THE Southeast deserves the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2023, eminent Igbo leaders said on Monday.
Senators Sam Egwu, Obinna Ogba, Michael Nnachi, former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim and other prominent PDP leaders from Ebonyi State urged the party to zone the ticket to the region.
The elders and stakeholders in the Ebonyi chapter of the party said Governor Dave Umahi jumped the gun by claiming that he dumped the PDP because it was unwilling to zone its 2023 presidential ticket to the Southeast zone.
At a briefing at the PDP secretariat in Abuja, the stakeholders said the average Igbo person desires to have the ticket zoned to the Southeast.
They, however, maintained that such a decision can only be taken in consultation with the other geopolitical zones on agreeable terms.
In an address read by Ambassador Frank Ogbuewu, on behalf of the party leaders, they affirmed the position of the Southeast on the 2023 presidency.
They, however, that the zone had not met to discuss or take a resolution on the matter.
Ogbuewu said: “We note that it is now common knowledge that our governor Engr. Dave Umahi has formally defected to All Progressives Congress (APC), which officially took place on the 19th day of November 2020 on the purported reason of the inability or unwillingness of PDP to zone the presidency to South East come 2023.
“We affirm our belief that it is the turn of Southeast to produce the next President of Nigeria.
“We, however, note that at no time has the Southeast zone of the PDP met to discuss or resolve on strategies to actualise the zoning of the presidency to Southeast come 2023.
“We affirm our resolve to obey and honour any decision or resolution by the Southeast PDP on how to actualise the zoning of the presidency to Southeast come 2023.
“We note the explanation of the party that the issue of zoning is not yet on the table for consideration and in due time it will be treated in line with the party rules and guidelines.
“Being political products of the PDP, we are minded to keep faith with our party both when in power at the centre or in opposition, with the hope that in due time the party will give the quest to zone the presidency to South East the consideration it deserves.”
The party leaders said they respect Umahi’s right to determine his political direction.
They, however, urged him to also respect the rights of others who have chosen to remain in the PDP or associate with other parties of their choice.
Former senators Azu Agboti, Sylvanus Ngele and Emmanuel Onwe were also at the meeting, among others.
Also yesterday, Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma advised Ndigbo to shun confrontation and to be diplomatic in their bid to produce the next president.
He spoke when he hosted the Imo Leaders of Thought who came to present Prof George Obiozor as the consensus candidate for Ohanaeze Ndigbo President-General.
The governor said: “Igbo are beginning to be aggrieved but we can speak with one voice. I thank you for speaking with one voice.
“Every generation has its challenges. Ndigbo must navigate this with the wisdom of Solomon.
“To achieve this, we must be diplomatic and accommodating. A point can be achieved without firing a shot in the air.
‘The Yoruba did it without war. They did it with diplomacy. Igbo will not go to war but will pursue it with diplomacy.”