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Demeaning the Igbo Presidency discourse



 IT IS uncharitable and demeaning to observe some sections of the elite resorting to denigrating the imperative need for presidency of Igbo extraction which its time has come. It is true that in political science, it is said that “power is not served a la carte”; that “power is not given but taken”.

   However, it ought to dawn on the elites that given the chequered political history of Nigeria, the country’s ‘tripod stand’ made up of Fulani/Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba ethnic groups, should be factored in the leadership of the country for equity, justice and fairness. Unarguably, the Fulani/Hausa and Yoruba have had a fair share of heading the administration of the country both military and civilian.

   Rotation of presidency has been factored into the mindset of Nigerians and having gone round the major two ethnic groups, well-meaning and patriotic Nigerians have been persistent in calling for presidency of Igbo extraction irrespective of the principles of and ethos of democracy that go with numbers.

It is on this perspective that the piece captioned ,”Igbo mistaken on 2023 Presidency”, The Nation January 30, 2022, by columnist Idowu Akinlotan left a sour taste in the mouth of Nigerians that cherish and believe in the unity of Nigeria that is based on equity, justice, and fair play. To be frank and forthright, one cannot really say his highly berating outpouring is a reflection of the common refrain: “Yoruba hatred of Igbo people”.

But to be fair to majority of Yoruba, it is not because I have read articles and press comments of notable Yoruba people who throw their weight behind presidency of Igbo extraction ostensibly for equity, justice and fairness to oil the already cracking engine of the much desired unity of Nigeria.

    I crave the indulgence of my readers to quote extensively the Akinlotan’s gibberish suffused with spite and denigration of Igbo which was unbecoming of the otherwise respected columnist. He said: “….apart from the Igbo convincing themselves that it is their turn, no one else, in a manner of speaking, is convinced.”

  The question is: Who was ‘convinced’ when Obasanjo, Y’adua, Goodluck Jonathan, and Buhari were gunning for presidency? Did they travel to the nooks and crannies of Nigeria with begging bowls weeping uncontrollably and profusely to be “widely connected, best known and trusted” to be qualified for presidency?

Hear him: “…few Nigerians seem to think the idea of a southeast Presidency is urgent…it is the aspirant who prepares himself… and an aspirant’s preparation is neither region-specific not tribe-specific… Ohaneze  Nd’Igbo president omits the most crucial qualification an aspirant must possess in seeking the Presidency.

  “What matters most is not the zone, tribe, academic qualification, age, health or wealth of the aspirant. What matters most, and which the southeast has simply refused to contemplate is how widely connected the aspirant is and whether he can be trusted.

In 1999, Obasanjo was known and trusted all over Nigeria…in 2011, because of the religious antecedents of aspirant Buhari, Goodluck Jonathan was better trusted…in 2015, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was distrusted by the north and southwest. In 2023, the question is who will be best known and trusted? Has the Igbo produced an aspirant who is well known and trusted? Until the southeast can answer these questions, its quest for the presidency will remain a chimera”.

   Let me stop here to avoid boring my readers. Idowu Akinlotan has brazenly exposed his ‘home-bred hate’ for the Igbo people and their legitimate aspiration for the exalted political position in the country. He might have been deluding himself as a guru in political analysis but he allowed insidious denigration and hidden ignominy for the Igbo to spoil the piece.

The people who could read between lines knew that he was struggling to persuade Nigerians to have unearned sympathy for his tribe’s man, Ahmed Tinubu, who has thrown his hat in the ring for presidency irrespective of the fact that well-meaning Nigerians had expected him to be a champion of equity, justice and fairness as benchmarks for the much desired unity of Nigeria.

   How come the words “trusted and known”? If over 95 per cent of Northerners (I don’t want to say Nigerians) knew and trusted Buhari in 2015 and 2019, would they have voted him going by the unspeakable suffering and monumental privation all Nigerians are passing through now due to pervasive and intractable insecurities and hunger everywhere that stemmed from the poor management of the economy. Poor people all over the country scavenge in the refuse dumps to find thrown away food to eat?

   How did Nigerians know Obasanjo before he was “elected” and “re-elected” [President Y’adua described the election under Obasanjo as one of the worst in history even the one that brought him to power] for the second tenure even as he wanted to manipulate his way for third term, even as sit-tight despot amidst blatant abuse of power and total absence of rule of law that threw up goons that set public buildings in Anambra State on fire and kidnapped elected political operatives in their office?

Were Obasanjo and Buhari “known and trusted” as having been grounded in abstruse knowledge in administration and management of human and material resources even managing a country with diversity of socioeconomic and political complexity? Were both not  failures in the management of the economy? Did they recognise the categorical imperative of restructuring Nigerian federation to reinvent true fiscal federalism which remains the pragmatic roadmap for sustainable economic growth and development and restoration of the unity of the country?

   There is no need reeling out the utter gibberish that dotted the piece but it is simply necessary to inform the readers of the columnist that he should be patriotic enough to recognise that upon all the past and present presidents of this country, none of them can hold a candle for Igbo political stalwarts who have thrown their hat in the ring for presidency. It is sheer sophistry and senseless rhetoric to bandy “well connected and trust” as qualifications for presidency in Nigeria.  It is unbecoming and gratuitous insult to Igbo people for an educated man not to talk of a journalist of Idowu’s calibre.

   Akinlotan’s  most denigrating goof is that it is only Professor CC Soludo that will be considered for presidency but it will be when he might have performed well as governor of Anambra State for eight years in office. Hear him: “Perhaps in the years ahead, the cerebral Professor Chukwura Soludo will have done enough with Anambra to grab national attention”.

   What a flight of gross irrationality based on ethnic irredentism!

   In other words, political and bureaucratic stalwarts like Senator Chris Ngige, Professor Kinsley Moghalu, Barrister Pius Anyim, the cerebral scientist and most humble and most patriotic minister, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Peter Obi, the Master boardroom guru, (I have just forgotten his name) from Imo State, Justice Peter Umeadi, Dr. Victor Oye, Chief Victor Umeh, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, etc are not qualified to be president of Nigeria?

Where do the past and present presidents match them in terms of sound education, administrative mastery and political sagacity and above all, patriotic zeal to implement the restructuring Nigerian federation to reinvent true fiscal federalism which remains the only panacea to enable the dying country to be reinvented? In summary, the only tribe in Nigeria that are truly patriotic are the Igbos; and for Nigeria to move forward with justice, equity and fairness, it is only the presidency of Igbo extraction that can do it.

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