The governing All Progressives Congress (APC) has suggested that the Igbo people of South East of Nigeria should forget the hope of producing the President of the country in 2023 with the type of politics they play.
The South East region of Nigeria is one of the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria aside Hausa and Yoruba. They are the only one among the three yet to produce either the President or Vice President of the country, since the return of democracy in 1999.
The people are hoping that by 2023, someone from the region may be given the opportunity to lead the country as its number one citizen.
However, the national organising secretary of the APC, Emma Ibediro, who spoke to newsmen during an interview in Abuja at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja on Tuesday, argued that the Igbo do not play good politics, and should not expect to produce a President of Nigeria with their brand of politics.
Ibediro, who himself is an Igbo man, specifically did not see his people deserving that position on the platform of the governing APC looking at the treatment the people meted out to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 and 2019 general elections.
Noting that Buhari had only 198,000 votes in 2015 and a little above 400,000 votes in 2019 in the entire five states in the South East, Ibediro said:
“Some people will say that it was an improvement but what type of improvement was that? You can imagine Anambra State, for example, bringing in less than 50,000 votes when our members in that state are over 200,000.It means is that even APC members did not vote for our President.
“Igbo presidency is not a right, just like Hausa or Yoruba presidency is not a right. Igbo presidency can only become possible if you work within the party and convince the rest of Nigerians to produce a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction.
“For instance, in APC, you have to work within the party and with every other member of the party, either from North-West, North-East, North Central or South-West and then, we must come to the conclusion that as an individual, you can have the confidence of Nigerians to become their President.
“The fact that you are from South-East or any other area is neither here nor there. So, if the people from the South-East are aspiring to produce Nigeria’s President, I think the first thing to do is to work within the party and then get the rest of Nigerians to accept them for that position.”
When asked if APC may forget all that and hand over the party’s presidential ticket to the South East in 2023 Ibediro replied:
“I don’t want to be emphatic that there must be an Igbo President because this party is not built on the platform of dictating to the people what they want.
“If you check the percentage of population of members of APC and check the population of Nigerians, you will see that all members of the party are even less than five per cent of the population and we are talking about a President of Nigeria, not a President of APC.
“So, first of all, under whatever platform you want to achieve that aspiration, you have to work to get yourself acceptable to that platform. It is not going to be an automatic award that Nigerians should give South-East ticket for the presidency.
“What happens if APC gives the ticket automatically to somebody from the South-East and he doesn’t win the very election? Have you considered that?”
According to him since 2015, Igbo people have not been playing “good politics.”
He added, “The South-East needs to play good politics: the politics of engagement, consultation and getting the other parts of Nigeria involved in their aspirations.
“But for now, I don’t think we are playing good politics. It is a question of give and take. I am an Igbo man and I need to be very objective.
“The President campaigned in all the five states of the South-East, just like he campaigned in every other state. But what was the return in terms of votes?
“You also need to encourage people to do something for you. You cannot, at every point, be asking for something without giving something back.”