Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has tackled the Northern Elders Forum ((NEF) for working against the emergence of president from South-East in next year’s general election.
It accused NEF of insincerity and selfishness, saying as elders, they should always stand on the path of truth.
Reacting to a recent communique credited to the northern group where they kicked against zoning, Ohanaeze said the forum’s position was not patriotic.
The communique which was signed by the former vice chancellor of the Plateau State University, Doknan Shenni, among other issues stated that the “2023 presidential contest should be left open to every region of the country for the best candidate to emerge.”
The communique also added that “the current state of insecurity in the North is unprecedented and unacceptable.”
But in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alex Ogbonnia, Ohanaeze Ndigbo expressed surprise that the leadership of the NEF, mostly elders, will collectively pretend that all was well, while the country was on fire.
The group said many issues have continued to plague Nigeria unabated because of ethnic and religious induced policies, injustice and more importantly, the inability to make the right choices.
According to Ohanaeze, it was strange that the elders instead of seeking solution to the problems they had so identified, they were busy strategizing on how to destroy the vital values that has helped to lubricate a precarious balance in the country.
It noted that the machinations of groups like NEF were intended to thwart the principle of rotation of power, including the presidency that guaranteed equity and inclusiveness for all the diverse components of the country since 1999.
“The NEF are aware that Nigeria has religiously followed the rotation and zoning principle since 1999 with Olusegun Obasanjo (South West) as the elected president of Nigeria. Obasanjo, in keeping with the rotation principle, handed over to the North in the person of former president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2007.
“At the death of Yar’Adua, a southerner, specifically the South South in the person of Goodluck Jonathan was elected the president. Jonathan, again, handed over to a northerner, President Muhammadu Buhari whose second tenure of four years each will end in 2023. By the rotation and zoning principle that has been in operation in Nigeria, it is only fair that the presidency be zoned to the South, specifically the South East.
“It remains the moral duty of elders to guide the society on the path of truth and honour. The NEF know full well that in the interest of peace, unity and corporate existence of Nigeria, we, the elders, must, as a matter of necessity, embrace equity and justice. It is, therefore, only fair that the South East should be supported to accede presidential power because what is good for the goose is good for the gander.
“All the ongoing shenanigans about zoning in Nigeria is because it is the turn of the South East to produce a president in Nigeria. This NEF knows,” Ohanaeze said.