NIGERIA – Ahead of the 2023 presidential election, the Conference of 2019 South-East All Progressives Congress, APC, House of Assembly Candidates has called for mutual respect of the existing zoning arrangement.
The group, which is made up of all the House of Assembly candidates in the 2019 election across the South-East states, said this was not the time for anyone to think of altering the rotation of power between Northern and Southern Nigeria.
A statement made available, which was signed by the chairman of the Conference, Hon. Afam Ezenwafor and the Secretary, Hon George Ugwuja, said the South-East remained the only zone yet to produce a President since the country’s return to democratic rule.
They declared that “this is a very pressing political miscalculation that has triggered agitations for secessions. The time to make it right is now.
“Since the return to democratic rule, Nigeria’s political system has been sustained and political tensions averted or subdued due to an effective cooperation between regional political coalitions which is a major element for this stability.
“Besides the constitutional provisions on proportional representation in government, other extra-constitutional and internal political arrangements among regional elites, such as zoning and rotation, have contributed substantially towards stability. Every other geopolitical zone has served and now it is the turn for South East Nigeria.”
They explained that the Conference “is the largest pressure group from the ruling party with closest structures in the grassroots.
“It is made up of the best of young politicians who won their tickets through merit. We are over one hundred and thirty and each of us have a minimum of four thousand supporters. We have listened to them and they are all asking for a chance for a South Eastern President to consolidate the unity of this country.
“We are consulting to stimulate discussions ahead of time. As a country, it is not this time that we can afford to change our zoning formula; now is not the right time to ignore ethnic tensions and promote marginalization.“We are here to make our stand clear that it is the turn of the South-east and our leaders are trained and ready to lead Nigeria.”
“To match our words with action, we have scaled up consultations at national level. Some of the stakeholders we have visited include Hon. Minister of Science and Technology, His Excellency, Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, former Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Chukwuemeka Ezeife. We have also reached out to political stakeholders in North Central and we are looking out for a joint press conference in October 2020.
“It is said that ‘politics is not given, it is taken’; we are fully aware and ready but decide to clear every sentiment surrounding those that may hide under such statements to deny the South East their political rights.
“We are appealing to the sensibilities of all political parties in Nigeria to show support and regard for Ndigbo. We have reached out to the Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo and every other home and abroad social cultural organizations in the South-East and the music is that we are ready because it is time,” they further declared.