BusinessDay

2023: Okechukwu asks Tinubu to drop presidential ambition for Igbos

The Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON) and foundation member of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Osita Okechukwu has urged the national leader of the party and former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu to be a Kingmaker, jettison his presidential ambition and back a younger candidate from the south in line with the zoning agitation.

Okechukwu who made this call while entertaining questions from journalists at the 2021 Eke Day in Abuja on Sunday, particularly advised Tinubu to throw his weight behind someone from the Igbo speaking Southeast geopolitical zone to emerge as the President in 2023.

He said: “If one is consulted by our national leader, His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on whether he should run or not for the exalted office of the President of Nigeria in 2023, my candid advice will be that he should use his abundant Almighty God’s endowment to unite the APC, and unite the South and by extension our beloved country, by backing a candidate from the southeast.”

Okechukwu said, Tinubu by so doing, would have united the south forever; as some northerners have complained that why they are reluctant to support southern candidates is because of lack of cohesion among the two major geopolitical zones in the south.

The VON boss opined that if Tinubu widens his search he will definitely find a credible candidate from the Southeast who will easily defeat presumed candidate of the PDP, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.

The APC Chieftain also said by so doing the Asiwaju of Lagos would have wittingly used one stone to kill two birds by uniting the APC, and the South and by extension, the entire country, stressing that it will be statesmanlike for Asiwaju to be a Kingmaker than throwing his hat into the ring.

“The scriptures said there is time for everything which happens on earth. Am one of those Buharists who have tremendous respect for Asiwaju for the critical supplement he added to Buhari’s 12 million Vote-Bank, which resulted in our 2015 presidential election victory. It is not a mean feat, when you consider that with Buhari’s Vote-Bank, we were unable to win in 2003, 2007 and 2011, until the merger of the legacy political parties, where Tinubu played a major role,”, he argued.

Read also: APC Chair: I will not use my office to impose anyone on Nigerians – Musa

On whether there is agreement between Tinubu and Buhari in 2015 to be his running mate in the presidential election, Okechukwu said: “I don’t know of any agreement, however as I said, the scriptures posit that there is time for everything which happens on this planet. All I know is that there was raging debate on the proprietary of Muslim/Muslim ticket as to whether it can guarantee victory of the APC at the 2015 presidential election.

“This was what to the best of my knowledge which denied Tinubu the Vice Presidential slot and not the scanty insinuation of breach of agreement. The scale of Muslim/Muslim ticket was weighty unlike in 1993 Abiola/Kingibe ticket. It was thoroughly debated and dropped, for defeat phobia.”

He insisted that President Buhari did not breach any agreement with Tinubu, but it was realpolitik at play.

Okechukwu said given the foregoing background, Tinubu would etch his name in gold if he utilises his Almighty God’s endowed resources to support anyone from the South East to be Nigeria president of Igbo extraction.

“One, it is because of the zoning convention which has governed the 4th Republic since 1999, a convention which states that the president should rotate between north and south. It started in 1999 from the southwest, with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as president.

“Secondly, our brothers in the south had their turn to preside over Nigeria. Southeast is the only geopolitical zone in the south that had not presided over Nigeria except the six months of General Aguiyi Ironsi’s stint. This uncommon statesmanlike Tinubu’s gesture will unite the south, for many had bemoaned the lack of synergy between politicians from both the South-East and South-West geopolitical zones,” the VON Boss added.

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