Re: Who needs an Igbo president in Nigeria?

Staff separate ballot boxes before delivery to polling stations ahead of Nigeria’s Presidential election at an office of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Port Harcourt, Southern Nigeria, on February 14, 2019. Nigeria’s presidential candidates wrapped up their election campaigns, making a final pitch to voters before Africa’s most populous country heads into the polls on February 16, 2019. Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP

Sir: I refer to the opinion piece by MC Asuzu in The Guardian of February 15, 2019 and I dare say that Nigeria needs an Igbo president and I must add that I understand his outlook of patriotism: that a Nigerian president is much better than a bigoted regional president.

But have we matured to the level where just about anyone can become president on the basis of competence and character without consensus.

That is the sad augury of Nigeria’s democratic project. There aren’t truly great political men in this country, men whose gaits are measured and can be classed as unifiers.

Many politicians pass off as tribal warlords. Elsewhere some members of the state legislatures were formerly gun wielding rowdies and they dared the country until they were amnestied.

Yugoslavia showed clearly that big-for-chopping majorities have to be settled for peace and stability of any country. But for the fact that it was fated to be, Barack Obama wouldn’t have been president and no Catholic after JFK has been privileged to be president of the United States.

Am an advocate of rotational presidency and unlike many people who glory in the phantasm that Nigeria is a democratic country and needs to throw up any qualified candidate from any region for the office of president, I know better.

Only rotational presidency can ensure peace and stability in Nigeria.

The South East in my opinion hasn’t shown interest in the presidency as other region even when the east was shortchanged by Presidents Obasanjo and Jonathan.

It was largely to the credit of Alexander Ekwueme that Nigerians began to toy with the rotation of power as a panacea for peace and development. Peace is necessary for political and economic stability.

Thanks to Ekwueme no-less the concept of rotational presidency was bought wholesale by his party the PDP? He was a founding member of the PDP. But where were the easterners when Obasanjo abrogated the rotational presidency arrangement that would have seen a South-Easterner become president in 2003?

They should have made some noise especially when the national boat stationed for peace was about to capsize. But they said nothing.

The South East missed the chance, no thanks to the dovish mien of politicians who should have rallied the party to stop Obasanjo who couldn’t have succeeded without the backing of some South Eastern establishment (no disrespect).

Then President Goodluck Jonathan the only person in the east who stood up to he so as to not abrogate the rotational party arrangement of the PDP was Vincent Ogbulafor who eventually lost his job in the process.  

Jonathan added Azikiwe quickly to his name and cuckolded the east into buying his presidential project. The rest is history.

Two northerners from two major parties, APC and PDP were selected contest for the office of president in 2019, the latter despite the hypocrisy of abrogating the rotational power sharing agreement of its party zoned office of the president to the north.

Where does this leave Eastern region? Having lost out on power (Ebele’s presidency was largely eastern and southern), the East never bothered to negotiate the return of power to the region with the APC. They kept mum. They never wooed the APC on developmental policies for the east.

The easterners largely were not main streamed into the APC.  I wonder why. Aren’t the Jews in the U.S. in both parties: Republican and Democrats? I hope MC Asuzu understands how complicated the Nigerian political system is?

Simon Abah wrote from Abuja.

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