In an interview, Rochas Okorocha, the former governor of Imo State, urged the South-East region to support the idea of electing an Igbo man as the nation’s next president in 2023.
He spoke on Monday in Abuja at the “Conversation with Owelle Rochas Okorocha at 59 and Award of Icon of Service and Philanthropy”, organised by the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), FCT chapter.
Okorocha said that even though it is fair to zone the nation’s presidency to the south in 2023, it is not formally written anywhere.
The governor said he backed the position of southern governors that the country should be led by a Nigerian from the south in 2023.
"I support the Southern governors on the matter of zoning the presidency and the next region should be the South. When President Olusegun Obasanjo (became president), we then went to the South-West, and then back to the North when we had President (Umaru) Yar'Adua. The South had it with Goodluck Jonathan, and now the North has it with the incumbent President (Muhammadu Buhari). When it is the turn of the South again, why should it be changed? It is a fair thing to do. "If this is not done, the APC (All Progressives Congress) will become a Northern party," he said.
‘How I dealt with IPOB’
When he was a governor for eight years, Okorocha described his relationship with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Rather than ordering the security operatives to shoot at them, he listened to their grievances and understood them.
“When IPOB started, I was governor, so I listened to their grievances and understood their concerns.
“They asked me to join them and I said I would join if they could convince me to obtain a passport from another country (Biafra).
“I could have ordered my men to shoot them as they were killed in Okigwe and other states, but I did not. Listening to them helped me understand what they were going through.
The Nigerian government should sympathise with the youths in that way. Okorocha said, “Treat them well.”.