Ismaila Isa Funtua, President Muhammadu Buhari’s associate, says the south-east has to re-examine its ways of playing politics to win the presidency.
This was said by Funtua on Saturday when he appeared on Arise Television’s The Morning Show.
The life patron of the Nigerian Newspapers Proprietors Association (NPAN) said the Igbo didn’t play inclusive politics and they liked “doing things alone.” He said Moshood Abiola, presumed winner of the presidential poll in 1993, was able to defeat Bashir Tofa in his county, Kano, because “he welcomed everybody.”
“They should belong. They should join the party. They want to do things on their own and because they are Igbo, we should dash them the president? That was the reason I said is it turn by turn Nigeria Limited?” Funtua said.
“You’re talking of politics, which is an issue of votes. My very good friend of blessed memory, MKO Abiola defeated Bashir Tofa in Kano. Was MKO Abiola from Kano? But he defeated Bashir in his own town Kano. Why? Because the man played politics, he embraced everybody.
“If you send him an invitation for anything, if he is not there, his representative will be there and he will play his part. You cannot sit down and say because you’re an Ibo man, there is no fairness.
“With due respect to the Igbo, they fail to understand that when the south-west chose to remain on their own as opposition, they did not go near the power. To a large extent, the north in terms of religion and culture are closer to the south-west than to the south-east. When Ekwueme contested (for the PDP ticket), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo defeated him.
“I know Nigerian politics, you chose your candidate who will be able to bring votes to you to win election, not on regional basis, not on tribal basis. Is he going to be the president of the North, East, South-west, South-south or whatever?
“If the Ibo wants to be president, then they must belong. If you don’t belong, then you can’t be the president.”
He accused the media of promoting a clamouring for the Igbo presidency.