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2023 to test Nigeria’s unity in diversity, says group

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Insists on S’East producing Buhari’s successor
A group, Southeast for President 2023 Movement (SEFORP2023), has declared that 2023 would be litmus test for Nigeria’s unity in diversity, insisting that the zone should be allowed to produce the nation’s next chief executive.

It also called on the new leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to remain non-partisan as a socio-cultural organisation of all Igbo, but be committed to the cause of the presidency coming to the Southeast in 2023.

The group’s National Coordinator, Rev. Okechukwu Obioha, who addressed a press conference yesterday in Enugu, stated that the rest of the country must accept that the country’s independence could not have been possible without the tripod of North, East and West, stressing that political power must be made to rotate in that order to engender development, peace and unity.

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He regretted that more than 50 years of nationhood, political power had rotated to the exclusion of the east.His words: “The further political delineation of the country into six geo political zones of the North-Central, North-East, North-West, South-West, South-South and South-East for easier administrative purposes has not helped to address the imbalance in political power sharing and infrastructure development.

“This is because, while the power equation has continued to rotate, it has been concentrated around the North-West, North-East, North-Central, South-West and South-South, leaving out, again, the South-East.

“The years the military occupied the political space were dominated by army officers from the North, including Yakubu Gowon, Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha, Abubakar Abdulsalami, as well as the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari. Even under civilian administration, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Muhammadu Buhari, all from the North, have served or still serving.

“The South-West has benefitted in Olusegun Obasanjo as military head of state and civilian president, as well as the interim administration of Ernest Shonekan.

“The South-South has benefitted in Goodluck Jonathan, who became President after Yar’Adua died and re-contested election thereafter to serve for another four years.”

Explaining that in all this, the Southeast zone had been left behind, Okechukwu asserted that the observed anomalies informed the birth of his group to galvanise support of the rest of the country for the zone to produce Buhari’s successor in 2023 in the spirit of equity, justice and fair play.

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“We feel that doing so will not only strengthen the bond of unity, but also engender development and instil a sense of belonging in the zone in the Nigerian project.

As a movement, our desire is that all political parties, particularly the two major political parties – APC and PDP – and any other emerging third force, should cede their presidential tickets to the Southeast zone in 2023, while other aspirations from other zones should be subsumed into that of the Southeast,” he added.

The national coordinator argued that such was the scenario in 1999 when in an attempt to assuage frayed nerves in the South-West over the annulled presidential election of the late Chief MKO Abiola, the PDP and AD/APP zoned their presidential tickets to the region, adding that allowing the arrangement in 2023 would foster unity.

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