A confidant of President Muhammadu Buhari, and the Life Patron of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigerian (NPAN), Malam Ismaila Isa Funtua, has acknowledged with a caveat that the South East ought to produce the president in 2023.
Speaking on Arise Television Saturday, Funtua, who is also the publisher of the Democrat newspaper said that the Igbo, should learn to belong, and “join the party. They want to do things on their own. Should we dash them the President because they are Igbo?”
He added: “If the Igbo want to be president, then they must belong. If you don’t belong, then you can’t be the president. That is the issue. If you want your son or daughter to be president of Nigeria, then join a political party, bring the votes, then you can show your hand.”
Noting that the South East region had refused to play inclusive politics, Funtua cautioned that equity doesn’t exist in politics essentially because, politics “is an issue of votes. You cannot sit down and say because you’re an Igbo man, there is no fairness.”
Explaining how “to a large extent, the North in terms of religion and culture are closer to the South West than to the South East, he noted that the late Dr. Alex Ekwueme lost the chance to become Nigeria’s President in 1999.
“We campaigned for him throughout this country. Nobody is going to hold your hand politically like a new born baby. The Igbo fail to understand that when the South West chose to remain on their own as opposition, they did not go near the power.
“When Ekwueme contested again, he was defeated for the nomination of the party by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Why? At the constitutional conference we wanted him to be leading us and be holding some caucus meetings in his house but he stepped back and did not want to have anything to do with the northern or national caucus, because he believed the 1983 coup was staged to prevent him from becoming president.
“Since when has politics in Nigeria become turn by turn Nigeria Limited? I was the coordinator of the campaign of the NPN in 1983. I know Nigerian politics, you choose your candidate who will be able to bring votes to you to win election, not on regional basis, not on tribal basis.
According to Funtua, the agitation of the South East for the president in in 2023, is a media creation and not a provision of the Nigerian constitution.