The Association of South East Town Unions, the umbrella body of Igbo communities, has condemned the denial of the South-East region of the presidential tickets of both the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party, describing the situation as a glaring case of marginalisation.
The National President, ASETU, Chief Emeka Diwe, who spoke on Friday in Enugu during a media briefing, said the outcome of the primaries confirmed the region’s cry over the years concerning the marginalisation of Ndigbo within the Nigerian polity.
“Our fear is that this ugly incident has graduated to the terrible state of alienation. For us, there can be no better time to ensure that Igbo man deservedly becomes the President of Nigeria than now,” Diwe said.
He stated that going by the constitutions of the major political parties, they were expected to zone the presidency to the South this time, adding, “In the South, also South-East has to be the automatic beneficiary, being the only zone that has not had a shot at the exalted position of the President or Vice-President since the democratic dispensation that started in 1999.
“The South-West would have had the President for eight years and Vice-President for eight years by May 29, 2023; the South-South had the President for six years and the Vice-President for two years, leaving the South-East with none. It is only equitable, just and fair that the South-East produces the next President of Nigeria, which begins with all the political parties fielding Igbo presidential candidates.
“The Igbo made such a concession to the Yoruba in the past. But the deep rooted hatred for Ndigbo by other tribes in Nigeria has played out, hence the ruling APC and the PDP refused to cede their presidential tickets to the South-East.”
He regretted that despite the cry over the injustice and marginalisation by groups both in the South-East and other regions, they had continued.
“We, however, doff our hats for Igbo aspirants, particularly Dr Ogbonanya Onu, and others for their courage and boldness in speaking out against injustice meted to the South-East during their speeches at the primary elections,” Diwe added.
The ASETU President stated that the parties’ primaries also exposed the real saboteurs in Igbo land, adding, “These are the South-East delegates, who were chosen to represent Ndigbo, but went there to fester their nests. They practically sold out their Igbo brothers and voted for aspirants of other regions, obviously because of money.
“Records showed that the five South-Eastern states had about 389 delegates/votes in the case of the APC. Of this number, Ebonyi State had 39 delegates; Imo, 100; Anambra, 100; Abia, 100; and Enugu, 50 votes. But shamefully, only 40 votes from this number went to South-East aspirants. It is important to mention that 39 out of the 40 votes came from Ebonyi State delegates.
“Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State got 38 votes, while Dr Ogbonanya Onu had one vote. The other one vote went to Emeka Nwajiuba. The question is, who did the other Igbo delegates of the South East vote for? Certainly, contestants from other zones.
“It is for this patriotic reason that ASETU therefore thumbs up all the delegates from Ebonyi State for making the Igbo proud. They did not sell out nor allow their reasoning to be swayed by pecuniary interest. They are the true sons of their forefathers. They have made the Igbo Hall of Fame with appropriate rank and designation.”