Former Minister of Information, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, has knocked the ruling All Progressives Congress and Peoples Democratic Party for not considering Nigeria’s cultural diversity and ethnoreligious factors before settling for their choice of presidential candidates.
A livid Ezekwesili aired her grievance when she appeared on Politics Today, a popular programme on Channels Television on Sunday night.
The presidential primaries of both parties, which were conducted in the second quarter of this year have produced former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the flagbearer of the APC and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as candidate of the PDP.
But Ezekwesili believed the situation could have been better if both parties give conscientious consideration to the feelings of Nigerians and agreed to follow due process.
She said, “Look at what APC and PDP did. It is utterly contemptible. First, you have got APC. How could you possibly be fielding Muslim-Muslim candidates in a society that has always found a way to ensure a balance, even in the time of the military?
“We are a diverse society and it is important that we manage our diverse ethnicity in such a way that it won’t breed conflict. The military was smart to always have the northern head of state get a younger deputy from the South that is a Christian. Then you come to democracy and you are not even sensitive to that? It is like being contemptible of a section of the population, which is not right.
“And then you look at the PDP. This is a party that says it tends to build around inclusion to make it easier for rotational principles for the emergence of their candidate.
“Suddenly, a candidate emerged who has been running for the same office on many occasions. Why would that happen? The time for a candidate from the South East as you always clamour is now.
“But they upstaged that and yet have the arrogance to tell them they have no reason to complain. This is the season of character, competence and capacity. My God! It is sophistry. Within the South East, they could have found someone with the character, competence and capacity we are talking about.
“And by the way, Mr Obi who is now the candidate of Labour Party, was in your party. If you really needed the triple character, competence and capacity in a way that is just, equitable and inclusive in your PDP, you could have made Peter Obi your candidate.”
The former minister stated that it was the unfair manner the two major political parties behaved that is fuelling the kind of support that Obi is receiving at the moment.
This is even she predicted that the 2023 general elections may either work in favour of the political elite who are always eager to cling to power or clinched by young Nigerians who are eager to do away with the Old Order.
“There are two possible outcomes in the 2023 elections. This extant political class in their ruthlessness can blatantly say ‘we are not going anywhere and blatantly do anything to take the nation down in order to retain the status quo. That’s a possible outcome. But it is an outcome we can possibly mitigate by our collective effort.
“The other outcome is the current mobilisation of people to come out en-mass and vote with their PVCs. And not just vote but stay there as a guardian angel, especially to make sure that the credible process that the INEC has promised us is done.
“The INEC as the regulator of the process has to be above board and beyond reproach. Anything that is contrary will not be welcome by the citizen,” she said.