Nri – The dream of the Nigeria having a president of Igbo extraction in 2023, on Friday gained momentum with the endorsement of former Chief Judge of Anambra State, Professor Peter Umeadi for the position by the Association of Southeast Past Presidents-General (ASEPP).
The association comprises past presidents-general in the over 2000 communities of the five Southeast states of Nigeria, namely Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo.
The endorsement ceremony took place at the country home of the former Anambra Chief Judge, Nri in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Ahead of the 2023 General elections, the search has begun, for a viable candidate of Igbo extraction for the presidential seat, as agitations intensify for other geo-political zones of the country, to allow the region produce the nation’s next president.
Announcing the endorsement, the National President of ASEPP, Mazi Omife Omife, said it was in line with the primary vision and mission of the association, which is the pursuit of Igbo unity and interest in Nigeria, in keeping with the principles of equity and fairness.
Omife noted that having painstakingly analyzed the ambition of all top Igbo politicians, they have come to the conclusion that none has declared interest in becoming Nigeria’s President, rather they were aiming at the Vice Presidential slot, which he noted, is not acceptable for Ndigbo in 2023.
According to him, only Prof Umeadi has shown genuine interest in contesting the Presidential election, hence their support and endorsement.
“ASEPP like other patriotic Igbo, has consistently decried the marginalization of Igbos in the Nigerian affairs especially as it concerns the leadership of the country. We have discovered also that part of the reasons for this was due to the inability of the Igbos, to present a candidate with the requisite credentials, antecedents and personal attributes, formidable enough to garner nationwide acceptability. It was after a painstaking search for a credible Igbo candidate that satisfies the above criteria that we found Professor Umeadi,” he noted.
The ASEPP President took time to eulogize Umeadi’ excellent judicial career, his integrity, courage, nationalistic dimension and his commitment to the Igbo cause, adding that Igbos have in him, a tested candidate for the position.
He called on the various political parties in the country to reach out to Umeadi for possible adoption, noting that any party that adopts him, will be sure of all their candidates getting the support of the over 2000 communities in the Southeast.
In his words; “We also call on all Igbos, irrespective of party affiliation, to support our endorsement of Professor Umeadi and join hands to make Igbos proud in giving Nigeria the best President we never had after Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe. All our members across the Southeast states and beyond are encouraged to spread the message of this resolution/endorsement in all the communities, to ensure total support for Prof Umeadi during the 2023 Presidential elections.”
The chairmen of ASEPP in all states of the Southeast, also took turns to validate the endorsement of Professor Umeadi, assuring of their support towards the cause.
In a goodwill message to the event, the National President, National Forum for Southeast Presidency, Dr Patrick Enuneku said it is heartwarming that their agitation and struggle for the realization of a Southeastern President for Nigeria, is yielding results, adding that Professor Umeadi’s credential speaks of a man with the capacity to turn around the fortunes of the country.
He acknowledged that Igbos are gifted in the management of the economy and a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction come 2023, will help address the numerous socio-economic woes of Nigeria
Enuneku maintained that for Nigeria to move forward, there must be equity and fairness, and this supports the claims for the presidential seat in 2023 by the Igbos.
“It is only in the presence of equity that there can be peace in Nigeria. By doctrine of what I call unwritten agreement, the Nigerian nation has rotated its presidency among the Northern and Southern region. In the course of this rotation, it is only the Southeast region that has not produced the president of this country in the Southern protectorate since the return of democracy in 1999. The southwest has tasted it same as the southsouth. So, there is the need for all Nigerians to be united in working for the achievement of a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction in 2023. This will also douse the agitation for an independent state of Biafra,” he opined.
Responding, Prof Umeadi thanked the group for the endorsement which he described as evident to the fact that Igbos are beginning to unite in the pursuit of their common good.
According to him, since the end of the Nigerian Civil War of 1967-1970, the promise to reintegrate the Igbos back into the Nigerian nation was not fulfilled, creating a lacunae.
In his view, a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction in 2023, will help address this lacunae.
“People of the Southeast should focus metaphorically on a post-Alex Ekwueme united Nigeria where the Igbos should aim at acquiring political power through the ballot box after negotiating same with other geo-political zones. It is morally indefensible to deny the Igbos the opportunity to vie and win the highest office of the Federal Republic of Nigeria come 2023. I therefore describe this endorsement as historical, epochal and monumental,” Umeadi acknowledged.
“The endorsement,” he said, “is a pathway to unity, cohesion and a vehicle to collectively harness our efforts at building a prosperous Nigeria and in the process, reap our just rewards. I hereby accept your endorsements.”
Umeadi promised to engender a system of justice and good governance within a period of four years, that will yield affordable healthcare for all, security of lives and property, enabling environment for economic growth and access to quality life.
He said if elected, he will embark on a crucial and inevitable changes and reforms, committing to the sustenance of the sovereignty and the corporate entity of Nigeria as a united country.
Highpoint of the ceremony was the presentation of the endorsement letter to Professor Umeadi by the leaders of the group.