Elder statesman and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Robert Clarke has said that the South West region is already well positioned to produce President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor in 2023.

He noted that since 1999, presidential power goes to any region where two of the three major tribes of Igbo, Yoruba, and Hausa/Fulani decided to take it to after forming an alliance.

Against that backdrop, Clarke posited that with the current collaboration between the Southwest and President Muhammadu Buhari, presidential power was certain to shift to Yorubaland in 2023.

He said it was unfortunate for the Igbos that they have never had a partnership with either the Hausa or the Yoruba in any election since 2011.

Speaking in an interview with Sun Newspaper, the elder statesman said, “The problem in Nigeria is that the politician has created for themselves a situation where if two of them gather against the third one, they will want political power to be rotating among themselves.

“There are three major tribes. The Igbo, Yoruba and the Hausa. Where two of these major tribes gang up, that is where the power is going.

“In 1999, when the constitution came in, Obasanjo wasn’t sponsored by the Yoruba, even though he was a Yoruba man; the Yoruba rejected him, and sponsored Falae. But the Northerners and the Igbo voted for him; the Yoruba never voted for him and he still won because the Northern Hausa and the Eastern Igbo decided to support him.

“In 2003, Obasanjo came for the second term; again, he was not sponsored by the Yoruba; the Yoruba put up another candidate but still he won.

“In 2007, Yar’Adua was not supported by the Yoruba but the Igbo supported the Northerners and he won.

“In 2011, Jonathan came in, he’s not a Northerner but he was supported by the North and the Igbo, and he won. Having realised that power is between two of these sects, the Yoruba and the Hausa merged in 2015 and they produced Buhari.

“In 2023, if the Igbo don’t find themselves holding onto the Yoruba as a friend or the Hausa as a friend and allow the Hausa and the Yoruba to hold themselves together as in 2015, then that ticket will produce the president. That means the Yoruba will produce the president, the Northerners will produce the vice president because that is the reality of the number. Politics is in number.

“Since the demise of Zik, the Igbo had never had a leader and that is the fault of the Igbo race today. If tomorrow, the Igbo bring out a young vibrant Igbo leader who can now find his way either to go with the Northern Hausa and form alliance or the Yoruba and form alliance, then the hope of an Igbo president in Nigeria will come up.

“But I as Robert Clarke seeing the terrain of politics in Nigerians do not see any hope for an Igbo presidency except they change their attitude in aligning themselves with one of the two tribes. I’m looking at Nigeria consisting of three ethnic groups; between two of these three groups, there the power lies. So, if the Igbo can fix themselves in any of the two alliances, then there’s hope for them.”

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