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You are here:Home>>Strategic Research & Analysis>>Next Nigerian President must be an Igbo man, says APC Vasta
Sunday, 10 November 2019 15:44

Next Nigerian President must be an Igbo man, says APC Vasta

APC strongman Tsado Vatsa APC strongman Tsado Vatsa

The campaign for the Igbos to produce the next Nigerian President in 2023 is gaining tractions from other regions for its actualisation. In this interview with DANIEL ATORI, an All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart and former Commissioner for Information in Niger State,  Tsado Vatsa examines the current North and South dichotomy and articulates how the Igbos can produce the next President in the country



There is almost a national consensus that the Igbos should produce the next President. Do you subscribe to this?

The Presidency that has been rotating between the North and the South has failed and I am calling on the National Assembly to amend the constitution immediately so that the new idea would be that the presidency would rotate among the six geopolitical zones, so that everybody will have a sense of belonging.

Why do you call for a rotation among the six geopolitical zones?

Image result for Comrade Jonathan Tsado VatsaThe  rotation between the North and the South has always produced the same old people from the same club. They are always recycled. The only difference was former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who came in because he was considered to be a lesser-evil. But if the Presidency will rotate among the six geopolitical zones, at least every geopolitical zone will have a taste of it. And if we are starting with the six geopolitical zones we must start from the South-East. The North and the South -West has had enough. If not, there is serious colonisation when you talk of leadership and power in Nigeria.

What are your fears about whoever emerges in 2023?

I don’t have fears, but there has been a lot of manipulation between the North and the South West, and one disappointing thing is that anytime a leader is coming from the North and the South -West, they still go back to the old brigades. These old brigade who are members of the same club are recycling themselves. It is easier for the northerner to look for somebody who is a member of the club from the South -West and bring him in as the President because they are more comfortable with him.

Let me give you a typical example, the northern old brigades were very comfortable with Olusegun Obasanjo and when they went to the South-West for shopping, they went for their own, they brought in Obasanjo because they considered him to be a lesser evil at that time. But if we want peace in this country and want to remain as one entity, the idea of the Presidency rotating between the North and the South -West should be cancelled and be allowed to rotate among the six geopolitical zones.

What do you think can be done to remedy or correct the rotational presidency?

The National Assembly should as a matter of urgency sit down and start to think of how to amend the Constitution to address this issue, because a lot of people from this country, even from among the North and the South -West know that there is marginalisation because the power is just within a clique, the old brigades. And let me tell you what is happening, anytime they are there, it is just their relations and cronies that they remember. You see them having dealings with themselves.

Do you think others share in this your opinion?

Yes, there are a lot of people. A lot of people who share the same ideology as mine from day one would tell you enough of the Presidency in the North; enough of the Presidency in the South- West. That is why we are calling on the Igbos to come together and speak with one voice. Even when we would have agreed to start the rotating within the geopolitical, we should start from the South-East. By allowing the Presidency to rotate among the six geopolitical zones, it will give even the minority tribes the feeling that they belong to this nation.

Do you subscribe to the recommendations of the 2014 National Confab report that recommended restructuring along geo-political zones?

I totally agree with the confab report because it gives everybody a sense of belonging and I don’t know why some people are afraid to bring out this confab report and implement it.

As an APC member are you saying you concur with the confab report because most of the people kicking against it are in your party?

You see, whether the report goes with the APC template or not, the truth remains the truth. You cannot bend the truth. Many of them who don’t want to agree with the report must have selfish interest. This is because they are only thinking about themselves and not about Nigeria as an entity.

Let me say this, APC is very complicated; it is a very complicated party. I was the Publicity Secretary of the APC in Niger State. Enough of this Presidency between the North and South –West. If not by divine providence, former President Goodluck who came in as his name implies with good luck, even then with the arithmetic on ground, they (the old brigades) were looking at Goodluck as lesser evil. If you look at the massive call and signs for him to emerge as President, they would have picked other people for the late Umaru Yar’Adua. That is why it was a very fortunate thing he had it.

And when they saw that Jonathan was going to surpass them in record if he had continued as President, (by having up to 10 years as President), so they removed him. If we want to remain as one Nigeria, we should be fair to all, both the majority and the minority. There should be fairness; we should all be glad to belong to a Nigerian system that is fair, that will not go against you; a system that you are part of, a system that has no more slavery.

What are the possibilities of the Igbos or the South-East coming together to actualising the 2023 Presidency?

