Zoning arrangement, Nigeria’s method to deny Igbo presidency

The national chairman of the United Progressives Party, UPP, Chief Chekwas Okorie has carpeted claims by some politicians that Ndigbo should wait for 2023 before attempting a shot at the presidency.

Prominent members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, have categorically dismissed calls for Nigeria president of Igbo extraction in 2019, insisting that the North was yet to complete their tenure in line with an unwritten zoning arrangement made before the 1999 election.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has also toed the same line, as its body language clearly shows that it would zone the party’s presidential ticket to the North.

However, in an interview with journalists in Enugu, Okorie, who was also the founding national chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, said “there is nothing like rotational presidency.”

“Who rotated the presidency?”, he queried further, noting that the members of the APC who are insisting that Buhari must complete another tenure in line with the said zoning arrangement were insincere.

According to him, “this is Buhari’s fourth attempt at the presidency; that means he has always contested even when it was supposedly the turn of the South to hold the position; so many other Northerners, including Alhaji Atiku Abubakar have also done same. Why did they not wait for the turn of the North in those days.

“It is only politically naive people that will keep waiting for a non-existing zoning arrangement and for the presidency to be handed over the them, thinking that one day, somebody will say, ‘Igbos come and take’. Such a day will never come.”

He further stated that having studied the political situation, his party, the UPP, had zoned the 2019 presidential ticket to the South-East.

“This is the only way an Igbo man can fly the presidential flag of any political party; I did it with APGA and that was how late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu became the presidential candidate of APGA.”

On the call for restructuring and self-determination struggle by pro-Biafra groups, Okorie said UPP remained the only political party, which had clearly articulated such issues in its manifesto.

“I put in my manifesto that if I win, I will put exit clause in the constitution. There is no country in the world that went for self-determination without a political party; there is no where NGO has achieved self-determination of a people.

“In our manifesto, we have self-determination, devolution of power, true federalism, state police, community policing, among others. We encapsulated all the recommendations of the 2014 national confab in our manifesto.

“We believe that 2109 shall be a referendum of some sort; Nigerians shall prepare to vote either yes or no to APC and PDP for status quo to remain, or to vote UPP for a total reform. No other party has such things in its manifesto.

“It is not about Atiku going around delivering lectures talking about true federalism; they are just rhetorics; back-up your position with firm position of your party”, he said.

The UPP chairman expressed confidence that his party would clearly win the Anambra State governorship election, stressing “there is no way Anambra people will go for those parties with uncertainties and legal encumbrances hanging on their necks.

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