In the last few days, some leaders of the All Progressive Congress, APC had raised an alarm that there is a plot by some unnamed persons from another part of the country to scuttle Igbo Presidency in 2023.
First to reveal the plot was South East Vice Chairman of the APC, Emma Eneukwu. Speaking at the Uburu country home of Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, during a stakeholders meeting, Eneukwu said some non Igbos are making moves to thwart the desire of Igbos to have the presidency at the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure in 2023.
““They lose sight of the fact that power comes from God. If God says that you will not achieve a particular target, you will not achieve it; no matter what you do.
“But, I know that the God we serve will not watch our own share pass us by.
“He will not allow other people to take away what belongs to us. We understand that power is not given but taken.
“So, while everybody says that it is the turn of Ndigbo in 2023, we have to work for it because every other person is entitled to contest. But, the sentiment that is there is that people would say that these people (Igbo) have not ruled before,” he added.
Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha and Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum also revealed such plans to deny Igbos the Presidency in 2023.
Okorocha had announced his intention to vie for the Presidency after President Buhari’ second tenure in 2023.
While Eneukwu did not give details of the plan, Okorocha was more open in his allegations. He said his present political ordeal in the APC was a result of the alleged plan to deny Ndi Igbo the Presidency in 2023.
“What I am suffering now in APC started two years ago in Lagos. They called my subordinates including my deputy and asked them to team up to fight me.
“ Hope Uzodinma joined them lately. They decided to use him because they saw him as a strong person, being a sitting Senator.
“The whole thing is about my 2023 presidential ambition. They want to shut out any Igbo man who is strong politically from the 2023 presidential race. But despite the gang up, I must contest for President in 2023”
Indeed,there has been a silent race for the Presidency in 2023 in the APC despite the fact President Buhari is even yet to win a second term in 2019.Close observers of the unfolding political scenario in the APC attest to this.
It was Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola who reportedly said that the South West will be in the race for the Presidency in 2023.
This was further corroborated by Vice President Yemi Osibanjo who was also reported in the media to have said that South West votes for Buhari in 2019 will ensure the region takes over the Presidency in 2023.
It was observed that while leaders of the APC in the South East are making a rightful claim, concern has been raised on the sloppy growth of the party in the South East which may be weakening its agitation for the Nigerian Presidency in 2023.
In the 2015 elections, the APC won only in Imo State. The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP garnered three States- Ebonyi, Enugu and Abia States, while the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA retained Anambra State.
An APC chieftain, Chuks Amadi said if the South East must make a strong claim for the Presidency after Buhari’s tenure in 2023, it has to vote massively for the President in 2019.
“ If Igbo Presidency must be a reality in 2023, 2019 offers another unique opportunity for the entire South East to vote for President Buhari. That will strengthen their clamour to take over from him in 2023. Igbo Presidency is feasible in the APC but we must not think it is a wishful thinking, we must work for it
He continued “ The South West is also making strong claims to it and they have started to put their house in order. They are already strategizing for 2019 to smoothen their path in 2023.
“ All the South West States are in the firm grip of the APC. The President already has a solid support base in the region. And if they vote for the President in the 2019 elections, they will be in pole position to vie for it in 2023. It is not enough for leaders of the party in the South East to lament that it is the turn of the South East. Power is not given but taken. In other words, our leaders must see the need to work together and deliver the South East to the party in the coming 2019 elections” he said
Delivering the votes for President Buhari in 2019 has indeed become a yardstick for which zone should go for the Presidency in 2023. But Mr. Okechukwu Onuorah, a political analyst disagrees.
He said “ We need not put our eggs in one basket. The APC must recognize the fact that it is the turn of the South East to take over the Presidency after President Buhari completes his tenure in 2019.
“ When Obasanjo was elected President in 1999, the South West States was controlled by the Alliance For Democracy, AD. There was a national consensus at that time that the South West ought to be pacified with the Presidency after the June 12, 1993 presidential election won by Chief Abiola but was cancelled by Babangida’s government.
“The South West moved to the PDP temporarily in 2003 when Obasanjo was seeking for a second term.
“ Whether the South East is APC controlled or not, It is right for the region to have the Presidency in 2023 since the North, South West and South – South have all produced the nation’s President.
He continued “The South East had continoulsy lamented over its marginalization since the APC took over power at the centre. There are issues bordering on lopsided appointments which did not favour the region which gave rise to other issues.
” The APC must walk its talk by making us believe that indeed we can rightly say we have a stake in the party now and in 2023 after Buhari must have been re- elected in 2019.
Gang Up: Fiction Or Reality?
The alleged gang up against Igbo Presidency in the APC has thrown up various interpretations.
Governor Rochas Okorocha had said he is a victim of the gang up citing recent political developments in Imo APC which did not favour his succession plan as part of the plot.
Analyst contend that Okorocha’s claims may not be out of place though he was more personal about the clamour
Mr. Ernest Onwuka, a chieftain of the APC in Abia State said it is not enough for party leaders in the South East to sit back and complain.
He said “ Politics is all about conspiracies. There is nothing wrong if the South West want to go for the Presidency in 2023. it is the right of anyone right to contest.
“It is politically immature for anyone to allude that because it is the turn of the South East, every non Igbo will go to sleep. If we believe it is the turn of Ndi Igbo after Buhari’ s tenure ends in 2023, there is need for constructive engagement. We must play the politics of power in the country. It is not enough to complain. We must get to work and the time is now. How we approach the matter will determine if we will be on a wild goose chase or not.
“Indeed,there has been a silent race for the Presidency in 2023 in the APC despite the fact President Buhari is even yet to win a second term in 2019.Close observers of the unfolding political scenario in the APC attest to this”
ADDITIONAL REPORT: RALPH EJIMKOYE