A former governor of Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, on Saturday said the South-east was prepared to kneel for any region to garner support to clinch the presidency in 2023.
Mr Ezeife said this at the United For Better Nigeria Initiative national convention, held in Abuja.
According to him, Nigeria has the potential of developing into a superpower, as such should carry everybody along without discrimination.
“I found Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and other groups in this place talking about the need for federal character.
“There will be unity if there is fairness, equity, justice. In the absence of those, you see what we are now.”
According to him, even though the Igbo people don’t prostrate, “but this time, we are prepared to kneel down to every part of Nigeria, every group, every ethnic group in Nigeria.
“We are prepared to even prostrate because we believe in this country.”
Mr Ezeife said Igbo people have contributed greatly to the development of Nigeria in terms of infrastructure, intellect, and business, as such Nigerians should give them the chance to develop the country.
“We must unite and the South-east has to bring their own,” he added.
Former president of the Nigerian Senate, Anyim Pius Anyim, however, said though it was neither a right nor legal for the South-east to demand for the presidency, it was morally right for all Nigerians to support them.
Mr Anyim said the South-east should reach out and persuade other regions to support their dream of producing Nigeria’s President in 2023.
“Is it right for the South-east to produce the next president? My own answer is, legally no, and the reason is that the Constitution is clear, the Constitution says every Nigerian of 40 years is entitled to aspire for that office.
“On the other side, morally is it right, is it an entitlement? I will say yes, because the federal character principle enshrined in the constitution encourages rotation.
“The reason I have to make this clarification is that when the right you have is not legal, the only approach and the instrument you have is persuasion.
“So the approach, the language will be to persuade others to see reason with you that morally they should support you to take a turn since it rotates.”
Mr Anyim, therefore, encouraged the South-east to continue advocating for a president, but “should be with an altitude persuasion.”
Nkolika Mkparu, coordinator-general of the group, said electing the next president of Nigeria from the South-east would assuage the feeling of political marginalisation in the region.
Mrs Mkparu said the United For Better Nigeria Initiative is a non-partisan political advocacy group committed to a united Nigeria.
She said the group’s focus on South-east agitation for president was to ensure political balance in the country.
“Support from the South-east region alone would not suffice, thus the need to appeal to other regions to join in.
“The truth of the matter is that our strongest strength is from the north, our great leaders are from the north.
“So we are working with the whole nation with the understanding that inclusiveness is what will lead Nigeria to a better future.
“Inclusiveness that will bring us together in one union, is what will bring our country together.
“Nigeria is huge enough for everybody, Nigeria has the capacity to hold everybody, Nigeria has the intellectuals, Nigeria has all it takes to lift the county, all we are asking for is to give the southeast also a chance to try their part,” Mrs Mkparu said.
The guest speaker, Mutiullahi Olasupo, also backed the agitation of the South-east to produce Nigeria’s president in 2023.
He said it would be in the interest of peace and natural justice to have the next president from the South-east.
Mr Osupo, a professor and director of the Institute for Peace, Leadership and Development Studies, University of Abuja, appealed to all political parties and Nigerians to resolve to support the region.
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