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Ohanaeze Ndigbo tasks northern elders on justice, equity

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Okorocha backs southern govs over power shift in 2023
Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday, reacted to northern elders’ rejection of power shift to the south, insisting that those who love the corporate existence of Nigeria should embrace truth, equity and justice.

It advised the northern elders to take wise counsel and ensure that its actions and utterances do not lead to disintegration of the country, as was the case before the 1914 amalgamation.

Southern governors, who met on Tuesday in Lagos had demanded power shift to the south in 2023 in line with the power rotation pact between the North and South.

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In response to the declaration, however, Northern Elders Forum (NEF) in a statement issued by its Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, stated that the region would not be intimidated into yielding to an office that ought to be settled democratically.

But reacting to the statement, yesterday, Ohanaeze Ndigbo stated that anybody that wants the unity and progress of Nigeria should not contradict the southern governors’ position on power rotation, even as it dismissed the northern elders’ position on the matter, as unfortunate.

National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Alex Chiedozie Ogbonnia, said it would appear that the northern elders have eaten the cake so deep that they are bent on continuing to eat it.

He maintained that there were some members of the NEF that have conscience, adding that they should be guided by the words of Othman Dan Fodio, who said: “Conscience is an open wound, only the truth can heal it.

“So, the 2023 Presidency requires conscience, truth, justice and whoever wants Nigeria to move forward must abide by these tenets. Those who understand the basis of Nigeria must know that the country was founded on unity and equity.

“The issue of zoning had been there for a long time and in 1998 when General Abdulsalami Abubakar was about to hand over power, there was a meeting at the NUC centre, Abuja on power rotation.”

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He further explained that the late Chuba Okadigbo spoke for the South East, while Abubakar Rimi spoke for the North and it was agreed at that meeting that power would rotate between the North and South, adding that this culminated in a southern president in 1999.

Also speaking, National Coordinator of South East for Presidency Movement 2023 (SEFORP2023), Rev. Okechukwu Obioha, who urged the northern elders to read the handwritings on the wall, commended the southern governors on their position.

Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) World Igbo Peoples Assembly (WIPAS), Mazi Chuks Ibegbu, however, urged Nigerians to disregard the northern elders’ position, explaining that they were not speaking for the entire North.

MEANWHILE, former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, has supported the quest for President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor to come from the southern part of the country in 2023.

Okorocha, who spoke to journalists the national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja, argued that the demands of the 17 southern governors aimed at achieving the goal was in order.

The former governor, who now represents Imo West Senatorial District on the platform of APC, wondered why the governors were being misunderstood over the issue, which he said, was in line with democratic tenets.

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