A South East group yesterday hit Makurdi to engage in talks with a North Central group focusing on the South East’s agitation to produce President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor in 2023.
The meeting was held under the auspices of South-East and North-Central Forum.
Chairman of the forum, Afam Ezenwafor, who doubles as Chairman, Conference of 2019 South-East All Progressives Congress (APC) House of Assembly Candidates, said it became necessary for the South East to collaborate with North Central to realise its dream of a president of Igbo extraction in 2023.
“We cannot do without the middle and North Central is in the middle. What is holding Nigeria together is the Middle Belt. Our synergy with North Central will form a formidable force towards winning the race in 2023. North Central is the fulcrum of this country,” he said.
He pledged that the South East would present a good material for the 2023 presidency.
“Igbo people see Nigeria as their business, and since they don’t ever want their business to crash, Nigeria will not crash in the hand of the Igbo. We are also aware that there is a need for us to bring a sound candidate and that we can assure you we will do because the destiny of this country lies in our hands,” Ezenwafor added. He decried the incessant herdsmen attacks on farmers in North Central and promised that it would be addressed in 2023.
The convener of the forum, George Ugwuja, explained that the meeting was at the instance of the Conference of 2019 South East APC House of Assembly Candidates made up of all the candidates that contested the 2019 House of Assembly elections in the South East.
According to him, part of the forum’s agenda is to demand a president of South-East extraction, adding that they are counting on the support of North Central. Ugwuja assured the South East of North Central’s support in its quest to produce the next president.
Meanwhile, a group, Equity Legacy Initiative (ELI), has warned against tampering with the power rotation arrangement in Abia State in the 2023 governorship election.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s tenure expires in 2023, and the group wants power to move from Abia South (Ikpeazu’s zone) to Abia North.
Some politicians from Abia South and Abia Central are said to be preparing to contest the governorship seat in the next election, Abia North believes it is its turn to occupy the office.
Orji Kalu of Abia North was governor from 1999 to 2007, followed by Theodore Orji of Abia Central from 2007 to 2015. Coordinator, ELI, Dr. Emeka Wachuku, said yesterday during a meeting in Umuahia, the body would ensure that the power rotation arrangement in the state was not set-aside in 2023.
According to the group, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should zone its 2023 governorship slot to Abia North. It said: “Equity should continue to prevail in Abia State. Abia North and Central have served for eight years each while Abia South is serving out its own eight years. The sincere thing to do is simply to have Abia North produce the next governor in 2023.”