The Head of Department, Political Science and International Relations, Covenant University, Prof Sheriff Folarin says the South-East must present a united front if the geopolitical zone must produce the president in 2023.
Folarin, who is a political historian and award-winning scholar, said that Igbo people have a way of being united when in a foreign land but fight each other incessantly back home.
He lamented that this trait could greatly hinder the South-East’s efforts to produce the next president of Nigeria.
According to him, agitation for Biafra will not cease until an Igbo man is president.
Folarin stated these in an interview published by Sunday Sun.
The scholar, who said he did not believe in zoning, however expressed a desire to see the South-East produce Nigeria’s president.
“Although, I don’t believe in zoning and all that…I believe in competence, in having quality leadership, having qualified candidates etc, but I will say that I want to see an Igbo president. I really want to see one.
“If truly we are in one Nigeria then we need to have an Igbo president. I am not saying they should be zoned to the Southeast or something, but I am saying that there should be a concerted effort, a deliberate move by the Southeast to produce a very competent person, a personality that is acceptable everywhere around Nigeria.
“I don’t think that the Southeast doesn’t have them that is why I am so happy that Prof Soludo is the governor-elect and I want him to use this platform to prove a point that the Igbo can truly have a candidate that can stand the test of time.
“I have never met Soludo and I am not supporting him because he is a Professor like me, but I am supporting him because of his credible, sterling records, his integrity and if he fixed Central Bank, he can fix Anambra and by extension, he can tackle Nigeria’s issues.
“But one thing the Igbo must do is to kind of close their ranks, the Igbo (sorry to say this) are the kind of people that I know that are more united when they are abroad, abroad can mean within Nigeria, but outside the Southeast enclave.
“They are united and they tend to always walk together, they tend to always identify with one another as brothers, but back home it is a different narrative. If the Igbo can change that narrative, it is not about me, it is about them looking for their best candidate, a rounded figure, one acceptable in different regions of the country, and then pushing that candidate, giving the person collective support.
“They need a person that has not been messed up or humiliated by the EFCC. The Igbo also need to stretch their hands across the Niger, towards the Southwest.
“At this time they really need to close their ranks, forget about their differences of the past, forget about what Awolowo did or did not do to them (because they are always saying that), forgive and forget and then stretch out their hands of fellowship across the Southwest because if an Igbo man must win an election in this country, they don’t have to play the fool again to the North, they have to stretch their hand of fellowship to the West and wrest power from those guys who don’t want to let power off.
“If they keep on maintaining malice with the Southwest and they now think that they will get any kind of support from the North they will be playing the fool again, and they are going to lose out. I want to see the South closing their ranks and the Southwest also allowing a Southeasterner to be president.
“I want to see an Igbo man as the president of Nigeria and I am really serious about it. Until there is an Igbo president the problem of Biafra will definitely continue because they will continue to have that feeling that they don’t belong to Nigeria, that Nigerians don’t want to accept the fact that they are also Nigerians.”