Governor David Umahi has warned that the South East region may begin to boycott voting for people shortchanging it from clinching the position of President of Nigeria.
Umahi bared his mind on Friday during the meeting of President Muhammadu Buhari and South-East leaders in Abakaliki.
He said if equity, justice and fairness were the yardsticks for choosing the region to produce the next president of Nigeria, then the South East region is most qualified to occupy the position.
He warned those angling for political positions ahead of the 2023 general election to note that they might be chasing shadows if Nigeria ceased to exist and called for patriotism in all aspirations of Nigerians.
Umahi said, “On the request for the presidency of the southeast, I’m an aspirant and would not be able to say much about that. But let me say something to Nigerians if the basis of asking for the presidency to be rotated from the North to the South is on the basis of equity, fairness and justice, and our brothers from South-South and South-West are putting more candidates than South East, then, the question is where is the fairness, where is the morality, is there equity?
“But we must honestly thank the leaders of the middle belt and Chief Adebanjo of South West and Chief Edwin Clark, and other leaders of these two zones who have been advocating for power rotation from North to South-East, South-South and South West.
“So when it reaches our turn rightly or wrongly, we should be considered for peace, justice and stability of Nigeria. And let me say that all those angling for one position or the other can only have it if there is Nigeria and Mr. President has been fighting for the unity and stability of Nigeria, that’s why irrespective of political lineage, you have treated us equally and so, I want the elite to put patriotism of the nation ahead of every one of our aspirations.
“And so if equity, justice and fairness must be the yardstick, the South-East should be supported, if not, it will be difficult for the South East to be shortchanged and continue to vote for those who will not vote for us.”
On the call for the release of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, Umahi disclosed that the President had in a meeting with him accepted to use political solutions in his release, and called on Ohanaeze leadership to kick-start the process, even as he warned them against politicising it.
“I asked you our dear president to please listen to the plea of our people, but let me just make a mention that on this issue of a political solution, I have never believed in the IPOB method of operation, I disagree with them, I will never agree with them, but we have gotten ourselves to a very terrible and pitiable situation and some of us were warning that we would soon get to this situation.
“Mr. President, I came to you and begged you for a political solution, but surprisingly, and graciously, you granted that and you said that our people could initiate that and of course, I’m a close friend of Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer. We’ve made all the efforts for Ohanaeze to kick start that; it’s not for the governors, and so, we call on the President of Ohanaeze to stop delaying this and don’t allow politics to enter it. I believe that the president will listen to that,” Governor Umahi said.