Igbos from the Southsouth should forget about contesting for president in 2023, Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, said on Sunday.
He believes the next president should be from the Southeast.
He urged the region to put its house in order if must actualise the dream.
Clark spoke at the weekend when he received the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and some Southeast leaders, led by the President-General, Prof George Obiazor, who visited him in Abuja.
To Clark, the next President should emerge from the core Igbo states, not from the Igbo-speaking parts of the Southsouth.
He said: “We are supporting the Southeast region. Anybody from Midwest, Oshimili South and North, Aniocha South and North, Ika, Agbor or Ukwani – if you say: ‘I am ready to be the President of Nigeria because I am an Igbo,’ that is punishable because when you do something that people don’t like, it abominable.
“I have said it. All the Igbos in Anioma, Rivers, Delta, wherever they are, this is the time for Igbo, Southeast President.
“We want the President coming after Buhari to come from the Southeast. We are together.
“My advice is that if you must fight a war or anything at all, we must put our house in order. What do we do with other voices that are not in tandem with our voices?
“We must find a way to see what can be done. They have their point, but at the same time, they should also listen to us.”
Obiozor said there was a need for the regions to speak with one voice.
He alleged there was a plot to pit the Southeast against the Southsouth ahead of 2023.
Obiozor said: “What we need is to synergise. The day we will do it, history will change. We all know that we have the same kind of problems.
“Honestly, you cannot hate one of us and like the other. For people who tell us that they will like people in the Southsouth more than the Southeast or they will use one against the other, the time is over.
“You can fool people for some time, but not forever. What we are facing today is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Obiozor urged the government to deemphasise the use of force.
“The national question is the issue that requires a different kind of solution and resolution. The more you apply violence and military tactics to it, the more the country is divided.
“The more the country is divided, the more ethnic militia groups emerge, which eventually leads to what is called the synchronised national crisis and the rest is history and inevitable disintegration.
“We should start doing something to address the problem. I urge the Federal Government to reconsider the use of force.
“I want the government to conspicuously impress the values of justice, equity and fairness in their true sense so that Nigeria will face clear ease of unity.
“It is time for the government and the people to start the process of healing. Nigeria is in agony and pains, it is time for national healing.”
On the Ohanaeze entourage were the Obi of Obinugwu, Imo State, Dr Cletus Ikechukwu Ilomuanya; Ohaneze Secretary General, Chief Okey Emuchay; Senator Ben Obi, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, Prof. A.B.C. Nwosu, Chief Dubem Onyia, Chief Guy Ikoku, Goddy Nwazurike, among others.
Former Akwa Ibom State Governor Obong Victor Attah; former Minister of Police Affairs, Alaowei Broderick Bozimo; Senator Bassey Henshaw; and Ambassador Godknows Igali joined Clark in receiving the Igbo leaders.