2023: Buhari’s greatest legacy will be supporting Igbo candidate – Osita Okechukwu
The Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu, says “the two dominant political parties in our multiparty system, APC and PDP, hold the key to restoration of Nigeria’s unity by observing the zoning convention”.
The APC chieftain stated this in a statement on Sunday.
He said that by observing the convention, the two parties would be preserving the nation’s fledging democracy, which he said “midwifed our 4th Republic”.
Okechukwu lauded the PDP for coming out to debunk reports that it had zoned its 2023 presidential ticket to the north.
National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Debo Ologunagba had made the clarification in an apparent reaction to a comment by former Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu.
Aliyu had said that the PDP had zoned its presidential ticket to the North, presumably to favour its 2019 presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who is believed to be eyeing the ticket in 2023.
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Okechukwu described PDP’s stance as “very interesting and refreshing”.
He said he has insisted on zoning because power has always rotated between the North and South.
“My major concern is the peace, unity and prosperity of our dear fatherland,” the APC chieftain said.
He emphasised that convention has always combined with the law to play prominent roles in the political economies of all countries at one point or the other.
“It was based on this premise, for instance, that patriots like former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Solomon Lar, Alhajis Abubakar Rimi, Umaru Shinkafi, Adamu Ciroma, Dr. Olusola Saraki, all of blessed memory, and a host of others shelved their self interest and adopted the zoning convention, thereby saving our country.
“We need the same zoning convention to further stabilixe Nigeria,” Okechukwu said.
On APC’s stance on zoning, he said, “Mine is to walk the path of persuasion, I know our great party, APC is not aversed to zoning. In fact, zoning was one of the factors that built national resolve and enhanced our victory in 2015.
“I have lived for 33 years in the North, I know Nigeria sufficiently well that every geopolitical zone has eminently qualified persons to preside over the country; therefore, none should be denied the opportunity. I also know that it is not the region, which produced the President that benefits more, so it is a soothing balm in nation building.”
Okechukwu also weighed in on the geopolitical zone in the South that deserved to produce the president in 2023.
“Without being immodest, it is the turn of the South East; our brothers in South West had eight years 1999-2007 and eight years of Vice President 2015-2023, while our South South brothers had 2010-2015.
“Thus, going by equity, natural justice and good conscience it is the turn of the South East.
“Zoning to South East will be the end of the civil war and end of IPOB. It will give Ndigbo renewed faith in Nigeria, sense of belonging and national loyalty. To a large extent, allowing a person from South East to succeed President Buhari would be APC and Mr. President’s greatest legacy,” he said.
The VON DG said his position on South-East producing the president in 2023 was without prejudice to the demographic considerations by PDP or the prodigious roles people like Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu played in President Buhari’s election.
“Without self-immolation, Ndigbo are not only foremost patriots that live and invest in all nooks and crannies of this country; but also it borders on misinformation or misrepresentation to underrate Igbo population in Nigeria.
“For instance, taking Lagos city as the most populous city and Kano as the most populous state in the country, you will agree with me that Igbo constitute the second dominant inhabitants after the original indigenes in both Lagos metropolis and Kano State,” Okechukwu said.