Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru
Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru

OBINNA EZUGWU

Ahead of the 2023 presidential election, the Ebonyi State House of Assembly has asked the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to zone its presidential candidacy to the Southeast geopolitical zone in the interest of peace and justice.

The Assembly which made the demand at a press briefing on Monday in Abakaliki, the state capital, emphasized that the unity of the country has always been hinged on the principles of equity, justice and fairness, and thus, it is conventional wisdom to cede presidential candidacy to the Southeast.

The assembly in the briefing addressed by its speaker, Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru noted that since the inception of this democracy, the zone has paid its dues having worked assiduously and massively voted for all the presidential candidates of the main opposition party.

“1. The unity of our beloved country, Nigeria, has always been hinged on the principles of equity, justice and fairness. It is on such conventional wisdom that the country has striven to grow and develop equally across all her geopolitical zones,” the assembly said.

“2. In furtherance of the above principles, we, the Honourable Members of the sixth (6th) Ebonyi State House of Assembly, wish to draw the attention of our great Party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to the rightful yearning of our industrious and peace-loving people of the South East Nigeria, that the position of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria come 29th May, 2023, be zoned to the South East.

“3. Since the inception of this democracy, the zone has paid its dues having worked assiduously and massively voted for all the presidential candidates of our great party – Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), when the people of the South West in the year 1999 and 2003, the people of North West in 2007, the people of South South in 2011 and 2015, the people of the North East in 2019, all contested for Presidency. It is on record that since the inception of democracy in this country, from 1999 till date, the five (5) States of the South East have always delivered the presidential candidates of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), 100 per cent.

“4. It is only appropriate in the spirit of democracy, equity, justice and fairness that the position of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria come 2023, be zoned to the South East.

“5. South East has presidential personalities, people who are globally renowned, reliable, acceptable, tested and trusted to the position; having discharged their duties efficiently and effectively in the positions held before now. Persons like Peter Obi (Former PDP Vice Presidential Candidate in the 2019 elections and former Governor of Anambra State), Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim (former Senate President and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation), Sen. Ike Ekweremmadu (former 3-time Deputy President of the Senate), Sen. Theodore Orji (former Governor of Abia State), Achike Udenwa (former governor of Imo State), and a host of others. So we have qualified people who are very much available for this position. We did not mention our Governors not because they are not qualified but these highly qualified persons are not holding positions currently and there are other eminent qualified Igbo leaders as well who are trusted, competent, capable and reliable. That tells you, gentlemen of the press that we are not asking for what we don’t have, so our party should not turn this request down.

“6. On this note, we are giving our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), 7 days ultimatum to convocate the National Executive Committee of the party and zone the position of the Presidency to the South East Nigeria, especially as INEC has officially announced the date of the presidential elections.

“7. In no minimal measure, this will further develop and unite our dear country.

“8. Equally, the party should not contemplate to remove the National Chairman of the Party, Prince Uche Secundus as it is customary that the zone (South) from where the National Chairman comes from produces the Presidential Candidate of the Party. If this advise is not adhered to, it will further divide and destabilize the party along sectional and regional lines.

“9. Failure to adhere to these kind requests will cost our party heavily and we, the Honourable Members of the 6th Ebonyi State House of Assembly will leave no stone unturned in taking decisive actions to ensure that traditions and dividends of democracy are respected in our party.”