An array of potential presidential aspirants stormed the United States to lobby support for the election of a Nigerian president from South East Nigeria in 2023. The move, according to participants, is similar to the global campaign undertaken by members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), prior to the 2015 presidential election, which helped to return power to Northern Nigeria.
The event held in Washington, D.C. on January 10, 2019, was attended by a broad spectrum of academic, political, and economic leaders. Participants concluded that zoning between North and South Nigeria, has helped to sustain stability in Nigeria’s nascent democracy. Many participants observed that substantial competence from new-generation leaders from South Eastern Nigeria, who are not already tainted by corruption, will make the 2023 election an interesting race for international observers.
In his contribution, former Executive Director of the Nigerian-American Council, Dr. Okey Samuel Mbonu, who was a 2019 presidential aspirant under the Labour Party, stated that “the world must bear witness that equity should prevail in Nigeria in 2023, and that anything less is likely to provoke an unimaginable crisis in Nigeria.”
From the ruling APC, a primary challenger to President Buhari in 2019, Dr. SKC Ogbonnia, highlighted the logic and the necessity of zoning the presidency to the South-East zone, but he also argued that “what is most critical to the masses at this stage is for the international community, particularly the US, to lend their support to a growing democratic revolution to uproot the status quo, perpetuated by Nigeria’s corrupt cabal, in order to enable good people to be elected to office.”
Former 2019 APC presidential aspirant, now a stalwart of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Charles Udeogaranya stated that the group was in the Unites States “to make a strong case that at the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure in 2023, power must rotate to the South and this time, the South-East zone. He said it is imperative this standing rotation agreement is adhered to, as it will help promote peace, unity, equity, and progress in Africa’s most populous nation”
The American audience was obviously concerned about an undertone in the conference that the many people in Southern and Middle-Belt Nigeria are denied power due to their deep Christian faith. This prompted Bob Williams, an oil & gas investor, to remark that, “while it is pertinent to note that the United States does not usually interfere with internal affairs of sovereign nations, there are always exceptions where people are seen to be persecuted because of their religious beliefs.