Agitation for the presidency in 2023 by the Southeastern part of the country is being threatened by a clash of interest between the highest Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
National Daily gathered that the bone of contention has to do with the ultimate objectives of both organizations. For IPOB, the Igbo will not trade the demand for independence for a President in 2023, while Ohanaeze Ndigbo said its focus remains on ensuring that the next President comes from the zone.
According to IPOB Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, the group would not relent in its pursuit of freedom for Biafrans despite Ohanaeze’s contrary position.
He was reacting to the statement by Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, on the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Sunday where he backed the demand for someone from the South to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
Powerful said Biafrans would not succumb to what he called a bait as being dangled by El-Rufai.
He said: “We want freedom, which is forever. The presidency is just for eight years. We are not prepared to trade freedom for just the eight-year term of a president.”
Meanwhile, Ohanaeze President in Anambra State, Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene, while briefing reporters after a meeting, said the organisation was not for Biafra actualisation but rather in a President of Igbo extraction.
He noted that some youths within the territory that make up the defunct Biafra Republic were calling for its restoration because of the marginalisation of the zone.
Okeke-Ogene said: “We are pursuing Igbo President because the executive of Ohanaeze, led by Nnia Nwodo, has the mandate of Ndigbo to negotiate the Igbo position in Nigeria.
“He was not given a mandate for the sovereign state of Biafra. That’s why we are saying, give us what is due to us. Nigeria’s President of Igbo extraction is what we are looking for,” he added.
A legal luminary, Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN), backed El-Rufai’s suggestion that the South should produce the next President.
He said the governor spoke the mind of Ndigbo, adding that it will lead to equity if realized, noting that the next President should specifically come from the Southeast.