A former House of Representatives member, Ned Nwoko, and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Joe Igbokwe, have revealed why APC and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did not zone their presidential tickets to the South-East.
KEMI FILANI NEWS recalls that the two dominant political parties picked their presidential candidates – Asiwaju Bola Tinubu (APC) and Atiku Abubakar(PDP), outside the South-East despite agitation that the region should produce the president in 2023.
Nwoko and Igbokwe gave their reasons while featuring in a BBC Igbo programme broadcast live on Facebook on Wednesday.
According to Nwoko, who hails from Igbo-speaking Idumuje-Ugboko of Delta State, PDP was not convinced that the South-east has people with proven capacity to win the presidential election in 2023.
“There was a committee set up to discuss zoning. They met severally, and at the end of the day, they came to one conclusion. That what is paramount to the party is to make sure that they win the next (presidential) election,” he said.
He added that: “And in winning the next elections, they said they were going to focus on who could help them to win the election, who has the capacity, who has the contacts, who has been able to build bridges across the country.
“And this was the reason the party decided not to zone the presidential ticket (to the South-east) anymore. So, what they did was to leave the ticket open and, of course, people knew that the best candidate that would help the PDP to win the next election is Turaki (Mr Abubakar).”
The PDP Senatorial candidate for Delta North recalled that Atiku had promised to support a candidate from the South-east if the presidential ticket was zoned to the region.
While Igbokwe said the APC did not zone its presidential ticket to the South-east because people from the region hate the party.
“Since we started, they (South-easterners) are not in APC. It is only two states that are in APC, and you cannot say the two states are strong,” said the party chieftain, who hails from Nnewi in Anambra State.
“To be honest with you, I am an APC member. South-easterners don’t like APC. That’s why they are fighting (Dave) Umahi. That’s why they are fighting Hope Uzodinma,” Igbokwe added.
A total of five APC presidential aspirants from the South-east; Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, former minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, former minister of state for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba and former Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha participated in the party’s presidential primary.
Igbokwe said the presidential aspirants from the region were not prepared for the presidential race.
“They were not prepared as they ought to be. Do you know what is called bridge building? Only votes from Igbos cannot give Igbos presidency.
“You have to have friends. Build bridges. Repair your place and work with others so that others will work with you. Those things, we don’t have them,” he said in a mixture of Igbo and English languages.
Igbokwe said the collaboration between President Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Tinubu ensured President Buhari’s emergence as Nigeria’s president in 2015