Nigeria’s president in 2023 must come from the South-south zone in order to “balance the political equation” of the country, the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, has said.
Goodluck Jonathan, the first person from the South-south to be elected president of Nigeria, was unable to win a second term in 2015. He was defeated by the current President Muhammadu Buhari.
There are speculations that Mr Jonathan may run again for president in 2023, on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress.
Mr Shaibu, who spoke in Benin City, Edo State, on Saturday, during a reception organised in honour of Dan Orbih, the newly elected National Vice Chair, South-south, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said it was important that the next president comes from the zone.
“We voted for President Buhari again and he had a second term, so South-south must produce the next President of Nigeria,” he said, adding that the PDP must strive to produce the president in 2023.
The deputy governor described Mr Orbih as an astute politician, and said the South-south zone would not be left behind at the national level, with his leadership in the zone.
“That is why we have you. You have a great task ahead of you. You will not only drive it, but we will support you to the benefit of all of us,” Mr Shaibu told Mr Orbih whom he said fought hard to turn around the fortunes of PDP from being the opposition to the ruling party in Edo.
Mr Orbih, in his remark, pledged to reposition PDP and make the party stronger ahead of the 2023 general elections.
He assured party members that he would change the fortunes of the party and the zone ahead of 2023.
He said he was committed to the political development of the zone and the party.
“Let me assure the leaders and members of our party that I will at all times defend the interest of our party and our zone.
“Let me use this occasion to call on leaders to stop playing politics with the development of the Niger Delta region.
Mr Orbih condemned the failure of the federal government to constitute the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in accordance with the Act.
“The NDDC is now a celebrated institution of fraud and scandal, denying the Niger Delta people of accelerated development as envisaged in the Act.
“Until a proper board is inaugurated, the government should suspend all allocations to the commission,” he said.
Mr Orbih also challenged the Edo government to recover looted and misappropriated funds in the state.
“You cannot leave Edo money for development in the hands of a few pretentious self-styled crusaders.
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“I call on them to use this Lenten season to seek forgiveness and return ill-acquired wealth and let the people benefit.
“Edo must move forward. South-south must move forward,” Mr Orbih said.
The Speaker, Edo House of Assembly, Marcus Onobun, said he was hopeful the South-south chairman of the PDP would not only deliver the zone for PDP, but would ensure victory and emergence of the next President from the zone in 2023.
Friends and political associates of the zonal party leader, while celebrating him, pledged their support for the PDP as part of efforts to reposition the party ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
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