Lawyer and chieftain of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Ziggy Chibuzo Azike, has dismissed as “rubbish,” claim by former Rivers State governor and current Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi that the Igbo have lost the right to 2023 presidency for failing to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the 2019 election.
Amaechi had in an interview with a national daily over the weekend, said: “I was the first to do that (to call for Igbo presidency in 2023) but I don’t know what the situation is now. I don’t know what they will do now for voting against the APC. For refusing to support the APC, they cannot come to the table to demand the presidency slot.
The minister continued: “For people like us in the APC, if the Igbo had come and voted Buhari, they would boldly tell Mr President and the National Chairman of the party that presidency should go the Southeast since the South-south; South-west and North-west have produced president. What argument would the Southeast come up with now to convince anybody that they deserve the slot for 2023 president?” he queried.
Amaechi was supported by the Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Uche Okwukwu, who in a statement in Port Harcourt on Monday, also said that the Igbo pushed themselves out of the 2023 Presidency by failing to vote for the APC in the 2019 general elections.
“Amaechi’s statement is correct because they betrayed him; they betrayed Ndigbo. You must have followed the event leading to the confusion, where a socio-cultural organisation adopted President Muhammadu Buhari without affording Amaechi the opportunity of participating in the meeting of Ndigbo,” Okwukwu said.
“Amaechi is an Igbo man. He has openly said he is Igbo. So, why would you deny him the opportunity of participating in the meeting that purportedly endorsed Buhari and then you denied him the opportunity of presenting his own bulk to the Igbo.
Okwukwu who had disagreed with Ohanaeze endorsement of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the lead up to the election and led a faction of Ohanaeze to endorse Buhari, prompting his suspension, concluded that : “Amaechi’s predictable assertion to the effect that Ndigbo had by an act of omission or commission shut themselves out of the presidency come 2023 is nothing but the truth.”
However, Chief Azike, a governorship aspirant in Imo State in the last election under the APGA platform, argued that the Igbo reserved the right to vote for any party or any presidential candidate of their choice in an election, and that nobody has a right to dictate to them.
Azike said Amaechi’s argument is “not valid and doesn’t make sense.
“There is no basis for it in logic. He is just expressing an opinion which is without reason.”
He said the Minister, who he accused of playing politics of violence, already has a reputation for talking anyhow and wondered if the blood of Rivers people shed in the violence that marred the last election in the state had begun to affect him.
“Amaechi is talking rubbish, he has portrayed himself as a man of violence. He has destroyed the politics of Rivers State. Maybe the blood of Rivers people is making him to talk rubbish.”