The sixth World Igbo Summit (WIS) has called for the amendment of the Electoral Act to make it mandatory for political parties to enshrine the Rotation of the Presidency Clause in their Constitutions.
The call formed part of the nine-point communique issued at the end of the two-day summit held at the Gregory University, Uturu (GUU) in Isuikwuato Local Government Area of Abia.
The summit urged the National Assembly members from the southeast to lobby their colleagues from other zones for the amendment, which would compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make such a clause a condition for the registration of parties.
It charged the political class from the southeast to persuade their parties to pick presidential candidates for 2023 from the zone.
It also resolved that it “shall diligently and boldly work hard” to persuade other zones of the country to support the quest for Nigeria’s president of Igbo extraction in 2023.
According to the communique, 2023 is the right time for the Igbos to occupy the seat of the Presidency of Nigeria.
The summit, with the theme: “Enduring future for Ndigbo: Expectations and challenges”, acknowledged that the southeast could only realise its aspiration through persuasion of other Nigerians.
Consequently, it said that the zone was “engaging other Nigerians” ahead of 2023 rather than being “antagonistic and abusive as some people are wrongly asserting”.
It urged its people to be politically active and conscious to ensure that the 26 million Igbo registered voters all over Nigeria “are effectively mobilised through regular voter education to strengthen the zone’s capacity to negotiate and ultimately win the Presidency”.
The conference reaffirmed the urgent need for the restructuring of Nigeria, in line with the resolutions of the 2014 National Conference and “The Awka Declaration of Ndigbo”, to allow for growth and development.
It called on the Federal Government to ensure adequate protection of lives and property of all Nigerians, especially the Igbo people.
It said that the people of southeast had huge businesses and investments in other parts of the country, which often became the target of attack during crisis.
“As Igbos, we shall continuously seek for a system or polity that guarantees and secures our social, political and economic interest in Nigeria, based on equality of citizenship, equity and justice,” the summit resolved.
The communiqué, which was read to newsmen on Sunday, stated that “the summit was aimed at reawakening the Igbo consciousness and ensuring that Igbos become more organised and cohesive.
“It was also designed to make the voices and demands of the southeast for restructuring Nigeria and networking for a president of Igbo extraction loudest,” it further stated.
The summit thanked the Chancellor of GUU, Prof. Greg Ibe, and management of the institution “for being a wonderful host and for their commitment to the re-engineering of Igbo growth and development through the Igbo Renaissance Center”.
The summit, which was chaired by the former Chief of General Staff, Rtd. Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, was attended by prominent Igbo academics, professionals, businessmen, civil society activists and gender advocates, amongst others.
The list included the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Nnia Nwodo, Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, and former Senate President, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim.
Others were Sen. Ike Nwachukwu, Prof. Joe Irukwu, Prof. George Obiozor, Prof. Ihechukwu Madubuike, Vice Chancellor of GUU, Prof. Augustine Uwakwe and Mrs Josephine Anenih.
The Director-General of WIS Group, Dr Ifedi Okwenna, who read the communique, told newsmen that the document would be presented to the South-East Governors’ Forum and South-East NASS Caucus.
Okwenna said that while the clamour for the restructuring of Nigeria was a national issue, the 2023 presidency was dear to the southeast because it remained the only zone to produce the nation’s president since the return of democracy.
The communiqué was signed by Nwachukwu, Obiozor, Ibe, Anenih and Okwenna.