Southeasr must convince other regions of its readiness to produce President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor in 2023, former Anambra State Governor and Vice Presidential candidate in the last election, Peter Obi, said yesterday.
The governors in the 17 states in Southwest, Southsouth and Southeast have met twice in Asaba, Delta State and Ikeja, Lagos State to affirm their demand that the South should produce the next president.
Their position subsequently got the backing of senators and House of Representative members from the regions. But the position has not been micro-zoned to any of the three zones.
Speaking on Arise TV yesterday, Obi said the Southeast must advance a “convincing argument” to the rest of Nigeria on why the region should take the slot.
According to him, beyond having compelling points, Southeast embrace the politics of “engagement and consultation, and not confrontation”.
Obi, who was presidential running mate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2019, said: “We need to convince the other people why it should be us. And you know we have a convincing argument for that. But it needs to be convincing. We are not going to hold a gun in their head and say you must come here.”
“Politics is about engagement and consultation, and not confrontation. You consult and discuss with other people and say, ‘this is how we need to do it for us to have peaceful coexistence’.
“The decision will be done within the party. It’s not a question of my view or anybody view; it’s that of the party. Even if we say it should come to the South and the party zones it to the north, there’s nothing that can be done.”
“These are major parties with a lot of members and stakeholders who will sit down and discuss at round tables. Politics, for me, is something you sit down at a roundtable, discuss and agree with each other.”
The former governor faulted attempt by the President at stimulating the economy through construction and revitalisation of infrastructure, saying building infrastructure will not automatically boost the country’s economy.
Obi said: “You can’t use infrastructure to drive economic growth. You invest in education and the SME (Small, Medium Enterprises) sector instead to deal with poverty. Taking people out of poverty is not magic.”