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IGBO MOVE FOR ROTATIONAL PRESIDENCY

By NBF News

Indications have emerged that the Igbo leaders who will converge today in Enugu for the much awaited All Igbo Summit will be rooting for the rotation of the presidency, which was the modified zoning system based on the six geo-political zones.

Ahead of the summit, there has been tension in the political circles of the South-east as the political leaders consider the various options open to the Igbo in 2011. Daily Sun investigations revealed that the Igbo were ready to support Dr Goodluck Jonathan presidential ambition in 2011, but on certain conditions, chief among them being the creation of additional state for the South-east and ensuring that the presidency comes to the South-east in 2015.

Since these Igbo positions had not been properly articulated, the Igbo apex socio-cultural group that met on Saturday could not take a firm decision on Jonathan's 2011 bid. Ohaneze, through its President General, Amb. Raph Uwechue, said the Igbo need to consult widely before coming out with a common stand.

His words: 'We are tired of Ndigbo being used and dumped at every given time. If Ndigbo sit down and analyze what they want as a people, then they can use it as a bargaining position to deal with any group they feel will make it easier for them to secure their objective. All we need is unity of thought and action, that's what we are seeking.'

At a pre-summit meeting last week in Enugu, the Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, said the South-east would use the summit to make contributions to the ongoing debate on zoning. 'There are ongoing discussions all over the country and I'm sure, you are aware that our voice has not been heard, it has not been heard because we don't want to be sounding as if we are an uncoordinated people,' he said.

The deputy Senate president said the summit would be bring all shades of opinion and political leaders, both past and present, 'including our governors', National Assembly members and people from the different political parties togrther. So, it is not a PDP thing for us to come together and see where the country is heading to, if you are talking about zoning, what is the position of our people in this respect? How does it affect us and what do we gain from the whole discussion?'

Sources close to the organizers of the summit told Daily Sun that Ekweremadu was put under intense pressure to back out of the summit, as it would make some serious demands from President Jonathan. At a lecture organized by Springboard Coalition in Enugu, former governor of Anambra State, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, said zoning, which he was he one of those who mooted the idea, was to ensure that no one zone would produce the president twice before any other zone produces it once.

He argued that, 'we reaffirm the principle of zoning and rotation of leadership; it compels that after South-south, it should be the South-east which will then be the only zone that has never held the office of the president of Nigeria, except for Ironsi's six months.' Ezeife said a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction would mark the effective end of the Nigerian civil war and be atonement for the millions of Igbo killed in the war.