There are high possibilities, but there is strength in unity. The North and the South-West have been doing divide-and-rule system with the Igbos in the past. These brigades will just call some of them and give them money to go back home and cause confusion. Enough of that. How can you destroy yourself? How can you be insulting yourselves? The moment you start insulting yourselves, outsiders will start insulting you. But the moment the Igbos today understand and add value to themselves we (northerners) will start having value for them. I have said this many times at different occasions, if you go to any part of this country, you will find an Igbo man there. In fact, they pay their taxes more than any other tribe(s) in the country. I respect them for that; they are patriotic Nigerians. There are many Nigerians who don’t pay tax but they enjoy other people’s hard-earned money.

Interestingly non-Igbos like you, Chief Edwin Clark, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Gen Ishola Williams and Sen. Emmanuel Bwacha from Taraba state are the ones who appear to be championing this cause. What is your call on the Igbos?

These people (Igbos) should come together and participate …as one entity; otherwise, the next generation of Igbos will not forgive the current elders. They must speak with one voice. I don’t believe in secession; I don’t believe the Igbos should go. I believe in one Nigeria, I believe in Igbo Presidency that is my campaign. They are part of this country and should be given the opportunity. It is not a birthright; it doesn’t belong to the North or South-West alone. Igbos are here too.

Do you agree that the APC-led government actually practices fairness, equity and justice?

You see, I believe so much in President Muhammadu Buhari, I see him as a man of integrity, as somebody who will be fair to everybody. That is the reason I followed him; joined the APC and campaigned for him. But the moment I sense that these things are not there, I will tell APC let us divorce because my reason of joining the party was the promise of justice, fairness, equity and change. You remember President Buhari’s statement when he was sworn in in 2015, “I belong to everybody, and I belong to nobody”, that is to tell you that President Buhari is for everybody. We are watching with keen interest.

Are you saying that with what is happening now, those who are being marginalized may soon heave a sigh of relief?

One of the things the rich used to do was to throw corn at those who are marginalised to divide them. Tell them ‘enough is enough; hunger will not kill you.’ When they bring their money don’t follow them, because if you follow them you are mortgaging the future of your children and the future of the next generation.

Let me tell you how the capitalists work in Nigeria, they use their money to protect themselves and to cause confusion. That is what they do with their money. So when the time comes they will bring out the money to start causing confusion and those whom they (the capitalists) denied access to this money will be jumping at the crumbs. That is why you see them do anything to acquire wealth.

Don’t sell your conscience for a plate of porridge. Let’s stand and fight for the next generation; let’s stand and fight so that our children will not curse us. If the Igbos don’t stand and unite, the next generation of Igbos will not forgive them. I advise them to drop the issue of Biafra, we have to come together and stay together but the next Nigerian President must be an Igbo man.

The South-West and some individuals have started warming up for 2023. There are feelers that Vice President Yemi Osibanjo and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu are being canvassed for to emerge. What is your view about this?

For the South-West, it is a right. Also, you cannot stop anybody from aspiring for any position constitutionally, and it is an old system they are operating. Very few of them are alive to this present system we are talking about and so they are still living in the past, where if the northern man finishes, the southern man will take over. But behold, there is a new dawn and this new dawn is for those who have not tasted it. Obasanjo, Ernest Shonekan came from the South-West. Who is from the South-East apart from during the military era where we had General Aguiyi Ironsi? It is an opportunity to balance things.

What role can the youths especially those from the South-East play in this agitation?

I am calling on the youths, most especially because they are the machineries these brigades use during politics, to understand that this poverty we are experiencing is not from God but artificial. This same people are using them to get wealth so that they can control them. It is just the laws of Niccolo Machiavelli. They give you what you need but bit by bit so that you will keep coming to ask. They keep you in check, our money is with them. They should give us the history of their wealth; tell us how they acquired their wealth. The youths should be wise and join hands with their elders to ensure an Igbo President come 2023.

Would you agree with this school of thought that one of the reasons your so-called brigades and their cronies don’t want the Igbos to achieve 2023 presidency is the fear of secession?

That one is there. You see, the core northerner is afraid of an Igbo man because one, they fear they (northerners) might not get it again. Two that the Igbo man may use the power against them and three that the Igbo man may use the power to actualise the Biafra. These are their fears, and four, that if the Igbo man goes there he will be in-charge totally. If you go close to a Hausa man or a core northerner, they will tell you that they have nothing against an Igbo man but these are their fears; they do not trust an Igbo man with power. They are afraid he will use the power on them and that Nigeria may break-up. They think it could be an opportunity for them (Igbos) to break up Nigeria.

Credit  New Telegraph

Last modified on Sunday, 10 November 2019 16:01

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