The South-South Elders said that it was logical and fair to allow the zone to produce the next President for another for four years so as to complete the zone’s second tenure.
The elders said that there would be a crisis that could tear the country apart if the North should insist on retaining the office of the President after the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure.
Speaking in an interview in Abuja, weekend, His Highness, Anabs Sara Igbe, National Coordinator of South-South Elders Forum, said that the zone was better placed in the South to clinch the Presidency in 2023.
Igbe argued that the North may not be comfortable to support South East candidate for now because of the civil war experience, where millions of the Igbo were gruesomely murdered, adding that Ndigbo are still bitter over the alleged marginalization of the zone.
He also claimed that the North will not support the South West judging from the position of the Miyetti Allah on the recently launched security outfit by the South West.
Igbe, who is also the National Publicity Secretary of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, said that the South-South will be the stabilizing force in the country and would make the southeast feel at home.
He claimed that the South East was agitating for the Biafra Republic and only interested in the restructuring of the country and not the 2023 Presidency likewise the South West.
According to him, “For us, the race for the presidency has started and it is a clear fact that there is an unconventional agreement that the presidency should go North and South. Presently, the presidency is in the North and they have completed their two tenure. It implies that the presidency will come back to the South. In the South, we have three zones, the South West, the South-South and the South East.
“The South West has had their complete tenure through President Olusegun Obasanjo, the South-South had had one tenure through President Goodluck Jonathan, the South East has not gotten it in the new dispensation.
“But if you are talking about the whole of Nigeria, the North has ruled for over 40 years, South West ruled for almost 12 years, the South East has ruled for six months and the South-South has ruled for one tenure of four years. And so obviously, it is right for the South-South to complete their two tenures, thereafter, in the South, the South East will have a clinch of it.
“Besides that, the South East today is insisting on Biafra, they are not insisting on the presidency. We in the South-South, we believe in the restructuring of this country but we are also interested in the presidency. We want to complete our second tenure. National Publicity Secretary of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF.
“And considering our role in Nigeria, the current developed Nigeria, we believe that we are the hub carrying Nigeria, the nation should be fair to us by allowing us to complete our second tenure. When we complete our second tenure, we will now believe that Nigeria is with us.
“We are not interested in dividing Nigeria, but we are interested in repositioning Nigeria. We can assure Nigeria that the present feelings of the Igbo, when the South-South man comes, he would douse it, because, the South East and the South-South are brothers.
“They are the same mother and the same father. While the South West and the South-South are also brothers of the same father but different mothers. So, we believe that when the South-South man is completing his tenure, he will talk out the Igbos from Biafra.
“Although the three regions – South East, South-South, South West in the South and the Middle Belt in the north believe in restructuring, the South-South is willing to stand by the restructuring but that does not mean that we will throw away the presidency. So we are appealing to Nigerians to please do us that small favour of giving us the second term.
“We know that Nigerians can do it like when the Yorubas agitated, all the parties then, the Yorubas were allowed to vie for the presidency – Obasanjo, Falaye and co. So we are saying all the parties in Nigeria should field South-South persons.
“Nigerians can choose the best amongst them. If a South-South man comes it will help Nigeria, our oil production will increase, our gas production will increase, and we will also give intellectual contributions.
“We will carry everyone along, we will have an intellectual think tank that will assist the president in ensuring that every part of this country is adequately managed, presented and favoured. We believe in one Nigeria and that is why we are appealing that Nigeria should work with us so that we will not divide this country.
“There is no need for us to divide ourselves, there are misunderstandings which we can resolve. There are complex countries in the whole world yet they come together, they work together. Even America that today we are celebrating was not one country, it was an amalgamation of so many states and despite their differences but because they have fiscal federalism because their economy is restructured, they have financial autonomy, everybody is on his own doing his own thing and that is what Nigeria needs. “