Prominent personalities from Igbo extraction under the aegis of Igbo Elders Consultative Forum, on Wednesday, insisted that the South-East geo-political zone must produce the next President of Nigeria.
They also threatened heavy sanctions against any Igbo politician that would accept to be presidential running mate to any person.
According to them, it would be either the South-East is allowed to produce Nigeria’s next president in 2023 or the region would quit Nigeria.
The Chairman of IECF and former Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, stated these during a press briefing in Abuja.
Among those present at the briefing were a former Minister of Education; Prof. Ihechukwu Madubuike; Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo (FCT chapter), Dr. Kingsley Nkonye; His Royal Majesty, Igwe Ibe Nwosu, and several leading Igbo scholars and traditional title holders.
The Secretary of IECF, Prof. Charles Nwekeaku, warned that any political party that does not zone its presidential ticket to the South-East will lose the region’s votes.
“We are waiting for them (political parties), as they will meet their Waterloo this time if they insist on shortchanging the Southeast people this rare opportunity of producing a credible, patriotic, detribalized, and dynamic president of Nigeria in 2023”, he said.
Ezeife said, “Emboldened by the increasing demand and support by credible and patriotic Nigerians for power to shift to the South in 2023, the Igbo Elders Forum hereby encourages visionary, credible and creative presidential materials of South-East zone to declare their intention for the presidency and pursue it with every sense of seriousness, vigour, and commitment.
“We are very serious about this directive and do not mean those unserious bootlickers, who are angling to be running mates to candidates from other parts of the country, as the Igbos will not take it lightly with any of our sons or daughters who accept to be running mates to any person outside the South-East zone in 2023.
“It is either we are allowed to produce the president of this country in 2023 to change the appalling narrative of continued decay, poverty, insecurity, poor governance, corruption, and maladministration in Nigeria or out of it. No half measure, as serious sanctions will be visited on any Igbo man or woman that sabotages this noble and patriotic decision of our people to provide for Nigeria a credible, visionary, and creative president.
“Legally, morally, and strategically, it is the turn of the Southeast to produce the next president of the country as the other zones have been given the opportunity to serve this country in that capacity.”
Ezeife also argued that it was not just for the sake of equity, justice, and fairness, but also for a change of narrative of Nigeria, which he described as the sleeping giant of Africa.