In the past few days, there has been a renewed clamour for south east presidency in 2023. Though the next general elections are three years away, the polity is already heated
up with the Igbos opening calling for a chance to occupy the number one position.
However, the subject of Igbo presidency has elicited deep debates and even divisions among many in the south east. There are some who hold the opinion that the south east should not focus on the occupying the presidency such as former Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha.
Now a Senator representing Imo West constituency Okorocha holds a view that the South East needs to do more than ask for the presidency to get it.
Another integral part of the south east clamour for presidency which cannot be ignored is the conversation surrounding Biafra.
Biafra was a state in West Africa which existed from 30 May 1967 to January 1970; it was made up of the states in the Southern Region of Nigeria. Its inhabitants were mostly Igbo, who led the secession due to economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions.
After two-and-a-half years of war civil war, during which almost two million Biafran civilians
died from starvation caused by the total blockade of the region by the Nigerian and British
governments, Biafran forces surrendered to the Nigerian Federal Military Government.
Some Igbos have attributed the economic woes of the south east and its purported neglect by different governments to the Biafran surrender.
However, the clamour for a Biafran state and cessation, which was re-ignited again in 2009 by the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and joined by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) led by Nnamdi Kanu, has significantly divided the strength of the South East’s calls for Igbo presidency.
Bede Eke, a member of the House of Representatives for Mbaise/Ngor-Okpalla constituency of Imo state, believes an Igbo presidency in 2023 will put to an end the agitation for Biafra.
However, the leader of the, Nnamdi Kanu on Monday, October 7, 2019 during his second broadcast of the month on Radio Biafra said Igbo Presidency would not end the ongoing Biafra agitation.
According to him the clamour for Igbo Presidency in 2023 is a total waste of time. Independent surveys estimate that Nnamdi Kanu has up to 5 million supporters both within and outside of Nigeria. If this number share their leader’s sentiment about Igbo presidency that could cause a significant dent on the south east region’s ability to galvanise support for this cause.
Also, if the call for Biafra continues to ring loud, some believe it could affect other regions’ support for the Igbo Presidency.