Chairman Emeritus of DAAR Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi says the separatist activities of Nnamdi Kanu, detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) would jeopardise the chances of the South-East region to produce the president of Nigeria in 2023.
In a statement on Monday, Dokpesi stressed that he is a firm believer in a united, indivisible Nigeria.
He stated that the emergence of IPOB and its influence across the South-East “has complicated and undermined the agitation for patriotic Nigerians of Igbo extraction to lead this nation as far as the 2023 election is concerned.”
The PDP chieftain added that if an Igbo President is voted in, Kanu would use militant tactics to blackmail and force the President to declare the South-East independent of Nigeria.
He said, “On the surrender of Biafra to Nigeria, Yakubu Gowon, declared 'no Victor, no vanquished' but clearly, since, the regions that have determined leadership have used this against the South-East and denied Igbos the opportunity to lead. Should that be used against the leaders and sons of the South-East today? Of course not!
“I have publicly come out to support and call on a Southeastern presidential candidate in the recent past, but the emergence of IPOB and its influence across the South-East has complicated and undermined the agitation for patriotic Nigerians of Igbo extraction to lead this nation as far as the 2023 election is concerned.
“If nobody has told Ohanaeze Ndigbo before, the concern today from some other regions is that if Nnamdi Kanu plays the role of Aguiyi Ironsi in leading a militant revolt against constitutional government in the South-East under Igbo presidency, the president will be pressured by his base to facilitate the UN processes for the South-East to call for independence from Nigeria. Thus an Igbo President may be compromised in protecting the political and geographic boundaries of Nigeria whilst Nigeria remains under the threat of IPOB’s secessionist activities.
“Don’t shoot me, I’m just a messenger. It is unfair but neither the South-South nor the South-East nor the North-East has the votes combined to determine the presidency on their own. We have to negotiate with other regions and where prominent leaders express such concerns based on the similarities of our history and contemporary circumstances, it indicates to me that the South-East is not trusted with the Presidency in 2023. It indicates to me that the leaders of the South-East have not done enough before now in dealing with and addressing the challenge that IPOB poses to their aspirations in leading Nigeria. Why and what to do to change this narrative is a question for leaders and politicians from the South-East to determine but you can see and understand why we in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) must take a realistic, pragmatic and strategic approach towards supporting the North-East zone for the presidency in 2023.
“In Atiku Abubakar, the South-East not only has a friend and a detribalised Nigerian who understands the pains, frustrations as genuine aspirations of the people of the South-East but also is a believer in the restructuring of Nigeria, which both in the short term and in the long term, is necessary and critical to the growth and development of Nigeria in general and the minority regions in particular.
“By supporting Atiku Abubakar from the North-East to victory in 2023, the rotation of power across Nigeria will have come full cycle and I believe that the agitation for a South-East presidency will be better accepted and appreciated by the incumbency and other regions in subsequent elections after 2023.
“So taken in totality I do not intend to offend the South-East or any of its eminent sons who are more than qualified to lead this nation. The South-South and South-East regions have already produced PDP presidents in the fourth republic, so we have had 14 years in the presidency, while the North has only had 2-years under PDP.
“The nomination of President Goodluck Jonathan at the 2014 PDP Presidential Convention weakened our support in the North and ultimately led to the APC and President Buhari taking over government in 2015. We need to retrace our steps as a party. We need to consolidate our base in the South-South and South-East and we need to reach out across other regions of this country presenting a detribalised Nigerian that will be accepted and trusted to build the best 'all-star' Nigerian team to get us out of our present quagmire without carrying the baggage of IPOB undermining their credibility.”