A former Governor of Ogun State, Olusegun Osoba has said it is the right of anyone in the southern part of Nigeria to aspire to become the president of the country ditching claims in some quarters that the southeastern region should succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
Osoba was a guest on ARISE News and said nobody from the east has approached him as a major stakeholder of the governing All Progressives Congress to lobby for the country’s number one position, painting a veiled picture of unseriousness on the part of the southeastners to clinch the number one position of Nigeria.
“As far as I am concerned nobody, and I say it categorically, has told me that the Igbo or the easterner wants to run for the presidency, all I read are on the pages of the newspaper,” Osoba told ARISE News.
He added further that “nobody in the southeast has consulted me and I must say I am a reasonable elder in the party. Nobody from the southeast has contacted me to lobby or even say that we are interested.
“I recall, I was very strong in the campaign of MKO Abiola in 1992. We went round the whole of the east. He and I went to see Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe in his house, CC Onoh, Mbakwe, we went round the whole of the east to lobby them that we are interested, nobody from the east has contacted me.”
There were claims that there was an agreement within the governing APC that since Mr Buhari, a northerner, would round off his second term in 2023, power should shift to the south.
A few months ago, one of the party’s prominent members, Babtunde Fashola, the works and housing minister, said at the inception of the party seven years ago, there was an agreement that power should rotate between both regions and demanded that it should be respected.
He warned that it would be dangerous to abandon the agreement.
Osoba however told ARISE News that Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and a major force in the ruling party has the right to contest for the presidency in 2023 despite the Southwest producing the president from 1999 to 2007, but noted that the agreement to shift the party’s presidential ticket to the south was not zeroed down to an individual.
“Of course, Bola Ahmed Tinubu as an individual has the right to put himself forward, we did not zero in on an individual. It’s Bola Tinubu’s right to put himself forward. My attitude is that we need to come together to speak with one voice and if we (the southwest) want to get the presidency, let us all ensure the southwest become a force to get the presidency.
“Zeroing it on any individual will destroy our effort, but Bola Tinubu as an individual has the right to pursue his own personal agenda,” he said.
By Abel Ejikeme