Abia Governor Okezie Ikpeazu says Nigeria’s president of Igbo extraction come 2023 is a national question that requires negotiation, discussion and conversation with all parts of the country.
According to Ikpeazu, an Igbo presidency in 2023 cannot and should not be a “matter of right but something that should be achieved through negotiations and conversations.”
“The question of Nigeria’s president of southeast extraction is a national question that require negotiation, discussion and conversation with all parts of this country and I am least qualified to determine what happened in 2023.
“I also want to spend my time supporting the incumbent president to do his time and do his best while we wait for what happens to begin to unfold. So, these are my views about the presidency,” said on Thursday in Abuja.
He was fielding questions from State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.
Describing Igbos as the “most knowledgeable Nigerians”, who live and invest everywhere in the country, Ikpeazu believed that they deserve to be considered for the presidency.
On the expected role of political parties in the actualization of the igbo agenda, governor Ikpeazu said they must consider the yearnings and aspirations of the Southeast in selecting their presidential candidate.
On his rumoured presidential ambition, he said:”I’m not interested in the presidency. I’m very busy as governor and thinking about what I will become now will amount to shortchanging my people who gave me a mandate for an initial four years and renewed it for another four years and it will terminate around May 2023.
“We are yet in 2021 and it will be self-serving for me to begin to think about what I will become instead of concentrating on serving my people for time they elected me.
“May be after 2023, I will begin to think about what next I will do. Having said that, I think that the south easterners have a right to take a shot at the presidency of Nigeria and I dare say that our qualification starts from the fact that we understand and know Nigeria better than the other states of Nigeria.
“I dare say, this is my opinion. We go everywhere, we are everywhere, we invest everywhere, we are pan-Nigerian people.
Today, a lot of people, on a lighter note are afraid of Sambisa. But for an Igbo man, Sambisa is a business opportunity.”
Ikpeazu suggested that the presidential candidates must have a pan-Nigerian mentality.
“In first place, anybody who wants to aspire to the highest post of the presidency, it doesn’t matter where you come from, must have what I regard as pan-Nigerian mentality.
“He must be somebody who has an understanding of all the contending interests and influences in this country.
“He must understand that we are a country of diversity with different persuasions, tradition, culture, religions and all of these must be put at a place where you can understand and respect them.
“That individual must also be somebody who is ready to accommodate the youths of this country because turning it into a slogan the fact that youths are our leaders of the future have not serve us correctly because we are drifting into an age that youths understand which many people may not understand, those who grew up before this era.
“So, the person must be willing to accommodate the youth without necessarily throwing away very experienced ones, he must be able to find a labyrinth of all the interests.
“He must also reflect an extreme women agenda. Such a person must also be in investor-friendly, he must be an individual who understands the nuances of economics and what is the relationship between international politics and economy and the person must be strong enough to face up to the issue on the front burner, which is security.
“He must be able to create jobs, he must be a able to not deploy the kinetic device all the time, he must able to also listen and negotiate peace.
“I’m a Christian and my religion believes that you seek peace and you will find it. So, that which you seek is not commonplace. So, we must be able to dredge up courage to listen to one another and then find a middle course all the time for the interest of our people,” Ikpeazu said.
He stressed:”We need to rescue our nation, we need to work hard to put Nigeria in a strong footing before we can begin to look at other things.
“So, if we have this at the back of our minds, my thinking is that we will arrive at the fact that there is a geo-political zone that has been clamoring and yearning for an opportunity to lead.
“And we should be gracious and magnanimous enough to give consideration to such yearnings and aspiration.
“But as I said earlier it cannot not be done in isolation. It’s not a matter right, it’s not a matter of ‘I have to.’ It’s a matter of negotiation, conversation and discussion going forward and I think Nigeria is alive to all of that. We can find people who listen.”