Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, fresh off a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Thursday, declared that his ethnic Igbos have the right to run for Nigeria’s presidency.
Mr Ikpeazu claims that Igbos “understand and know Nigeria better than” other tribes due to their high mobility and business acumen.
“I believe that the people of the south-east have a right to run for President of Nigeria, and I dare say that our qualification stems from the fact that we understand and know Nigeria better than the rest of the country,” Mr Ikpeazu told reporters at the State House.
“We (Igbos) are pan-Nigerian people who go everywhere, are everywhere, invest everywhere.” On a lighter note, many people today are afraid of Sambisa. Sambisa, on the other hand, is a business opportunity for an Igbo man. So it would be preposterous of me not to join in on that,” he said.
The governor of Abia’s submissions come as pressure mounts on Nigeria’s presidency to be zoned to the south-east. Since the return to democratic rule in 1999, the region, which is home to one of the country’s three main tribes, has failed to produce a Nigerian president.
“The question of a South-East Nigerian president is a national question that requires negotiation, discussion, and conversation with all parts of this country, and I am least qualified to determine what happened in 2023,” Mr Ikpeazu said.
On Wednesday, the Movement for the Election of the Nigerian President of Igbo Extraction urged Igbo politicians to unite and lobby other regions in order to realize the South-goal East’s of producing the president in 2023.
Separatist agitations led by Nnamdi Kanu and his Indigenous People of Biafra group have shook the South-East region. Since IPOB formed the Eastern Security Network to combat what it called the Fulani marauders’ invasion of Biafra land, there have been outbreaks of violence and violent confrontations.