Chris Ngige, Nigeria’s labour and productivity minister, has said it would be better for Igbo people to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 election because of favorable indications that he would win.
Vanguard reports that Ngige said this when he addressed reporters. He accused Igbo people of suffering from self-inflicted marginalization even when they have opportunity to redeem their predicament.
The report quoted Ngige as saying only Buhari’s presidency in 2019 could guarantee Igbo presidency in 2023, adding that the president is the only one that would relinquish power after the next four years.
“Politics is a game of numbers and if you look at the configuration of the electoral strength in Nigeria, you will see that most of the electoral strength is concentrated in the north west that has seven states of Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kaduna and their voting strength, if anything, has increased from what it was in 2015.
“If you remember in 2015 election, Kano alone gave two million votes to Buhari and Katsina gave nearly one million. So, all I’m trying to say is that the configuration of the election patterns in 2015 have not changed in terms of strength.
“In, the south east we are in the neighborhood of about eight to nine million voters. The south west has about 12 to 13 million and the last time, they delivered 55 percent of their votes to Buhari while Jonathan got about 50 percent or thereabout.
“So, I am saying in effect that you must do political engineering, in the south east and step up to support a Buhari presidency for 2019/2023 and vote for it with all their strengths. By so doing, they will not be left out n the power sharing that will come thereafter.
“By voting for Buhari, Igbo will get strategic positions in government. They will also even get into the kitchen cabinet of the presidency. There is no government that doesn’t have a kitchen cabinet.
“Number two, it will be easy, for an outgoing president to find joy in doing an equitable nomination of somebody from the south east to say, this person or these persons are fit and proper persons to succeed me and he can even canvass, based on equity to say that the south east is the only zone in Nigeria that has not tasted this presidency and people will listen, both on moral grounds and on the basis of equity.
“It is obvious that any other northerner elected in 2019 will go for eight years of the presidency and so, 2023 will not be feasible for any other zone. Do not mind what Atiku Abubakar is saying that he will do only one term. It’s not possible. It’s a political talk,” Ngige said.
Speaking further concerning a statement credited to Sente president, Bukola Saraki, that Bola Tinubu was nursing presidential ambition in 2023, Ngige declared that a non-issue.
“As far as I am concerned, Asiwaju has the right to aspire. He is a human being. All of us have our ambitions. He has the right to aspire, after all, he aspired to the post of vice president.
“You can’t kill people’s ambitions. We are in politics to serve and if you feel you can serve in a very high office, you should aspire to go there.
It is left for those who are politicking with you to also square up and do their own spade work if they feel it is their turn. They should do their own spade work so that they will be more acceptable than yourself. Power is not served alacarte; you must struggle for it.
“So, on moral grounds, on basis of equity, it will be the turn of the south east. South east must step out to say it is our turn with enough punch and convincing reasons.
“Part of the reasons and the arguments will be that we are the only people that have not tasted it before and it will then touch people. But if you go into your bedrooms and stay and you are not in the part that makes the masquerade,” he said.