By Samuel Akpan
Okezie Ikpeazu, governor of Abia, says people from the south-east understand Nigeria better than those in other regions.
Addressing reporters after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Thursday, the governor said an aspirant of Igbo extraction should be voted as president in 2023.
“I think that the south-easterners have a right to take a shot at the presidency of Nigeria and I dare say that our qualification starts from the fact that we understand and know Nigeria better than the other states of Nigeria,” he said.
“I dare say, this is my opinion. We go everywhere, we are everywhere, we invest everywhere, we are pan-Nigerian people. Today, a lot of people, on a lighter note are afraid of Sambisa. But for an Igbo man, Sambisa is a business opportunity. So, it will be preposterous of me not to add my voice to that one.
“However, the question of a Nigerian president of south-east extraction is a national question that requires negotiation, discussion and conversation with all parts of this country and I am least qualified to determine what happened in 2023.
“I also want to spend my time supporting the incumbent president to do his time and do his best while we wait for what will happen to begin to unfold. So, these are my views about the presidency.”
Ikpeazu said Nigeria’s next president should be someone who understands the country’s diversity and be able to accommodate varying interests.
“In the first place, anybody who wants to aspire to the highest post of the presidency, it doesn’t matter where you come from, must have what I regard as pan-Nigerian mentality,” he said.
“He must be somebody who has an understanding of all the contending interests and influences in this country. He must understand that we are a country of diversity with different persuasions, traditions, cultures, religions and all of these must be put in a place where you can understand and respect them.
“That individual must also be somebody who is ready to accommodate the youths of this country because turning it into a slogan the fact that youths are our leaders of the future has not served us correctly because we are drifting into an age that youths understand which many people may not understand.
“So, the person must be willing to accommodate the youth without necessarily throwing away very experienced ones. He must be able to find a labyrinth of all the interests. He must also reflect an extreme women agenda.
“Such a person must also be investor-friendly, he must be an individual who understands the nuances of economics and what is the relationship between international politics and the economy and the person must be strong enough to face up to the issue on the front burner, which is security.
“He must be able to create jobs, he must be able to deploy the kinetic device all the time, he must able to also listen and negotiate peace.”