The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, an apex Igbo socio-cultural group has taken a swipe at the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) ‘s opposition against zoning, saying that NEF insistence is because it is the turn of the South-East to produce the president in 2023.
Ango Abdullahi, convener of NEF, had on Thursday said the forum believes that the presidential position should be left open in the spirit of democracy, adding that zoning is dead on arrival.
In a statement on Sunday, Alex Ogbonnia, national publicity secretary of Ndigbo Worldwide, said NEF is trying to destroy the balance that zoning has offered the country.
According to him, the NEF must embrace zoning for the sake of equity, justice and peace of the nation.
“It is therefore very strange that the elders, instead of seeking solution to the problems they have so far identified, are busy strategising on how to destroy the vital values that have helped to lubricate a precarious balance in the country,” Ogbonnia said.
“At about 1994, some Nigerian patriots conceived an article of faith and principle of rotation of power that guarantee equity and inclusiveness for all the diverse components of the country. Thus, Nigeria was structured into six geopolitical zones; namely, south-south, south-east, south-west, north-west, north-central and the north-east.
“It was also agreed that political offices would be zoned or distributed among the zones in such a way that every zone will have a sense of belonging. Furthermore, that the presidency will rotate among the zones to promote peace, unity and progress in Nigeria.
“By the rotation and zoning principle that has been in operation in Nigeria, it is only fair that the presidency be zoned to the south, specifically the south-east of Nigeria. It remains the moral duty of elders to guide the society on the path of truth and honour.
“The NEF knows fully well that in the interest of peace, unity and corporate existence of Nigeria, we the elders must, as a matter of necessity, embrace equity and justice. It is therefore only fair that the south-east of Nigeria should be supported to accede presidential power because what is good for the goose is, mutatis mutandis, good for the gander.
“All the ongoing shenanigans about zoning in Nigeria is because it is the turn of the south-east to produce a president in Nigeria. This NEF knows. We want to use this medium to salute the likes of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Chief E K Clarke, Dr. Pogu Bitrus and other leaders for their courage to stand by the right side of history.”
Ohanaeze Worldwide added that an Igbo presidency has the Midas touch to turn around the Nigerian economy for better.