Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has endorsed the quest by the South East geopolitical zone to produce Nigeria’s president in 2023.
He said if Nigerians make an Igbo man president, it would help to permanently heal the wounds of the civil war and end all agitations for Biafra republic.
Young people in the South East and parts of South South, who are dissatisfied with the way the country is being run, especially the alleged marginalisation of Igbo, have been agitating for the restoration of the defunct Biafra.
In the South West, separatist groups, led by Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, are also agitating for the creation of Oduduwa Republic for the Yoruba people.
The minister, in an interview on Channels TV monitored by Daily Sun, supported the rotation of the presidency to the South.
“If Nigerians of all shades of opinion in all the political parties agree to send down the presidency in both parties to the South East, you would have buried the ghosts of the civil war permanently. You would have buried all the separatist agitations permanently; you would have buried all the sins of ‘oh no appointments, these and that’ permanently. Everything will begin to rest.”
Ngige, however, said rotating the presidency to the South was a sensitive one considering the issues surrounding it.
“Why do I say so? I say so because we have a constitution of Nigeria which does not have the issue of zoning and rotation entrenched in it.
“But that same constitution, in section 14 talks about federal character and that in any establishment of government, there must be semblance of everybody participating so that there would not be any perception of monopoly of functions of the office there or the powers there by any section of the country.
“So, that area of the constitution, if you extrapolate it, it is talking about rotation. If you extrapolate it, it is talking about zoning, states to be represented in government or any government institution.
“That is why some political parties like the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) now have zoning and rotation. In the APC, we don’t have rotation entrenched there. But by mutual agreement, we’re doing zoning.
“We zoned the offices in the party. That’s why whenever you have the chairman coming from the North, the secretary will be South and vice versa. These are the two effective offices or power in any political party.
“It means you have accepted the zoning of the country. That’s how our party constitution is. I am one of the 13 wisemen and women that drafted the APC constitution.
“We carried our knowledge from our parties: the PDP, Action Congress of Nigeria, Congress for Progressive Change and even some portions of the All Progressives Grand Alliance and fused them to build our constitution. And we did agree as gentlemen that our president, to start with, will come from the North and the party chairman from the South.
“So, that’s why I tell you it is a tricky situation because there must be a discussion,” he said.