By Emmanuel Ugwu
Political leaders from the South-east geopolitical zone have come together across party lines and appealed to the other five zones of the country to support the quest for Nigeria’s next president to come from the east in 2023.
The political leaders Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu; former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim; and former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, among others — urged all political parties to cede their 2023 presidential tickets to the South-east.
These appeals were contained in a five-point communiqué read to journalists by the former Senate President, Anyim, at the end of the cross-party meeting of the prominent political leaders at Neya Camp, the Igbere home of the convener, Senator Kalu.
In soliciting for the backing of other zones to actualise the quest for the South-east to occupy Aso Rock in 2023, the political leaders noted that such concession has become necessary “in the interest of justice, equity and national unity”.
“It is the loudest reassurance of equality of all parts and that the country indeed belongs to all members of the Nigerian commonwealth,” the communique said, adding that the South-east needs the support of all Nigerians irrespective of ethnic, political and religious colourations.
The political leaders allayed the fears of other zones on what to expect from a Nigerian president from the South-east, assuring Nigerians that such a leader would carry along every section of the country.
According to them, a president from the South-east “will work to unite and develop every part of the country”, adding that: “Such a president will be president of all Nigerians, irrespective of their political, ethnic and religious backgrounds.”
The communique observed that the dreams of Nigeria’s founding fathers was “that all citizens and every part of the country is given a sense of belonging and treated with utmost sense of justice”, hence a president from the South-east would not deviate from this noble dream.
The South-east political leaders also reminded every Nigerian that the nation’s founding fathers not only committed themselves to the creed of brotherhood in diversity but also “building a just nation, where no man is oppressed so that Nigeria may be blessed with peace, plenty and prosperity”.
They therefore stated that the presidential aspiration of the entire South-east is justified and the support of the rest of the country is needed “as a mark of good faith and to promote justice and national harmony”.
The political leaders restated their commitment to “the deepening of the nation’s democracy as the surest way to national development and building an egalitarian society, where no man is oppressed for reasons of class, ethnic, religious or political affiliation”.
They resolved that the South-east “with substantial presence in every part of the country” would not hesitate to give bloc votes and full support to any of the two major political parties that nominated their presidential candidates from the zone.
The convener of the meeting, Kalu, had in his opening remarks, explained that the gathering was aimed at uniting all the prominent politicians from the zone and foster unity of purpose in the collective political aspiration of the zone.
The meeting was attended by several senators, House of Representatives members from the zone, as well as other prominent politicians from across the five states of South-east.