A group of political leaders in the south-east has asked all political parties to cede their 2023 presidential ticket to the region.
Rising from their meeting in Abia state on Tuesday, the leaders said the zone should be allowed to produce the country’s next president “in the interest of justice”.
In Nigeria, political offices — especially the presidency — are often rotated on the basis of geographical zones, from the time of Olusegun Obasanjo up until the administration of President Muhamadu Buhari who is from Katsina state.
With the 2023 election roughly two years away, some Nigerians have started clamouring that the presidency should return to the south.
In a statement issued after the meeting attended by 15 south-east leaders, including prominent national assembly members, the group said the south-east has “continued to demonstrate their commitment to the unity and development of the country”.
It said in return for such consensus, the south-east would rally behind any party that zones its presidential ticket to the region.
The statement signed by Orji Kalu among others said: “The meeting observed that the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has rotated between Northern and Southern Nigeria and among the various geopolitical zones. Thus, the South West and South South geopolitical zones in the southern part of the country have produced the President of Nigeria.
“Hence as power is expected to rotate to the South in 2023, the meeting noted that the South East is the only zone in the South that is yet to produce a President of Nigeria in the current democratic dispensation.
“Consequently implore all the political parties to cede their presidential tickets in the 2023 general election to the South East in the interest of justice, equity and national unity.
“To make good our demand and reciprocate such good faith, we have decided, as a geopolitical zone with a substantial presence in every part of the country to give a block vote and throw our full weight behind any major political party, particularly the APC (All Progressives Congress) and PDP (Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), that zones its presidential ticket to the South East in 2023 general election.”
Amid the argument for power shift from the north to south, some bigwigs in both the APC and the PDP appear to be reluctant to support the zoning formula for the 2023 presidency.
Ibrahim Shekarau, senator representing Kano central, recently said the APC constitution while by Uche Secondus, national chairman of the PDP, once about such arrangement. (The Cable)