If the ruling All Progressive Congress zones the 2023 presidential slot to the Southeast, Gov Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State is in a position to grab the ticket of the party, according a political analyst and professor of African Literature at the Federal University of Lafia, Nasarawa State, Prof Al-Bishak.
Speaking exclusively with in Lafia on Monday, Prof Al-Bishak, while reacting to the recent call by some southeast leaders on various political parties to zone their presidential slots to the region, advised the elders of the zone to have a common front ahead of 2023.
Speaking against the backgrounds of a recent political gathering of Southeast leaders hosted by Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, which was boycotted by the governors, Al-Bishak calls for unity, saying Gov Umahi stands a better chance of winning the presidency if he does the right things.
According to him, “There is no disunity yet among the southeast politicians in their bid for the nation’s presidency. It is merely a contest of forces to outsmart the other to produce the next president. The southeast governors presently control the political machinery of the southeast, and want to be key to determining who among the Igbo becomes the president.
“It is not surprising that Governor Umahi of Ebonyi State should speak for the southeast governors on the boycott of the meeting for two reasons. First, he is an aspirant for the presidency, which was why he recently decamped from PDP to APC. Even though it was an opportunistic move yet, it was a smart one. This is because he knows that the southeast does not have the population to win the presidential election. He has long been rumoured to be an ally of President Buhari. If he uses that golden friendship to win the support of the north, he would become the president irrespective of the support of the southeast. The other factor is that in the southeast geo-politics, Ebonyi State has been the whipping boy in terms of national appointments and prominence. So Umahi will do everything possible to whip up sentiment to zone the presidency to his state of which he is the greatest beneficiary.
“On the other hand, where Umahi doesn’t emerge as the southeast presidential stand-bearer, the governors will prefer that the next president from the southeast comes from among them.”
He however advised leaders of the region against mismanaging the 2023 opportunities. In his words, “The southeast political gladiators should come together, close ranks, and fight a common battle to see if the southeast will produce the next president. For failure to close ranks will incite the Igbo youths against their elders. However, the greater task is winning the support of other Nigerians to produce an Igbo president.”
On what might have led to the boycott of the meeting that held at Orji Kalu’s house by the governors, the literary scholar said, “Orji Kalu is among the key contenders for the presidency. Spurred by the [alleged] prophecy of Pastor T. B. Joshua of the Synagogue of All Nations that he would be the next president, he would do everything possible to position himself for power.”
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