By Segun Amure (The New Diplomat’s Abuja Bureau)
Southeast political leaders across party lines met on Tuesday to pursue an initiative of producing a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction ahead of the build-up to the 2023 presidential election.
At the meeting which held at the country home of Sen. Orji Kalu in Igbere, Bende Local Government Area of Abia, the political leaders restated that the emergence of a President of Igbo extraction in 2023 would deepen the nation’s democracy and serve as the surest way to fast-track national development and build an egalitarian society.
The convener of the meeting Senator Orji Kalu and his counterpart in the Senate, Senator Ekweremadu lamented the age-long rotation of the nation’s presidency between the north, South-West and South-South Nigeria, to the exclusion of the South East geo-political zone of Nigeria.
It would be recalled that the battle for President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor has commenced in all geo-political zones across the country following intense jostle among political interest groups.
Though some prominent Nigerians and statesmen have argued that the issue of zoning was unconstitutional, the leadership of the South East has continued to demand for a President of Igbo extraction in 2023.
In a communique read to newsmen at the end of the meeting, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim said a president of Nigeria from the South East zone “will work to unite and develop every part of the country”
“Such a president will be president of all Nigerians, irrespective of their political, ethnic, and religious backgrounds,” he added.
Anyim further added that “Such was the dream of the founding fathers of this great nation, wherefore they declared that ‘though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand’.
The leaders affirmed that “the southeast is the only zone in the south that is yet to produce a president in the current democratic dispensation.
Other eminent Igbo politicians at the meeting include former Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekwerenmadu, Rep. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Rep. Toby Okechukwu, Deputy Chief Whip and Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives
Sen. Michael Nnachi from Ebonyi, one-time Minister of State for Environment, Housing and Urban Development, Mr Chuka Odom, former Speakers of Abia House of Assembly, Chief Stanley Ohajuruka and Mr Chikwendu Kalu, and National Chairman of the United Progressives Party, Chief Chekwas Okorie, amongst others.