Ayo Adebanjo, Afenifere leader, says if the office of the presidency was based on “merit”, only candidates from the south-east will hold the office “till kingdom come”.
Adebanjo said this on Monday in his remarks at the ‘Greater Nigeria Conference’ organised by the Nzuko Nmunna, an Igbo think-tank.
The focus of discussions at the conference was on the need to support a candidate from the south-east in the 2023 general election.
According to Adebanjo, it’s the turn of the south-east to produce the next president in the interest of fairness and equity.
“In 2014, when they were campaigning for Buhari, he said it was the turn of the north, and when we heard it, we had it for keeps,” he said.
“When it is now the turn of the south and the south-east, they’re now propounding a new theory — the question of merit. If it was based on merit, till today, till kingdom come, the east alone will produce president.
“I am saying all these to tell you that the question of lobbying, campaigning is rigmarole. They know the truth.
“For the fact that they’re saying you have no people, I’m happy you have demonstrated that you do. But you must go and unite. You must be united. A house divided against itself will not stand.”
He also faulted the position of former President Goodluck Jonathan, who had asked his supporters to “watch out” on if he will contest the presidency in the 2023 general election.
“The unfortunate thing is that — I’m sorry to raise this — former President Goodluck Jonathan allowed himself to be disgraced by allowing himself to mention that he’s considering to be president. For what?” he asked.
“Each time I reflect over it, I remember the struggle and campaign I made for Goodluck on the principle that every part of the country, no matter how small, is entitled to the highest position of this country if we still want to be in Nigeria in peace — not by force.
“It’s a question of national cake, national equality. The Nigeria which I fought for — I was a follower of Azikiwe, Awolowo — we want one Nigeria.”