NIGERIA – The South-South Elders’ Forum has declared that the 2023 presidency should be ceded to the zone to avert crisis.
The Elders said giving 2023 presidency to the north will tear Nigeria apart, as the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure completes North’s two tenures.
Sara Igbe, the National Publicity Secretary of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, said South South has used just one tenure, adding that it is only fair to allow the zone to produce the next president for another four years to complete the zone’s second tenure.
Speaking to Vanguard, he claimed that South-East was agitating for Biafra Republic and not the 2023 Presidency.
Igbe said: “The race for the presidency has started and it is a clear fact that there is an unconventional agreement that the presidency should go to north and south.
“Currently, the presidency is in the north and they have completed their two tenures. It implies that the presidency will come back to the south. In the south, we have three zones — South-West, South-South and South-East.
“The South-West has had their complete tenure through President Olusegun Obasanjo, South-South had had one tenure through President Goodluck Jonathan and South-East has not gotten it in the new dispensation.
“But if you are talking about the whole of Nigeria, the north has ruled for over 40 years, South-West ruled for almost 12 years, the South-East has ruled for six months and the South-South has ruled for one tenure of four years. And so obviously, it is right for the South-South to complete their two tenures, thereafter, in the south, South-East will have a clinch of it.
“Besides that, South-East today is insisting on Biafra, they are not insisting on presidency. We in the South-South believe in the restructuring of this country but we are also interested in the presidency. We want to complete our second tenure.
“And considering our role in Nigeria, the current developed Nigeria, we believe that we are the hub carrying Nigeria, the nation should be fair to us by allowing us to complete our second tenure. When we complete our second tenure, we will now believe that Nigeria is with us.
“We are not interested in dividing Nigeria, but we are interested in repositioning Nigeria. We can assure Nigeria that the present feelings of the Igbo, when the South-South man comes, he would douse it, because South-East and South-South are brothers. They are of the same mother and the same father.
“South-West and South-South are also brothers of the same father but different mothers. So, we believe that when the South-South man is completing his tenure, he will talk out the Igbo from Biafra.
“Although the three regions—South-East, South-South, South-West in the south and Middle Belt in the north believe in restructuring, the South-South is willing to stand by restructuring but that does not mean that we will throw away the presidency. So we are appealing to Nigerians to please do us that small favour of giving us the second term.”
“We know that Nigerians can do it like when the Yoruba agitated. All the parties then, the Yoruba were allowed to vie for the presidency—Obasanjo, Falaye and co. So we are saying all the parties in Nigeria should field South-South persons.
“Nigerians can choose the best amongst them. If a South South man comes it will help Nigeria, our oil production will increase, our gas production will increase, and we will also give intellectual contribution.
“We will carry everyone along, we will have intellectual think tank that will assist the president in ensuring that every part of this country is adequately managed, presented and favoured. We believe in one Nigeria and that is why we are appealing that Nigeria should work with us so that we will not divide this country.
“There is no need for us to divide ourselves, there are misunderstandings which we can resolve. There are complex countries in the whole world yet they come together, they work together. Even America that today we are celebrating was not one country, it was an amalgamation of so many states and despite their differences but because they have fiscal federalism, because their economy is restructured, they have financial autonomy, everybody is on his own doing his own thing and that is what Nigeria needs.”