President Muhammadu Buhari has about 17 months to complete his second tenure and ceases to be the President of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as enshrined in the Constitution. 

The journey on who will succeed him has begun in earnest. There have been some declarations by aspirants from all the political parties to succeed the outgoing president. The All Progressives Congress (APC) is the ruling party. The party is doing everything humanly and legally possible to ensure that it retains the presidency of Nigeria after President Buhari. 

President Buhari is from the North, particularly Northwest. The North has produced more heads of state and elected presidents than the South since the independence of Nigeria. Therefore, equity, fairness and justice demand that the presidency should come to the south after President Buhari’s eight years in office. 

In the South, especially since 1999, the southwest had produced a civilian president in the person of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo for eight years. The same southwest will be producing a vice president for eight years in the person of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo by 2023. The Southsouth produced President Goodluck Jonathan who was a vice president and president for a cumulative eight years.

The Southeast is the only geopolitical region that has never produced either a vice president or a president. Fairness, equity and justice demand that the Southeast should be given the chance to field presidential candidates by all the political parties in Nigeria for 2023. 

Against this background, who should fly the flag of APC from the Southeast? Three major political parties viz; the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) merged together and founded APC in 2013. President Buhari came from the CPC bloc. Vice President Osinbajo came from the ACN bloc. The three past chairmen of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, Chief John Odigie- Oyegun and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole all emerged from the ACN bloc. The defunct ANPP bloc is the only one yet to be fully accommodated in the tripartite arrangement that gave birth to APC. 

Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu was the national chairman of the defunct ANPP at the time of the merger. Dr Ogbonnaya Onu was a foundation member of the All Peoples Party (APP) that eventually metamorphosed to ANPP. Dr Ogbonnaya Onu won the presidential primaries of the then APP in 1998 and he became its presidential candidate. Chief Olu Falae was the candidate of the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD) while Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Dr Ogbonnaya Onu had to relinquish his prized presidential ticket and ambition in order to assuage the feeling of the Southwest which demanded for the presidency of Nigeria as a result of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election won by Chief M.K.O Abiola. This is the time for the Southwest to reciprocate gesture from the Igbos and sacrifice for the Southeast in the best interest of equity and unity of Nigeria.  

Dr Ogbonnaya Onu listened to the voice of reason and forfeited his cherished presidential candidacy to Chief Olu Falae who contested on the platform of AD/APP merger. Dr Ogbonnaya Onu is the first civilian governor of old Abia State. It is a given or a certainty that President Buhari would be succeeded by a former governor or a former political office holder with requisite managerial acumen and experience. Among all those jostling to take over from President Buhari, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu is the most qualified to succeed him in 2023. Dr Ogbonnaya Onu became a governor of a state before all of them. Dr Ogbonnaya Onu had held many elective and appointive positions as governor, national chairman of ANPP, and now as a minister amongst others.

However, he remains about the only politician with no stain of corruption in his garment. Dr Ogbonnaya Onu is a consistent and principled politician. Apart from President Buhari, he is about the only politician in Nigeria who has never decamped to any other Political Party, especially the PDP since the advent of the Fourth Republic democratic dispensation. Many of those scheming to take over from the President Buhari were members of the PDP in the past, they are unprincipled politicians who will decamp to any government in Power at the federal level. 

Dr Ogbonnaya Onu endured hardship and deprivation from 1999 until 2015 when APC took over government at the federal level. He never contemplated decamping to the PDP to feather his political nest. That is principle. Dr Ogbonnaya is a first class chemical engineer. He is a Ph.D holder and would have become an emeritus professor if he had chosen to be in the academic field. He is the most educated among all the aspirants from APC and other political parties. He is a very humble and God-fearing man. Above all he has the experience, political sagacity, comportment and temperament to preside over the affairs of Nigeria. 

Therefore, there is a need for the APC apparatchiks to revisit his 1998 presidential candidacy because Nigeria needs him now more than ever before for sacrificing his ambition at the time to unite the country. President Buhari will bequeath the best legacy if he can pick an Igboman, particularly Dr Ogonnaya Onu to succeed him. The feeling of marginalization by the people of Southeast will be taken care of once and for all if Dr Ogbonnaya Onu succeeds President Buhari. 

The worst thing that President Buhari would do is to hand over Nigeria’s future and patrimony to a deeply corrupt politician as his successor. Some of these individuals angling to be the next President of Nigeria will be more powerful and stronger than Nigeria itself if they are given the opportunity. The country needs a humble and meek fellow as president. That man is Dr Ogbonnaya Onu.

Maduako writes from Owerri. He Can Be Reached Via



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