Firebrand northern politician, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, on Tuesday 9 October, said the Igbos can “go to hell” and carry out the threat of another secession from Nigeria if they don’t get the Nigerian presidency in 2023.
Mohammed was addressing the increasing clamor from political leaders of South-east Nigeria to have the 2023 presidency ceded to the region. South-east is the only geopolitical region of Nigeria which had not produced an executive president for the country since independence.
“I challenge Igbos to secede if they are denied Presidency in 2023. If they don’t secede, let them go to hell. They have tried secession before but they were defeated and failed and they lost over one million people”, Dr. Mohammed said.
“If they want to secede again because of 2023 politics, they are more than welcome. You think anybody will beg them not to secede?”
In 1967-1970, the South-east & South-south regions fought a 3-year bitter war of liberation to create an independent state of Biafra. The war cost them over three million lives. The region continues to insist they are been systematically marginalized from the commanding heights of Nigeria’s politics, economy and infrastructural development since the end of the war.
Junaid Mohammed’s outburst is not his first. Earlier in July, he expressed his preference for Alhaji Ahmed Tinubu – a Yoruba Moslem from South-west, as the next president, rather than anyone from the South-east.
He told the Daily Independent then, ” If Tinubu wants to be the President of Nigeria and he asks for my advice, I will say go ahead because I would rather have Tinubu as President than have some of the people in the South-East who are ambitious and want to blackmail Nigeria into ceding power to them.
“I know that no matter what happens, even if Tinubu were to be drunk, he will be a better President than Goodluck Jonathan”.
It is generally believed that the next president should come from the south based on an informal north and south rotation. Current President Buhari – from the north, is due to end his second and last term in office in May 2023.
Dr. Mohammed is a respected political figure from the conservative Moslem northern Nigeria which largely controls the politics of Nigeria. It is unclear if his thoughts represents the mainstream feeling among the political elite of the region, but only few romanticize about the possibility of a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction emerging in 2023.