Deji Adeyanju, the convener of Concerned Nigerians has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to zone its presidential ticket to the southeast.
The Abuja-based lawyer and human rights activist, said Igbos have business acumen they can use to repair Nigeria’s damaged economy and continue the path of restoration that Buhari has started.
In an open letter to Buhari, Adeyanju wrote: “As a preliminary point, please accept my commendation over your leadership role in the recently concluded All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries. Considering the almost Siamese relationship between political parties and governance in the country, it was a huge relief to note that the two leading political parties successfully conducted their respective conventions and elected national officers without crisis.
“As you may be aware, the Independent National Electoral Commission recently released the timetable for electioneering activities towards the 2023 general elections. By the said timetable, all political parties would have picked their presidential candidate not later than 2nd June 2022. Sequel to the above, it is common knowledge that the APC has zoned its presidential candidacy to Southern Nigeria.
“However, I am using this medium to urge you to leverage on your influence in the party towards zoning the office of the President to a candidate from the Igbo Tribe of Nigeria, whether from the Southeast or South-South of the Nation. I am sure that your highly successful template of electing a consensus APC party chairman can be deployed towards electing a consensus APC presidential candidate of Igbo extraction.
“There are numerous reasons why a presidential candidate from that part of the country is most ideal at this time of the nation’s development. Since General Aguiyi Ironsi’s unfortunate demise in 1966, no person of South-Eastern extraction has governed Nigeria. Sadly, this undeniable and systematic exclusion has created a largely subconscious and increasingly permanent feeling of disenchantment amongst the Igbos. In a country where tribe and ethnicity continue to play important role in our daily affairs, it is inexcusable that the Igbos have been denied a shot at the highest office in the land for so long. Additionally, picking a presidential candidate from the South East will go a long way to disabuse the mind of the citizens on the anti-Igbo perception currently being associated with your name. It can therefore be said that President Buhari did what any of his forebears failed to do!
“Furthermore, the Igbos are known for their business acumen. An Igbo presidential candidate will be able to repair our badly damaged economy and continue the path of restoration that you have started. In addition to the foregoing, our country needs national healing. We cannot heal our fault lines if we continue to deny one region the right to produce a president. Since 1999, the Yorubas have occupied the office of the President and vice president for 15 years.
“They have also been Speaker of the House of Representatives for 8 years. It will, therefore, amount to a great injustice for a Yoruba candidate to succeed you in office and stay for another 8 years. Indeed, if a Yoruba person were to succeed you in office, that would mean they would have been President for a period even more than entire northern Nigeria since our return to democratic government.
“I understand that a lot of pressure is being mounted on you, at this time, to pick political convenience over national unity. However, I am optimistic that you will use this opportunity to repair your legacy and retire as a respected elder statesman.”