From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Convener of the South South Presidency in 2023 group, Dikivie Ikiogha, has said the 2023 presidential race is between the South East and the South South.
He, therefore, asked all South-West politicians angling to be president to drop their ambitions and support the South South geo-political zone.
Ikiogha also appealed to the South East to support South South to complete the tenure which former President Goodluck Jonathan did not complete for the sake of equity and justice.
Ikiogha, who led members of his group to meet former President Jonathan at the weekend, also clarified that their meeting had nothing to do with mapping strategies for Jonathan to contest the presidency on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Ikiogha, a political associate of Jonathan, said the group is made of members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and APC but are united in the quest to ensure South South produces the president in 2023.
He disclosed their visit to Jonathan, like many other southern leaders they have visited in the past 12 months, was to intimate him on the group agitation for a South South presidency.
Ikiogha, who said the South West and South East should know that South South still has four years left on the presidency tenure, stressed that a president from South South in 2023 would bring stability to the country.
“South West should support South South and South East. Let them stay out for now. One would have expected that they would hold a heavy party office and wait. They should be fair to others and one thing I am seeing in this country is that people are not fair.
“When bad things were done to the late MKO Abiola, all of us ganged up and agitated with protests until the situation was corrected for them.
“When former president Musa Yar’dua died, it was the same and everybody in this country, including the South, which was always supportive, until the situation was corrected. Now, it is our turn and we are hurt. And we are crying and expecting the South West to be supportive because they supported the pushing out of Jonathan in 2015 and now that they have seen that the man they pushed out would have done better if allowed to rule for eight years, they should come and support the South South. And then, it is between us and the south East. We will ask the South East to wait,” he said.
On what Jonathan told the group, Ikiogha disclosed the former president offered his advice and urged them to go ahead with their agitation.
“Our function and our responsibility are spelt out in the constitution of the South South Presidency, 2023. We are an advocacy group and we cannot be talking on air without making consultations and meeting people. We have met several persons and no link was made that they are contesting elections. For more than one year, we have been operating and just one visit to Jonathan, they misrepresented our intention. They claimed Jonathan agrees to contest the presidency.
“Jonathan did not agree to run and we did not go there to persuade him to run in the election. We went and told him we are an advocacy group championing the South South presidency. And that we have been speaking and he must have been reading about us. And that we have been unable to see him. We told him what the group wants is that the next president should come from the South South. And we gave him our reasons and he said well, as a politician and a father, he has heard us and urged us to go ahead because every region is agitating for presidency. He encouraged us to go ahead based on our reasons. We have visited places and they encouraged us based on the reasons we presented.”