ceded to Buhari. The people that voted for Buhari outnumbered others in that primary election. So when we bring an acceptable aspirant, he will eventually win.
“That is what you are supposed to start searching for now. Even if the Igbo cry from now till thy kingdom comes, if they don’t bring out a person that is acceptable to other Nigerians, nothing happens,” he said.