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Ahead 2023 presidency: Options before S’East region

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POLITICIANS from across the country have started permutations ahead of the 2023 General Elections to usher in a new crop of leaders to salvage Nigeria that currently appears rudderless.

  It is the duty of those in the fourth estate of the realm to continue the avowed responsibility of educating, re-shaping of public opinion toward moral rectitude, justice, equity and good conscience. 

  The lopsided nature of the current federation that appears to be skewed against the Igbos of the South East has led to what appears to be entrenched nepotism, clannishness, favouritism and institutionalised ethnicity in the guise of deploying federal character principles.

  The South East appears worst hit. The people of the region looked short-changed systematically from the topmost position they occupied during the First Republic; relegated to the second position in the 2nd Republic, to the third position in the aborted 3rd Republic and now to the position of nothingness in the current dispensation.

  Having been boxed to a corner of obscurity, and their patience stretched to an unbearable limit, they may have resorted to providing all their infrastructure and social needs by themselves.

  From roads, electricity, piped water, security, in fact, all the needs of humans as identified in Abraham Maslow’s theory.

  No less than 90 per cent of infrastructure and development strides in the Southeast are either a product of personal or communal efforts.

  Apparently feeling dejected and rejected, the younger generation, who appear most handicapped are resorting to civil disobedience to vent their frustration.

  The uncontrolled and incoherent civil disobedience later degenerated into uncivil disturbances, and further descended into all-out violent outbursts, supposedly against the Nigerian state, but ironically, against our progress and continued existence as a people.

  Yet, the dramatis personae in the corridors of power still want to hold tenaciously to power, to the utter disdain of one of the very important legs in the tripod called Nigeria.

  Considering the odorous negative body language emanating from the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), it is becoming clearer by the day, that APC will hand over its presidential ticket to the South West, with the leader of the party, Chief Bola Tinubu in the forefront of the quest for the presidency.

  Most worrisome is the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), a party in which the South East had invested so much and sacrificed their all, since 1999 to date.

  The captains of the party have severally reaffirmed their resolve to navigate back to the anchor point – Aso Rock. And to achieve this goal, they are willing to sacrifice the presidential interest of persons of South East extraction.

  By their permutations as once revealed by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, the PDP is determined to grab power at the centre by all means practicable, even if it means nominating another Northern Fulani man, who can guarantee them the usual votes from that part of the country, which can spin the 2023 presidential contest to the party’s favour.

  If this political arithmetic becomes a reality, then, the presidential aspiration of the people of the South East in PDP seems set to hit the brick wall.

  According to Greek mythology, as relieved by Hommer in his book “Illiad”, after barely scratching the impregnable city walls of Troy for nearly 10 years during the Trojan war, the legendary Odysseus ingeniously devised an alternative means of decimating their rivals from the inside via the Greek gift of a Trojan Horse.

  In the same way, Igbos in the ruling party and the main opposition party should sustain their demands for the ticket within their party’s structure, but be ready to reach compromises with other party leaders, without capitulating in their ultimate demand.

  Good enough, the southeast parades a retinue of quality members in both parties, who are ready and capable of governing the country, if given a chance.

  In APC is Chris Ngige, a medical doctor and former Director in the Federal Civil Service and indeed a former governor, Senator and two-term minister. 

  He has traversed the three arms of government in the country at their highest levels. 

  Other prominent names like Senator Ken Nnamani, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Emeka Nwajiuba are also on the table, with their appetising credentials for consideration. 

  In PDP, Anyim Pius Anyim is determined to turn the table and grab the party’s ticket. With his equally impressive resume as a lawyer, former Senate President and an ex-Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

  The next strategic plan could be for Igbo political leaders to abandon the two major parties en masse because of neglect and unwillingness of the leaders to relinquish power to the South East, and subsequently defect to a third most viable party in Nigeria, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

APGA, at the moment in control of one of the states of the federation, is more like the third leg in the triangular political chessboard of Nigeria. 

  With an eminent jurist, Prof. of Law and a former Chief Judge of Anambra State, Peter Umeadi is a likely candidate, ndi Igbo should rally support for the party massively, to use it as their negotiating power for the presidency.

  This was the political formula that the South West deployed to their advantage in 1998.

  At the dawn of the current dispensation, when the military lifted the ban on political activities, the entire South West queued up in defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD) in their sustained demand for the presidency. This left the then APP for the core North East, while the PDP was for the South East, South-South, North Central and little support from North West. 

  To achieve a clear majority and draw the South West into the party, the master strategists in PDP hurriedly agreed to appease the zone, using Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as bait against a frontline aspirant from the East, Dr Alex Ekwueme.

  Therefore, ndi Igbo can use another party to ultimately arm-twist leaders of PDP and APC into nominating aspirants from east if they can undertake a mass defection to APGA or any other party for that matter like ADC, which also has an excellent Igbo intellectual, Prof. Kingsley Muoghalu as its presidential hopeful.

  The options before South East leaders are either that of continuous engagements from within their political enclaves or outright disengagement from the two major political parties, in favour of a third political force.

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