One of the strongest voices from the North, Isa Funtua, has charged Ndigbo to reconsider their political strategy if they must get a chance to rule the country, come 2023.
Funtua was speaking on Saturday in a live show on Arise Television. He said his submission to politicians from the region was his candid way of telling them what they must do to have a shot at the highest office in the land, warning that they must not continue to “do things on their own.”
As part of the recipe for getting a fighting chance at the presidency, he ask the South East to take a cue from the presumed winner of the June 1993 election late Chief MKO Abiola whom he said was able to defeat his rival Bashir Tofa of the then National Republican Convention even in his native Kano State all because “he embraced everybody.”
“They should belong. They should join the party. They want to do things on their own and because they are Igbo, we should dash them the president? That was the reason I said is it turn by turn Nigeria Limited?” Funtua said.
“You’re talking of politics, which is an issue of votes. My very good friend of blessed memory, MKO Abiola defeated Bashir Tofa in Kano. Was MKO Abiola from Kano? But he defeated Bashir in his own town Kano. Why? Because the man played politics, he embraced everybody.
“If you send him an invitation for anything, if he is not there, his representative will be there and he will play his part. You cannot sit down and say because you’re an Igbo man, there is no fairness.
“With due respect to the Igbo, they fail to understand that when the South-West chose to remain on their own as opposition, they did not go near the power. To a large extent, the North in terms of religion and culture are closer to the South-West than to the South-East. When Ekwueme contested (for the PDP ticket), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo defeated him.
“I know Nigerian politics, you chose your candidate who will be able to bring votes to you to win election, not on regional basis, not on tribal basis. Is he going to be the president of the North, East, South-west, South-south or whatever?
“If the Igbo want to be president, then they must belong. If you don’t belong, then you can’t be the president.”