*Lampoons APC for Leaving the South East Out of 2023 Calculations
*Argues PDP Remains Best Option for Ndigbo if left out in power equation
A former member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Hon. Victor Afam Ogene has called on Igbo leaders across political divides to urgently convoke a summit of Ndigbo if the zone is not to be left outside the power loop for yet another eight years.
“The eight years of the current All Progressives Congress, APC-led federal government – most of which the Igbo spent lamenting its near obliteration from the country’s power calculus – is gradually coming to an end, yet there is neither an indication that the situation would be redressed, nor is there a concerted attempt by Ndigbo to avert a repeat of the status quo,” Hon. Ogene said in a recent statement.
A chieftain of the APC, Hon. Ogene who served as Director, Media and Publicity in the Party’s 2021 gubernatorial campaigns in Anambra State, stated that “it was particularly irksome that in the clamour for the rotation of the presidential stool to the South, APC leaders appear to have deliberately refrained from specifically zoning the position to the South East, in the spirit of equity, fairness, good conscience and precedent.
“For those who are wont to hide under a finger, by citing the less than admirable acceptance of the party in the region, providence and precedent offer a simple answer: there once was a President who emerged despite electoral rejection by his ward, local government, state and region.
“Now that Ndigbo find themselves in a similar situation, why would the rules of engagement change suddenly? Are the power brokers who despite everything else resolved the 1999 quagmire in favour of the preservation of national unity no longer alive to apply the same balm of inclusivity to accommodate Ndigbo?
“Today’s APC stands in the gap as the behemoth People’s Democratic Party, PDP at the time it took the largely unpopular but historic decision to support a candidate from the South West to emerge as President. With a country bursting at the seams by feelings of alienation, wouldn’t an affirmative action initiative offer some form of panacea, if not outright healing, for the many disparate agitators who struggle with the landscape?
“For every cursory observer of the ferocious politicking currently going on in the APC, however, it would be akin to wanting the sun to stand still, should one crave a Presidential ticket from the party for a South Easterner.
“Speaking realistically, once the position is zoned to the South and a candidate emerges from either the South West or South-South, that forecloses the possibility of getting a Vice Presidential slot for Ndigbo. And if the Party triumphs in the 2023 election, its exclusion from the power loop would be stretched by another eight years.
“This, therefore, is a wake-up call on all Igbo leaders of note to gird their loins and seek negotiations and accommodation for the greater political interest of the South East.
“Not too long ago, Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, in a barely disguised pursuit of personal interest, left the PDP for the APC, on the excuse that Ndigbo won’t be available for a Vice Presidential slot under the PDP. Today, with the possibility of getting even that in the APC a mirage, Igbo leaders, including Umahi, may well begin to positively reconsider that offer – unless, of course, the APC weans itself off its seeming anti-Igbo stance and do what is right.
“Indeed, let’s face it, the only reason former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo are considered serious contenders for the Presidency is their hands-on experience on the top job, as former and sitting Vice Presidents.
“Indeed, with the APC almost certainly going South, and the PDP, North, Ndigbo ought to commence an urgent process of political re-engineering – one which would attract greater political capital for the people of the region.
“Only two days ago, in a unique display of brinkmanship, three aspiring presidential candidates of the PDP met and resolved to forge a common front through a consensus agreement. A close look at the dramatis personae involved in the consensus talks would easily reveal that besides personal ambition, what is at stake is the greater interest of the entire North.
“With Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal(Northwest), Bala Mohammed(Northeast), and former Senate President, Bukola Saraki(Northcentral), leading the charge, anyone with a mere passing interest in Nigerian politics would understand that the presidential train is about leaving the station.
“Indeed, I can vouchsafe that the Sokoto State Governor, Tambuwal, widely acknowledged as the ‘Unifier,’ is a true friend of Ndigbo, and would not let people of the area down in the current permutations.
“While 2023 may appear to be a long shot in the presidential quest of the South East, 2031 would certainly not be – especially if it forms part of the demands in the negotiations leading up to the emergence of presidential candidates, and ultimately the country’s next president.”