A former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, has responded to a statement by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, that Igbos, by voting against President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives, APC, have already lost the opportunity to bid for 2023 presidential seat.
Mr Obi, the vice presidential candidate of Nigeria’s main opposition party (PDP), said Mr Amaechi is not from the Southeast and, therefore, in no position to write the region off from the next presidential election.
Mr Amaechi, a former governor of River State in a recent interview with Sun Newspaper said the Igbos have nothing to bring in negotiating for 2023 presidency.
“I don’t know what they will do now for voting against the APC. For refusing to support the APC, they cannot come to the table to demand the presidency slot.
“For people like us in the APC, if the Igbos had come and voted Buhari, they would boldly tell Mr President and the National Chairman of the party that the presidency should go the Southeast since the South-south; South-west and North-west have produced a president.
“What argument would the Southeast come up with now to convince anybody that they deserve the slot for 2023 president?”
Responding, Mr Obi said he (Amaechi) is not in any position to make such statements because “even he that is in APC; he did not contribute anything to the success of that election,” the Nation Newspaper reported.
“He did not even achieve anything in his own state. Those of us from the Southeast who are from the PDP contributed to the success of our party.
“The PDP in my state got 95 per cent. They (APC) didn’t even get 25 per cent in Rivers State. So he is not competent to speak on the Presidency in 2023.”
The Conundrum of 2023 Presidency
Though the Igbos are one of the three major tribes in Nigeria, nobody from that region has become president since the country’s return to democracy in 1999.
This has been the gripe of many Igbos and it appears to be pacified by the unwritten zoning formula which allows the two divides (North and South) produce a president in an election cycle.
The formula, which is not cast on stone and has been truncated at least twice, is expected to zone the presidency to the South-east in 2023.
Ahead of this years’ general elections, the APC – though its leaders shared divergent views – ultimately asked south easterners to vote for Mr Buhari and the party in exchange for a presidential slot in 2023.
According to the Cable, Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the Federation (SGF), said the chances of Igbo’s to a presidential ticket would only depend on their vote in favour of Mr Buhari.
But, the position of Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola on the matter was at variance with that of Mr Mustapha; many APC leaders and; even Mr Amaechi as at then.
The former Lagos governor said 2023 presidential ticket of the ruling party would be zoned to the South-West, while urging the region to vote for APC.
Meanwhile, the South-east voted very little for the APC. As they have done in previous elections, they voted significantly for the PDP.
In the interview, Mr Amaechi said Igbos are completely out of the national politics.