Igbos will massively vote for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 so as not to disrupt the zoning formula, a former Abia State governor and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Orji Kalu, has said.
Speaking at an interview session on Arise Television on Saturday, Mr. Kalu noted that it would be unwise for any Igbo man to challenge Mr. Buhari in 2019.
“2023 is the best bet,” he said.
The unwritten power-sharing agreement known as zoning obliges the country’s major parties to alternate the presidency between northern and southern officeholders every eight years.
It was consolidated during Nigeria’s first two democratic transfers of power — in 1999 and 2007.
It was however truncated in 2011 when former President Goodluck Jonathan, from the South-south, contested and won the General elections.
Mr. Jonathan was heralded to the top seat by providence when President Umaru Yar’Adua died in May 2010.
Mr. Jonathan also contested the 2015 general election against the wish of political blocks in the country who felt the presidency ought to have been zoned to the North for eight years.
“After Buhari’s eight years, nobody in Nigeria can tell us that our region cannot produce the president. Majority of the Igbo people will massively support Buhari in 2019. They did not support him in 2015. But, in 2019, they will massively vote for him. I am passing a vote of confidence in him because he has integrity.
Mr. Kalu also explained why he joined the APC.
“I will add a lot of value to the APC in the South-east. Buhari’s illness slowed him down, no doubt, but he has done well so far. I have been in the opposition for 10 years now. I joined Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) in 2006.
“But, I joined APC because of Buhari. I joined because of his integrity, so as to help grow the party in the South-east. APC has come to stay in the South-east. Buhari contesting in 2019 is not only for himself but also, for the South-east.”
President Muhammadu Buhari gave the clearest hint so far that he will seek re-election in 2019 during the 5th European Union-African Union (EU-AU) Summit held in Cote d’Ivoire barely a week ago.