From Magnus Eze, Enugu, Obinna Odogwu, Awka and Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Igbo leaders have warned the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) over its plans to dump the zoning arrangement, saying the plan would not yield positive fruits for the opposition party.
There has been anger in the South East since midweek, when the report of Governor Bala Mohammed-led PDP Committee on the Review of the 2019 General Elections, which recommended that the party should allow aspirants from all parts of the country to contest for its 2023 presidential ticket, was made public.
Prominent Igbo leaders including elder statesman, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, first civilian governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife and others condemned the report, warning that it would spell doom for the party if upheld by its National Executive Committee.
The apex Igbo organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo had Thursday, stated categorically that the rejection of zoning by the PDP will not deter Igbo from contesting for president, as according to the group, the project, was equity-inspired.
Expressing betrayal by the PDP due to lack of principles after their people had supported the party from inception till date, Ohanaeze warned that the Igbo will in 2023 queue behind any party that give presidential tickets to their sons and daughters.
Iwuanyanwu backed Ohanaeze’s stance that the South-East should be given a chance to produce the next president of the country in 2023.
He, however, advised that the country should have a structured system that will allow the political office to be zoned among the six geopolitical zones of the country starting from the South-East which he said had been cheated from the equation.
“The presidency should be rotated among the zones. There is no zone that cannot produce a president that will bring happiness among the people. It can even be passed into law so that we can use it for 2023 election.
“Ohanaeze felt Igbo deserve to get the presidency going by their contribution to the country, so I believe it should be zoned to the South-East, but it should rotate among the six geo-political zones. Importantly let it start from the South-East,” Iwuanyanwu urged.
For Ezeife, the PDP would be digging its own grave if it failed to zone the 2023 presidential ticket to the South East. He said that it would be unfair for the party not to reciprocate the goodwill and support Ndigbo had given it over the years.
Ezeife said: “If the PDP says that they are not zoning, then they want to die. There is no two ways about it. If the PDP does not zone to the South East and the other party (APC) zones, that’s the end of PDP.
“There is no logic to their decision. No logic, no justice and no equity. So, they can take any decision they like. They’re not in charge of what happens later.