By Chijioke Kingsley
Abuja – An Igbo Chieftain in Plateau State, has said in other for any section of the country not to be marginalise, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in 1999 enshrined zoning in their constitution.
The Chieftain, Mr. Clifford Odinigwe who hailed from Southeastern Nigeria, said before the return of democracy in 1999 Nigerians voted their preferred candidates irrespective of tribe, religion and ethnicity.
He gave example of the June 1993 general elections where Nigerians voted the late Moshood Abiola and his running mate, Baba Gana Kingibe irrespective of their Muslim, Muslim ticket.
Odinigwe was speaking on Wednesday in Jos, during an interview section with our correspondent on the Igbo Presidency come 2023.
According to him: “Before now we use to vote irrespective of tribe, religion and ethnicity, but Marginalisation, killings of innocent Nigerians gave birth to zoning the presidency for equity, justice and fairness”, he said.
Recall that since the return of Democracy in 1999, the foremost political party, the PDP enshrined zoning in their constitution aimed at carrying all Nigerians along in other to keep the country together.
“All Political parties should respect zoning because the country since the return of democracy have adhered to a gentleman agreement, so they cannot do otherwise now. Without zoning we will continue to have agitation as we can see in the South-east”, Odinigwe said.
The Chieftain who is the Chief Executive Officer, Odenic Paper Mill in Jos, also emphasised that the southeast is not only clamoring for the presidency, but also have the most competent candidates’ to pilot the affairs of the country in this crucial time that the country has plunged into economic crisis.
“If the southeast is given the opportunity, we will deploy our business intellect to boost the economy of Nigeria.
“When you think of growing your business think of an Igbo man. It is only an Igbo man that will start a business from nothing and grow it to an enviable height. He starts a local business and takes it international. The same thing he will do to the Nigerian economy if given the opportunity”, the paper marchant said.
On his part, a political scientist who also obtained master’s in Conflict Resolution, Mr. Hilary Okafor, said the frustration aggression theory gave rise to the current agitation in the South-east.
“We live in a present day Nigeria where everybody is not being carried along. Once you say you are an Igbo man, there is a way people look at you and that is why Igbo’s think that they don’t belong to this country and the only solution to it is Igbo presidency”, Okafor said.
Okafor however opined that the only presidential candidate in the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), a former Chief Judge of Anambra State, Prof. Peter Umeadi, if given the opportunity will turn the fortun of the country around.
However, a law graduate of University of Jos, Mr. Michael Ogudu submits that though zoning was not enshrined in the Nigerian constitution, but advised political parties to honor the gentleman agreement that has bind the country together.
“Leadership has to do with inclusiveness, people must be carried along, they must have a say in their own nation. You cannot rule people in Isolation of their will”, Ogudu said.