A President of the Southeast extraction will ensure political balance and a sense of belonging to the region, President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Prof George Obiozor, said yesterday.
Nigeria, he added, must create a political equilibrium that accommodates all the regions.
Obiozor pointed that it is only the Southeast that has not had a shot at the presidency since the return of democracy in 1999.
Speaking on Channels Politics Today, he said the Southeast has qualified candidates who can perform if elected.
The former Ambassador to the United States said history, the principle of fairness, morality and “all logical reasoning” justify the demand for an Igbo president.
He was of the view that the Southeast was being accorded little or no significance in the sharing formulae and is usually placed last in all zonal allocations.
Obiozor also made a case for state police, saying it was the surest way to solve the country’s security challenges.
He appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to use the prerogative of mercy and not force to resolve pending issues against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu.
On Igbo President, the Ohanaeze President-General said: “It is important at this time in the history of Nigeria for each region to be given a sense of belonging for peace to reign.
“We in Igboland are ready to give you candidates that are confident, with the capacity to perform.
“We ask the nation to create a political balance that includes not just the South and North but the Eastern region of Nigeria.”
According to Obiozor, every zone has produced a president; therefore, the prospect of Igboland being denied again will not be accepted.
On the role of his organisation in producing a candidate, he said: “Ohanaeze will not be biased while selecting candidates. The country is gradually receding from nationalism.
“We need someone to re-energise the nationalist spirit in Nigeria and the Igboland will produce one.
“Man proposes and God disposes but by all logical reasoning and judging by history, it is high time Southeast produces the next president.
“By history, logic, morality and politics, it is fair for the Igbos to produce the next president.
“We can’t be revealing our strategies in the public space. We have our strategies and we are united enough to produce the president of Nigeria.
“Our candidates will emerge from their parties, but anybody that emerges will do that nationalistically and we need somebody from the Igbo land to do that.
“However, I can’t predict the Igbo president, but from all we can see, an Igbo should be the next president. It is our time to produce the next president.”
On Kanu, Obiozor said it would not be the first time such a similar case would be resolved politically.
“We have made our position known that we prefer political solution through dialogue. This is the answer to the issue. The Igbos are not in a war with Nigeria.
“Mr. President has the prerogative of mercy to handle this matter. And we have made this statement several times.
“It is public knowledge that similar treatment has been given to others in other parts of the country.
“It is certain that, if the President can do this, it will douse the tension in the Southeast and the country at large.
“But, if the President does not do this, he can handle the matter in any other way other than using force.
“And as good citizens of Nigeria, we will love to meet the President again and again on this matter,” Obiozor said.
He believes the security challenge in the Southeast was politically motivated, adding that the region used to be the most peaceful.
He said: “Southeast was the most peaceful region until the political season crept in.”
The Ohanaeze helmsman again called for state police, saying the present centralised policing system was inadequate.
According to him, the Nigerian security challenge has been settled by the 2014 National Conference that recommended state police.
“We will not solve this challenge until we do this (have state police).
“It is not a luxury but a necessity that must be done and the earlier we do it, the better for us as a nation,” Obiozor added.