Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has advised the Southeast to actively engage people from other parts of Nigeria if it has a serious desire to produce the next president of the country.
The governor said this when he spoke during a webinar organized by the Africa Leadership Group with the theme ‘Developing a Viable Nation 2’. According to El Rufai, the presidency would not come to the Southeast region through threats to pull out of Nigeria or playing the victim card.
“I don’t think anyone has stopped the South-East from going for the Presidency. But you see, you cannot get the Presidency of Nigeria by threats or by shouting victim hood.
This is a political process and you have to engage other parts of Nigeria to convince them to support you.
That is what everyone does. That is what Jonathan did in 2011. That is what Buhari did in 2015 and 2019. That is what every President does.
You don’t stay in your corner, abuse everyone in Nigeria and say give me Presidency. It is not going to happen.
Presidency is not by allocation; it is the result of a political process. You join a political party, your party negotiates with other parts of the country and it happens.
That is how it is done. And you cannot get it by sitting down or threatening secession. It won’t work.
I think the South-East is going about it the wrong way, because if you look at the APC for instance, we do not have many footprints in the South-East.”he said
In a swift reaction, the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Alex Ogbonna, said at no time has the Southeast threatened to quit Nigeria unless it produces the president in 2023. In his reaction, Ogbonna said
”Everyone in Nigeria is aware that Ndigbo have been maltreated and are still being maltreated. There are two options: either for the Igbo to validate it, to rejoice over it and to be comfortable with it or for Ndigbo to condemn it, to cry out over it and to criticise it.
“So what does El-Rufai mean? Yes, the youths are protesting; they are crying; they are saying the treatment of Ndigbo is unfair. That is the basis of their cry and threat for secession.
“They are saying that if you continue to treat us unjustly, it means you don’t want us, and if you don’t want us, then it means we are not part of you. That is what the young boys are saying.
“Look at the security architecture of the country today, nobody from the Southeast is found worthy. The treatment is unfair; it is unjust.
“Look at the rate of violence in the Southeast today; you want us to believe it is our people that are causing it?
“El-Rufai knows that what he is saying is not right. He knows the meaning of injustice; how injustice hurts.
“Instead of making such comments, he should realise that he is in a position to add value; to make sure that the Southeast people are ameliorated.
“He is in a position to ensure that a group of people in Nigeria who are being maltreated are no longer maltreated. He is high enough in the society, to join forces with well-meaning Nigerians to ensure that justice is done to Ndigbo.”