𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝘿𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙋𝙤𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙘𝙨 𝙤𝙛 “𝙄𝙜𝙗𝙤 𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐲 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟑”
𝙂𝙚𝙤𝙧𝙜𝙚-𝙉𝙚𝙡𝙨𝙤𝙣 𝘾𝙝𝙪𝙠𝙬𝙪𝙚𝙗𝙪𝙠𝙖 𝙐𝙯𝙤𝙢𝙖
1. Barely two years to 2023, the proverbial year that will determine the relevance of Igbo ethnic nationality within the Nigerian political scene, the South East political elites are bustling with optimism and resonating a new voice – Igbo Presidency come 2023- even amidst prospects and threats of possible exit from Nigeria as Championed by Nnamdi Kanu and his ardent followers in the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Of recent, the political elites in Igboland have made attempts to device strategies at arriving at their goals while others have turned loudly vocal in the claims of presidency as the due right of the Igbo nationality. Politics in Nigeria is notorious for spectacular changes of allegiance with close allies spontaneously becoming bitter foes and this reality has not eluded the elites of Igbo nationality as their movements to and fro the two dominant political parties in Nigeria explains their quest for political comfortability.
2. A critical mind would inquire to know the basic ideas driving this issue of Igbo Presidency. The answer is not far fetched: Igbo political elites and even general citizenry see themselves as marginalized within the Nigerian polity. The idea of rotatory government has ensured that the diverse ethnic groups in Nigeria get their share in handling the apex position in the country except the people of South East extraction. Hence, the clamour for presidency is seen by most Igbomen as a cry for justice, equity and fairness. Moreover, there is a growing convictions among the people of Igbo land that a president of South East extraction can do relatively better than presidents from the Northern parts of the country. Igbo people see themselves as more advanced, exposed and educated than their northern counterparts. Their exploits in commerce are also considered as additional advantage. Thus, there is a growing popularity that a president of Igbo extraction can fix Nigeria.
3. We need not deny the fact that Igbo man being the president of this country is like camel passing through the eye of a needle. The structure in place makes it impossible for Igbo man to be a Nigeria president. Igbo presidency is a sham in a political structure that negates the peculiarity of the Igbo nation. Igbo presidency is not feasible considering the population of South East ( as quoted by CENSUS and voter registration ). Politics is a game of numbers. Igbo must demonstrate commitment through their support and key in with a political party that would guarantee the realization of their aspirations. There is need for Igbo to work towards winning the trust and friendship of other geo-political zones, to guarantee their support for an Igbo president in 2023. Thus, the slim chances of Igbo presidency are chiefly based on the population of the south East and partly on the idea of playing acrimonious politics which makes it impossible for other regions to support the Igbo nationality. There is a seeming lack of political focus as both the elites and even members of IPOB are often all over the place looking for who to insult.
4. Apart from the idea of numerical strength and acrimonious politics played by the Igbo nationality, there are other factors militating against this idea of Igbo Presidency, common among them is the idea that Igbo people are not politically united. They can hardly make a choice of a particular Igbo candidate and stand by him or her. Nevertheless, Igbo unity by itself cannot produce an Igbo presidency. In fact, no single tribe can produce a president without the support of others. Due to the numerical disadvantage of the South East and knowing very well that politics is a game of numbers, how do you intend to make an Igbo man the President if the North doesn’t back such candidacy? No tribe in Nigeria can unite to produce a President alone. “Article 134 (2) of the Nigerian Constitution stipulates that a presidential candidate will be duly elected after attaining both the highest number of votes cast, and having received at least a quarter of the votes at each of at least two-thirds of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).”
5. On the other hand, it is in this Country that an Ijaw man became President. The Ijaws are a minority tribe. They didn’t produce the President with their own votes alone, they got the support of other regions. The supporters of Igbo presidency are optimistic that Igbos can do the same: Extend hands of friendship to other regions and tribes and Igbo Presidency would be a reality. They are ardent on the fact that the South East ensured that Tafawa Belewa, the candidate of Northern People’s Congress (NPC) became the only prime minister of the country in 1960. The same is applicable to the political election of Alhaji Shehu Shagari of National Party of Nigeria (NPN) as the president in 1979. Thus, this group are clamouring that the North at this time should return such a favour and help the Igbo nationality produce a president.
6. It is also a fallacy that Igbo people should support only one candidate and one political party to embrace a greater chance of becoming presidents. In 1999 general election the Yorubas were divided over the candidature of Olu Falae and Olusegun Obasanjo and majority of them voted against Obasanjo who later won. Again in 2007 the Fulani/Hausa community became divided over who to choose between late Umaru Musa Yaradua and Buhari who happened to come from the same state, Kastina. How is it that the Igbos will always be made to believe that we must be in one political party and unanimously endorse one particular candidate before we are considered serious?
7. The fact remains that 80% of people from Southeast have given up on Nigeria and their political career, 90% of Igbos want Biafra and not Nigeria presidency, abandoning Biafra pursuance just to have Nigeria presidency will make Biafra to look like child’s play. The Biafra agitation is motivated by the urgent need to topple such unjust structure that makes Igbo presidency unfeasible. The only project which majority of the Igbo’s today have chosen is the restoration of Biafra. However, you don’t expect every Igbo man and woman to choose this part. The followers of this path of Biafra restoration believe that not even a President of Nigeria of Igbo extraction can fix Nigeria or the Igbo land. There’s no gain in going for it. Biafra agitation is more encompassing in all ramifications than Nigerian President of Igbo extraction. Biafra gives you forever President, freedom, management of your resources, national decisions, voices and exposes our talents to the world at large. Unlike the unity to get a slave 8 years President which does not guarantee any freedom or access to liberties.
8. Furthermore, the course of the restoration of Biafra is further heightened by the failure of Nigerian political elites. The governors and ex-governors of Southeast extraction have not done enough to prove that they have the interest of the Igbo nation at heart. The abysmal output of elected politicians in the Southeast keep making the youth loose interest in supporting them for the highest position in the country. The seemingly accepted candidate among the Igbo nationality is Peter Obi even as David Umahi has decamped to APC where Rochas Okorocha and Orji Uzor Kalu consider themselves as rightful owners of the presidential slot come 2023. The quest for Igbo presidency has remained a perennial quest and will remain a case of political masturbation unless the dying cry for radical political restructure is resurrected and actualized. Igbo presidency, Biafra Restoration or non: only time will tell!!!