A political group, Igbos for Progressive and United Nationhood (IPAN) has advised the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, to stop blackmailing presidential hopefuls from other regions of the country who declared interest to contest for the office of the President.
IPAN in a statement made available to newsmen by its National President, Lawrence Onuzulike, said though it strongly believes that 2023 is the perfect time for a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction to emerge, it does not believe in arm twisting Nigerians to make an Igbo man President or telling other aspirants from outside Igbo land to drop their presidential ambitions.
The group believes that every Nigerian who meets the constitutional requirement to contest for the office of the President is eligible to do so regardless of the region he or she comes from and therefore, no one should blackmail anybody from throwing his hat into the ring.
Onuzulike said, “Ohanaeze as a pan-Igbo group should be at the forefront of rallying support for Igbo aspirants in their various political parties like IPAN is undertaking instead of advising or begging interested aspirants from other regions not to contest.
”I am aware that since 1999, an Igbo man has always contested in Nigeria’s presidential election even when some political parties zoned their presidential ticket to other zones.
”All we should be doing is simply to appeal to Nigerians both political elites and the masses to support Igbo candidates this time around for the sake of equity and fairness.”
IPAN also welcomed the declaration of interest by former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi to contest for President in the event that his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) zones its presidential ticket to the south.
IPAN described Peter Obi as someone who has the capacity to garner the support of millions of Nigerians in his presidential bid just like other Igbos who have declared their presidential ambitions.
IPANThe group, however, noted that Peter Obi left room for doubt when he hinged his presidential ambition on the zoning arrangement in his party. IPAN believes that if the PDP must zone their presidential ticket, they should zone it to the South or specifically to the South East as we believe it’s time for a President from the South East.