Few weeks ago, I was to go for National Delegate of PDP, but I decided to give the opportunity to someone I felt could represent the interest of Ndi Igbo, alas, I was deeply disappointed when I asked in equanimity whom he voted for; he politely replied that he voted for the highest bidder and I was exasperated because many of our people that went for the National Convention of PDP, voted against Igbo agenda.   

With the way things are going politically, I do not think that any Igbo man has the chances of clinching the number one position of this nation, though the Lukean Angel Gabriel told the unexposed dame that nothing is impossible, especially with God. Is it possible from what is playing out for an Igbo man to be President of Nigeria?

The answer to the above question is YES! It is ‘yes’ because we truly know that the real answer is ‘NO’ and refuse to say ‘No,’ it is not a mission impossible. It is yes because it is overdue.  But, why is it a mission impossible? Before our predecessors who we all saw with our naked eyes, it was not a mission impossible. Okwudiba Nnoli recounted how they penetrated every nook and cranny of Nigerian leadership and social life, and dominated. They saw the Igbo race as the Shakespearean hero Caesar, always returning to declare: ‘Veni, vidi, vici’ (I came, I saw, I conquered).

The constant heroic attempt that contemporary Igbo politicians have made is classified under the “I saw” category and the shouldering sign that follows it. When shall we leave middle position’s option, which is not even on the ethical side as the ancient Greek sage, Aristotle, said that ‘virtue lies in the middle of excess and deficiency.’ The Igbos do not have even the ‘deficiency’ (which implies shortage of something or its poor provision) in the Nigerian presidential leadership. We do not have the excess, and have come to reject being at the middle, I mean, the vidi.

In the forthcoming 2023 political dispensation, let us go to that presidency unified as a person, as an I. It is by going that I can later declare veni and as I must succeed heroically to declare vici. Our predecessors, the nationalists were not more enlightened and vast than our age and epoch, but they have very significant communal spirit and audacity that lack in our time. I always end with anger whenever I reflect on the televised PDP primaries of 1998 and what happened to the late Nigerian former Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme, how he was defeating General Olusegun Obasanjo before the obvious Igbo kinsmen betrayal. It was at his chute that our present difficulties started and only with its opposite simulacrum can it be solved. If Igbos had won that 1998 PDP presidential primary election, the story would have been a different thing today.

Besides the 1998 PDP primaries, late Dim Odimegwu Ojukwu and Senator Orji Uzor Kalu both came out at different dispensations and never received the sort of overwhelming votes and landslide victory from Igbo-land as we gave to President Jonathan in 2011 and to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in 2019 (because of Chief Peter Obi who was his running mate in the presidential election). In those electoral eras, we also noticed that there were Igbo politicians in other political parties contesting for the same presidential stool, while others were vice-presidential candidates to non-Igbos, all culminating in balkanizing votes from Igbo-land. Even Christ as God reminded us in the Holy Scripture that a house divided against itself shall not stand.

The Kantian theory of possibility and impossibility mentioned above is meant for the proof of actuality and to affirm that with the existence of that actuality nothing is impossible. Besides, to contemplate the possibility of a mission as an actuality, according to Kierkegaard, is to reflect on ‘becoming,’ its chances and demands. When one wants to become, which is the destiny of man to always strive to become what he has not yet become, preparations and budgeting are inevitable. And for the Nigerian presidency come 2023, the faster we prepare and go out on consultations and to ally with some groups outside Igbo-land, the better, than when such groups have made allies and resolutions for the election with some other groups before our arrival. Let us play the early cock-crow, and stand to our voice and work it out. This initial advice was not heeded to.

As the American activist, Gloria Steinem declared that “power can be taken, but not given. The process of taking is empowerment in itself.” We have to empower ourselves with the needful to take this power. We need just a candidate that is sellable and a national presidential material, and pull all our internal and external supports around him. We must have the will, urge, zeal and ambition to dominate in order to make the 2023 Nigerian presidency. The Indian sage and nationalist, Mahatma Gandhi, noted that “strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”

Permit me to rush over Okwudiba Nnoli’s Ethnic Politics in Nigeria and Rev Fr Prof Jude Uwalaka’s The Struggle for an Inclusive Nigeria. Igbos to Be or Not to Be[  If as early as 1953, Igbos have dominated major political stools in the country and by 1966, they are in the helms of affairs of vital positions in the country as the authors recalled, we can as well return to such position. All we need to do is to walk together, focused, determined, scheming and looking for worthy allies.

It is only when Igbo politicians win the presidential primaries of major political parties that we will conclude on the party to vote for a landslide victory. We must call a Southeastern stakeholders’ meeting, enjoin our political elites that are sellable presidential candidates to spread themselves in two or three major political parties. We have to support them financially, with connections, and ask our people who are delegates for presidential primary elections to be strictly patriotic and vote for Igbos. This they did not do. To spread our politicians to more than three major or seriously-minded political parties is to do injustice to our course. We need to break into the former national ruling party, the PDP and scheme into the present national ruling party, the APC and sell our proposals, agitations and bargains with them. We should be able to let them know how this is a great determiner to the stability of security and peace in Nigeria. This admonition was ignored.

As I said earlier, the PDP presidential primaries of 1998 is the genesis of Igbo’s contemporary political marginalization in the Nigerian presidency. At the onset of the Fourth Republic, the Igbos fluffed a golden opportunity to produce a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction when they betrayed the late Alex Ekwueme at the PDP convention in Jos in 1998. At that time, he was in a pole-position to emerge as the PDP Presidential candidate in the run-up to the 1999 Presidential election. Had he won that PDP Presidential ticket, he would have become the President of Nigeria as PDP was the most formidable political party in Nigeria, but his Igbo compatriots who were top members of PDP sold him down the river for pecuniary and selfish reasons. What happened in Abuja at the PDP National Convention recently? Did history not repeat itself?  What will happen in APC too? We are watching!

Whoever enjoys Charles Dickson’s Great Expectations knows that when one has great expectations, great tasks, great challenges and efforts are needed. Thus, our ethnic target is the presidential position and not vice-presidency or Senate, etc. President Jonathan in 2011 had landslide victory in Igbo-land because we taught of him as a proxy-Igbo presidency. Atiku had same in 2019, because the choice of Gov Obi as running mate, was the either/or side of Macbeth’s decision not to play the Roman fool and die, while he better fights and dies. All we need is the Presidency and nothing short of that.

The Danish philosopher Kierkegaard said, “No venturing, no gaining.” The need to bargain and consult other tribes is an urgent task and venture facing our mission for 2023. This “requires building a strong and expansive nationwide coalition across the country to shake off the excessively individualistic pursuit of that highest office in the country. The place to start is at home, specifically, with consolidating the support of the Igbo nation all over the country and building a fresh strong bridge between constituents and their immediate neighbors in the South-South.”

The ongoing discussion borders on ensuring structures for a successful outing to the Nigerian presidential election come 2023. The consulting Igbo representative should be able to remember that in 1999, the presidential tickets of apex political parties were concentrated in the Southwest in order to placate the Abiola’s denial. Thus, the tickets were for Olusegun Obasanjo (PDP) and Olu Falae (AD and APP). In 2007, the elections were mainly for Musa Yar’Adua, Nuhu Ribadu and Muhammadu Buhari etc, albeit there were some other zones that featured candidates from their side in other political parties. In 2019, the election was mainly between Buhari and Abubakar Atiku. So in 2023, it should be between Southerners and precisely from Southeast.


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