A group, Yoruba Youth Socio-cultural Association (YYSA) Worldwide, yesterday, berated persons agitating that the South-East must produce Nigeria’s president in 2023.
It argued that the South-East could not reap where it didn’t sow. And if it would produce the next president, it should make the attempt on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), not the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a statement by YYSA National President, Olalekan Hammed, in Ibadan, Oyo State, the group said the South West has invested so much in APC; hence the region should produce the party’s flag bearer.
It argued: “Unlike the South West, from 1999 till today, South East and South-South have been PDP- biased regions. And a lot of benefits were allotted to them, most especially during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s regime, as rewards for their loyalty to PDP.
“Besides, we could remember in 2015, they (South East and South-South) almost put President Muhammadu Buhari to shame when they couldn’t give him 25 per cent of their entire votes.
“If at all they think now is the time for their region to produce the next president, they should do so through PDP. That is where they have invested heavily.
Indeed, it is the South West region that has paid its dues adequately that will have it.”
AS PDP plans to hold its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting tomorrow, a founding member of APC, Osita Okechukwu, has said the major opposition party should be held responsible if the presidency does not go to the South in 2023.
He said: “I appeal passionately to the PDP NEC to zone the presidency to the South during their Wednesday meeting for the collective interest of our dear country. They should not disappoint their Southern supporters. Equity, natural justice and good conscience are on the table.”
Okechukwu, who is also the Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (DG, VON), remarked that APC has been watching with studied interest PDP’s desperation to prey on Buhari’s 12 million-man vote bank.
Expressing the possibility that APC might be forced to review its strategies for the forthcoming general elections after the PDP meeting, he faulted the Middle Belt Forum, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Afenifere and Ohanaeze Ndigbo over their condemnation of APC’s indecision to zone the presidency to the South.
“We know it is doubtful that any politician in PDP could sweep Buhari’s 12 million votes away, PDP’s desperation to break into Buhari’s bank explains APC’s indecision. But, although, one is not holding brief for our distinguished national chairman, Senator Abdullahi
Adamu, one’s little understanding is that the leadership of our great party is watching closely the desperation and antics of our elder sister political party, the PDP.
“They want to capture power by all means, indeed using Machiavellian tactics. We all know that PDP is famished, thirsty and desperate to win the presidency in 2023. They loathe the loss of their slogan, ‘Share the Money’, through their absence from power at the centre for seven (going to) eight years.”
Insisting PDP should be blamed, Okechukwu said: “It was unconscionable and despicable that the opposition party should breach the zoning convention, which helped in no small measure to unite and harmonise the country.
“PDP is aware that President Buhari will not be on the ballot in 2023, therefore, for them, there is a void to fill. They must have reasoned that the Buhari vote bank would be up for grabs if they go North.
“Methinks PDP’s calculation is a desperate one, and selfish to the extent that they breached their own constitution and their age-long die-hard supporters in the South, especially the South East.
“As a corollary, APC seems to have adopted the cat and mouse game, because if the PDP adopts the terra firma or doctrine of realpolitik, which places electoral victory above their constitution, the moral high ground and ethics of their members and supporters in the South; APC wants to do the pragmatic thing. That is going back to the drawing board.”
THE Asiwaju Musulumi of Yorubaland, Edo and Delta, Dr. Khamis Olatunde-Badmus, yesterday, urged Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and other Yoruba presidential aspirants to consider the roles Asiwaju Bola Tinubu played in their success stories and desist from contesting the APC ticket with him.
Olatunde Badmus, while addressing journalists in Osogbo, asked Osinbajo, former Governor Ayodele Fayose, and others to allow Tinubu, being the oldest and first among them, to clinch the ticket, stressing
that failure to do this would divide the over 12 million votes that could come from the South West.
He said: “Tell me any state in the South West where Tinubu does not have contributions as to who becomes governor. Will Fayemi say Tinubu didn’t contribute to his being a governor? Will Osinbajo say he was not an Attorney General under Tinubu? You should give respect to elders. Will Aregbesola say he didn’t benefit from him? They may have their own differences but I believe there is a need for wisdom to prevail.”
ALSO, a socio-political group, Tinubu Hope of Nigeria Vanguard, has urged Nigerians to disregard rumour about Tinubu’s ill health.
The group said the rumour was targeted at ruining the political ambition of the presidential aspirant.
Its leader, Mr. Bode Famose, at a press conference in Akure, yesterday, declared unflinching support for the bid of the former governor.
He said those who are peddling malicious campaigns about the health of the aspirant do not mean well for the nation, adding that Tinubu has the wherewithal to solve Nigeria’s socio-economic and political challenges.
MEANWHILE, traders, under the aegis of South-East Amalgamated Traders Association (SEAMATA), have backed the call for a president of South-East extraction in 2023, urging political parties to give aspirants from the zone a chance.
This was contained in a statement in Enugu, signed by SEAMATA President-General, Chief Gozie Akudolu and Secretary-General, Mr. Alex Okwudili.
The statement called on all political parties, “in the interest of equity, justice, fairness and balance of power”, to zone the 2023 presidential candidacy to the South East.