The Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi said God’s anointing is needed for the Igbo to produce the president of Nigeria in 2023.
There has been an increasing agitation for President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor to come from Nigeria’s South-east.
“We need God’s own anointing for our own anointed president for the interests and unity of this country,” Mr Umahi said to reporters on Monday in the Presidential Villa after a meeting with Mr Buhari.
He was responding to a question from a reporter who asked him if, as the chairman of the South-east governors’ forum, he was going to put pressure on the two major political parties – the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – to pick their presidential candidates from the South-east.
“My position about what you ask is that our people that are in those political parties are making the effort in selling the need for the south-east to produce the next president,” the governor said.
Mr Umahi, however, said power rests in the hands of God.
The governor, apparently trying to play down on the issue, said he was much more interested in completing the infrastructural projects his administration was handling in Ebonyi State.
‘I came to thank the President’
Mr Umahi said he was in the Presidential villa to thank President Buhari for the federal government’s “mega projects” in the country’s South-east.
He said the second Niger Bridge and railway line that passes through some of the South-east states are part of Mr Buhari’s efforts at “restoring that hope” in the region.
“The second Niger Bridge is fast becoming a reality. Each time we visit that bridge location it’s always like a dream. So we the people of the South-east are very grateful to Mr President for this.
“We also thank him for the award of these Eastern corridors of the railway line. This is a project that is going to fast track the commercial activities of our people. I recall that when I was in school, I used to join train from my state, Ebonyi and then get up to Maiduguri where my brothers were staying for my holidays.
“Mr President is about restoring that hope. We are deeply very grateful,” the governor said.
Mr Umahi’s defection last year from the main opposition party, the PDP, to the ruling APC has heightened speculations that he wants to run for president in 2023.
Apart from Nnamdi Azikiwe, who served as the first Nigerian president from 1963 to 1966, under a parliamentary system of government where Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was the prime minister with executive powers, and Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, a major-general, who became a military head of state after a bloody coup in January 1966, no person from Igbo ethnic nationality has ruled Nigeria.
Mr Ironsi, from Umuahia in the present-day Abia State, was head of state for just six months; he was outed and killed on July 28, 1966 in Nigeria’s second military coup generally referred to as the “counter coup”.
Some Nigerians believe the current agitation for an independent republic of Biafra would easily fizzle out if an Igbo person becomes the president in 2023.
“2023 Igbo Presidency is not negotiable, and it’s our date with destiny and any manoeuvring may spell doom to the unity of the country,” some Igbo youths, under the aegis of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council, had warned in 2018, before the Biafra agitation degenerated to destruction and killings in the South-east.
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