El-Rufai to Southeast: Threat of secession won’t give you Presidency

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By Sam Egburonu/Innocent Duru/Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt

  • Says ‘you don’t stay in your corner and say give me presidency’

  • Wike mocks El-Rufai, says he’s suffering evil he once wished Rivers

  • Igbo leaders blast him for ‘mixing up issues’

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has advised the Southeast to actively engage other sections of the country if it has a serious desire to produce Nigeria’s next president.

El-Rufai said that it was the same approach adopted by previous presidents and wondered why any section of the country would expect that it would be offered the presidency without negotiation.

He said it is even out of place for the Southeast to expect that it could get the presidency by threatening to break away from the rest of Nigeria.

But spokesman of the Pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze, Alex Ogbonnia, and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chekwas Okorie, faulted the Kaduna State governor, saying he was mixing up issues.

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State mocked his Kaduna State counterpart, saying he was suffering from the evil he once wished Rivers State.

El-Rufai, who spoke during a webinar organised by the Africa Leadership Group with the theme ‘Developing a Viable Nation 2’, conceded that the presidency should go to the South in 2023, but he said the Southeast should not bank on getting the slot by threatening to pull out of Nigeria.

His words: “I don’t think anyone has stopped the South-East from going for the Presidency. But you see, you cannot get the Presidency of Nigeria by threats or by shouting victim hood. “This is a political process and you have to engage other parts of Nigeria to convince them to support you.

“That is what everyone does. That is what Jonathan did in 2011. That is what Buhari did in 2015 and 2019. That is what every President does.

“You don’t stay in your corner, abuse everyone in Nigeria and say give me Presidency. It is not going to happen.

“Presidency is not by allocation; it is the result of a political process. You join a political party, your party negotiates with other parts of the country and it happens.

“That is how it is done. And you cannot get it by sitting down or threatening secession. It won’t work.

“I think the South-East is going about it the wrong way, because if you look at the APC for instance, we do not have many footprints in the South-East.”

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