Aspiring contenders for the presidential slot in the upcoming general elections have started forging alliances to secure the position for candidates of Igbo extraction in all the main political parties.
According to political stalwart, Dr Nnamdi Onochie, leading lights in APGA and the PDP have met in Awka, to forge a common front to ensure that an Igbo becomes presidential flag-bearers in each of the parties that will vie for the top job.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation returns to the polls in 2023, after its return to popular democracy in 1999, following decades of a ruinous military incursion into politics.
Onochie, who has been campaigning for Nigeria’s unity and indivisibility, told newsmen in Abuja on Sunday that time had come for a Nigerian of Igbo extraction to take over from President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, 2023.
“If we’re desiring a nation of equality, justice, equity and fairness, now is the time to foster inclusion and ensure that an Igbo man or woman becomes Nigeria’s president in 2023.
“Under the aegis of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, the Anambra State Chapter of the Pan-Nigerian President of Igbo Extraction Initiative Coalition (PANPIEC) has been inaugurated in Awka in Anambra.
Onochie made no mention if branches of the coalition would be established in other states in the country as the nation inches toward another general election.
“The goal of PANPIEC is the pursuit and realization of the zoning of the 2023 presidential candidacy of all Nigerian political parties to aspirants of Igbo extraction,’’ said Onochie.
The former Delta commissioner for special duties, disclosed that the inauguration of the coalition was graced by Nigerians of all persuasions and political stakeholders, especially from the South East and South South.
“Intending presidential aspirants from the PDP and APGA were present at the event and they all addressed the gathering.’’
Onochie re-stated his optimism that a new Nigeria was possible, saying that the next political dispensation would have the task of re-building the economy and fostering national unity and cohesion.
The former diplomat criticized what he described as the continued devaluation of the naira, saying that devaluation of the Nigerian currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was detrimental to the economy and was fueling inflation and social hardships.
He called on the CBN to intensify conservation and domiciliation of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings and use it to provide fiscal and financial buffers to strengthen the naira.
“Endless devaluation of the naira is bleeding our national economy and causing monetary dislocations for businesses, resulting to hardships for the populace and causing unemployment for the teeming population.’’