The Igbo premier socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has maintained that the presidency must return to the country’s southern region ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
The Northern Elders Forum, or NEF, is opposed to presidential zoning, according to Ohanaeze, because it was the Southeast’s turn to produce Nigeria’s president.
The body was reacting to the NEF’s position on the Presidency’s zoning.
The NEF recently expressed its displeasure with the zoning of the 2023 Presidency.
Reacting, Ohanaeze in a statement titled: “The zoning shenanigans in Nigeria”, signed by its spokesman, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, said NEF was trying to destroy what balances Nigeria instead of seeking solutions to the country’s problems.
The body recalled how power rotated from former President Olusegun Obasanjo (Southwest) to Musa Yar’Adua (North) to Goodluck Jonathan (Southsouth) and to President Muhammadu Buhari (North).
Ohanaeze disclosed that the issue of rotation of power was conceived in 1994 by some Nigerian patriots to ensure equity and inclusiveness of all parts of the country.
“It was also agreed that political offices will be zoned or distributed among the zones in such a way that every zone will have a sense of belonging. Furthermore, the Presidency in Nigeria will rotate among the zones to promote peace, unity and progress.
“The NEF is aware that Nigeria has religiously followed the rotation and zoning principle since 1999 with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (South West) as the elected President of Nigeria. Obasanjo, in keeping with the rotation principle, handed over to former President Umaru Yar’Adua ( North West) in 2007.
“With the death of Yar’Adua, a Southerner, specifically the South-South, in the person of Dr Goodluck Jonathan was elected as President. Jonathan also handed over to a Northerner, President Muhammadu Buhari, whose second tenure of four years will end in 2023. By the rotation and zoning principle that has been in operation in Nigeria, it is only fair that the Presidency be zoned to the South, specifically the South-East region,” he said.
Some stakeholders have been clamouring that the Southeast should produce Nigeria’s next President in 2023.