By Frank Ikpefan, Abuja
A group, Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development, has thrown its weights behind Igbo presidency, insisting the presidency should rotate to the South East zone and not to any other.
The group, which noted, its support was borne out of the need for every zone to have a taste of the presidency, further flayed the marginalisation of the South-East zone in the scheme of things since 1999.
Its National Coordinator, Engr. Zana Goni and National Women Leader, Mario Bichi, in a statement, on Sunday, appealed to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to zone their tickets to the region.
It emphasised the need for all political interest groups to allow the South East rule Nigeria for the sake of justice and equity.
It urged Ohanaeze Ndigbo to lobby other regions to support the ambition of the South-East, vowing to mobilise support with a view to achieving Igbo Presidency in 2023.
The statement reads: “Since President Buhari is from the North, the right thing is that after his eight-year tenure, the next president should come from Southern Nigeria and since South West and South South have occupied the office in the current dispensation, the South East is next in line in the spirit of the rotation principle, fairness, equity and justice.
“This will bring an end to the manifest marginalisation of the South East. This will foster national unity, and also bring to a close the bitterness of the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, which has lingered for 50 years since the end of hostilities and engender unity.
“There is no denying the fact that the Igbos have contributed greatly to the development of this country. It is time for us all to reciprocate their good gestures through mass support for the next president to emerge from the South East.
“We tasked Ohanaeze Ndigbo (umbrella organization of Igbos worldwide), to reach out to great Igbo leaders to make contacts with leaders from other geo- political zones and interest groups for support for South East president.
“In 1993, General Sani Abacha created six geopolitical zones in Nigeria-South East, South West, South-South, North East, North West and North Central, the elders added that the creations were to help streamline the way the country was structured.
“The creation was for the purposes of using the zones as yardsticks towards ensuring equity, justice and fair play in the sharing and allocation of Nigerian economic, political and social resources among the component parts of the country.
“We have observed that since the inception of the six geo-political zones, it has become a standard for component parts of each of the zones to leanon this arrangement in demanding for fair play in interactions for allocation of resources.
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“The Northern elders desire to stand on this zoning arrangement to make a point on 2023 Presidency that is of grave importance to South-East geo-political zone in particular and Nigeria in general.”
The group thanked leaders of the South East extraction for not taking cessation as an option despite the activities of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, which the group accused of attempting to destabilise the country’s unity by hiding under the delayed Igbo presidency.
“We wish to thank Igbo elites and leaders for openly coming out to denounce the treasonable activities of the leader of outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who hinged his action on the delayed emergency of Igbo presidency,” the statement added.