For anyone who loves justice which leads to peace and eventually to development, supporting an Ibo presidency in 2023 is a simple matter of principle and policy. It is not about whether you love the Ibo race. And it is certainly not whether you hate the Ibo people. It is simply that for the sake of our national unity and cohesion, you are supporting what is fair, just and right.
It is for that reason that this humble writer has decided not to sit on the fence and allow political manipulators to run their show towards 2023 in a manner that will plunge this nation into an unnecessary crisis. I want other commentators and patriots to join a movement and say and do things that will cohere into the realization of an Ibo man as president of Nigeria come 2023.
In exercise of what I consider a patriotic duty incumbent on ALL fair-minded Nigerians to ensure that an Ibo man emerges as president in the next three years, I hereby offer the following tips:
- Internal cohesion among the Ibos: The Ibo race owes the rest of Nigerians a duty to project the image that they have come out of their political naivety and are now fully aware of the fact that in the demand to lead the rest of Nigerians, they have a duty to first of all show that they are united in the pursuit of that goal and above all, that they are VERY serious about it. And this they can best show by disciplining their ranks in order that we do not have an armada, a trailer load of political traders coming out as candidates for the Nigerian presidency. When every Tochukwu, Dike and Hapuruchi wants to be president that is a sure way of ensuring that no Ibo man is seen as fit and proper enough to be president. A crowd of aspirants trivializes the quest.
Whatever backstage efforts will be made by John Nnia Nwodo and other Ibo elders and egg heads to severely prune the list of the also-aspired, the following should be prevailed upon not to indicate any interest but to pledge to support whoever emerges as an Ibo candidate: Charles Soludo, Dave Umahi, Ike Ekweremadu, Orji Uzo Kalu, Rochas Okorocha, Chris Ngige, Ifeanyi Ararume and IfeanyiUbah. Rather, Ohaneze Ndigbo Igbo and other Ibo groups which will anchor the role of umpires in the prior selection of a suitable Ibo son for onward presentation to the rest of Nigerians for eventual endorsement, should strive for a shortlist of two or a maximum of four. The first two are Peter Obi and Ogbonnaya Onu. The last two are Sam Amadi and Chidi Amuta. The first pair are very capable hands who belong to PDP and APC respectively while the last set are sound Ibo technocrats who have what it takes to be Ibo president of Nigeria without alienating the rest of Nigerians but are likely to carry other Nigerians along with them in the urgent business of re-inventing this country.
I recall that in 1998 in the run up to the 1999 elections, 14 Yoruba men met in a hotel in Ibadan and decided the fate of a nation and a tribe. They produced a list of Yoruba sons and daughters who would be president, governors, deputy governors and members of the National Assembly in Abuja. That list was ‘imposed’ on Yorubaland and more or less on the nation. Yet, 99.99 per cent of persons contained in that list sailed through. It will not therefore be an anomaly in a democracy if such an ‘undemocratic’ assembly is urgently constituted by the Ibos and charged with the responsibility of selecting men who are able to provide national leadership for Nigerians and the Ibos.
I am aware that there are some persons who will ask who is this man with a Calabar-sounding name who has arrogated to himself the power and authority to determine which Ibo man should aspire to the highest office in the land and which should perish the thought? My answer is that I am a Nigerian who believes it is the turn of the Ibos to be the nation’s number one but that such a man should have qualities and a perception of him as a man that will be president of Nigeria of Ibo extraction and not an Ibo president of Nigeria by the Ibos and for the Ibos.
- Prevail on Jonathan, Atiku, Tinubu, Fayemi, Ahmad Sani, Yeriman Bakura and Co not to pour sand into the Ibo Garri: The national consensus that I am suggesting should form to champion the Ibo presidency cause should have the duty to reach out to the likes of the above mentioned and many others yet to indicate interest and prevail upon them to sacrifice their dream of ruling Nigeriain order to allow an ibo man to be president for the sake of justice and peace. Similar efforts were made in the past to reign in some ambitious personages to ensure that the Yorubas provided candidates for the two leading parties of the day which guaranteered that head or tail, a Yoruba son would be president.
Similarly, President Obasanjo used the force of his personality to ensure that a minority of minorities, Goodluck Jonathan, was made Vice-President to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua which eventually paved way for him to become president when Yar’Adua died in office. Some ambitions have to be bottled so that certain statesmanlike acts can be employed for the consolidation of national unity.
It will be a serious indictment on all of us if in 2023 an Ibo man is not made president of this nation. Apart from the greed of the North to continue to monopolise power and the diplomatic positioning of the South West to take it again if the Ibos do not fight strongly enough for it, please tell me: What have the Ibos done that they cannot be forgiven? We should not see the Ibos in the eyes of the Fulanis who think that that race is the greatest obstacle to their dream of dipping the Koran into the Atlantic. We should not see Nigeria from the prism of Fulani irredentism.
- Need for a Sustained Campaign Against a Northerner showing face for the presidency in 2023: While for the sake of appearances and in line with democratic values, no Northerner should be prevented from expressing his right to contest for the presidency in 2023, a sustained consciousness must be drummed up against any one from the North seriously aspiring to be president. While the likes of the maverick Ahmad Sani, Yeriman Bakura, should be ignored as he continues to harbourthe illusion that he can be president, serious people like Atiku must be politely told that it will be a sin against the Ibos if he again comes out in 20230.
While it was legitimate of him to have come outin 2019, many of his followers in the South, especially in the South East, will feel betrayed if he seeks to act as spoiler to what is clearly an Ibo call this time around.
- The Ibos should be prepared to shake the table so vigorously that the unyielding power wielders can hear them loud and clear: it is an unfortunate fact of Nigerian life that the tiny Fulani power wielders require anyone who wants to demand his political or economic fair share to add violence or the threat of it, to their civilized demand. You must seek to hold the nation by the jugular or drag it near the precipice before they can believe that you are serious in what you are saying. The Yorubas used their control of the media and the Niger Deltans the oil resources in their creeks and swamps, to achieve that goal.
Unfortunately, the Ibos do not have any such ready ‘natural’ trump card with which to bargain their race to the power summit. Their almost stranglehold on commerce cannot be effectively used for the purpose without it hurting themselves. Their IPOB that would have played the role the Odua People’s Congress played for the Yorubasin the late 90s has been asphyxiated but it speaks volume about the impact of the language of violence in our polity that President Buhari has a mortal fear of the remnants. Since it is known that if you want peace you must prepare for war or war-like situation, the inventive and innovative Ibo race must think of a plan besides peaceful means that can add a vital tonic to their plan to show they are truly the unrecognized leg of the Nigerian tripod.