BY IFEANYI MADUAKO
The North has a right to the presidency of Nigeria after the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari. The argument that the position should shift to the south after Buhari is most tenable.
However, does the south practice justice, equity and fairness among the three geo-political zones that make up the region? That the south-west could be laying a claim to the presidency after the eight years of President Olusegun Obasanjo and the eight years of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo is the height of injustice, inequity and marginalization among the three zones that make up the southern region.
If the south practices equity, justice and fairness among the three regions, the south-west and the south-south zones should have all supported the south-east to produce the next president of Nigeria. The south-south produced the vice-president and the President of Nigeria in the person of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who occupied the positions cumulatively for eight years. If the three geo-political zones in the southern region cannot practice equity, justice and fairness among themselves, what right do they have to demand a power shift from the north to the south?
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar, was the first presidential aspirant to concede the position to the south-east even before the presidential primaries. It’s on record that Atiku had said that he would relinquish his presidential ambition if the PDP would micro-zone the ticket to the south-east. The governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, who’s making noise all over the place about equity, justice and fairness in the party was one of those who opposed the decision of the party to micro-zone the ticket to the south-east just because of his selfish political ambition.
Most Nigerians do not sympathize with Wike on his current travail in the PDP because he deserves it. The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is promising to literally turn the south-east into heaven on earth. Why didn’t he support the presidential aspirants from the south-east to clinch the ticket of the party?
If he loves the Igbo people, why not allow them to taste the presidency of Nigeria? How can he be promising to turn Igbo land to industrial hub when he cannot allow the region to taste either the vice-presidential or presidential position since the birth of the Fourth Republic democratic dispensation? Are Igbo forbidden from tasting the presidency but are only good at getting fake promises?
Tinubu’s presidency in 2023 means that the Igbo may only taste the position in the next 16 years which is 2039. This is because after Tinubu, the seat will definitely move to the north in 2031.
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, has made all Igbo people proud as a political phenomenon that he has become in the current Nigerian political space. Peter Obi is, unarguably, the most prominent politician from the south-east in the 21st Century. The most significant thing about Peter Obi is that he remains the only politician in Nigeria who can make a tumultuous wave for the presidency on the platform of a hitherto weak political platform.
No other politician in Nigeria could have made the kind of electoral impact that Peter Obi has been making on the platform of the Labour Party. The Labour Party had fielded presidential candidates in the past elections who couldn’t change the fortunes of the party. In fact, Tinubu or Atiku couldn’t have made any political waves with the Labour Party if either of them was the candidate of the Party. The most interesting thing is that Peter Obi will be a good alternative for Nigerians in 2027 if Atiku fails in his first term.
Tinubu is regarded as a strong candidate for the forthcoming general election just because he’s the candidate of the ruling party with over 20 governors and hundreds of National Assembly members. Make Tinubu the candidate of any smaller party, and see that he’s politically irrelevant unlike Peter Obi. If Peter Obi could be making these heavy impacts on the platform of the Labour Party, then imagine the effect he would have made if he were the presidential candidate of either the PDP or the APC.
However, just like professor Udenta .O. Udenta recently said, my heart is with Peter Obi, but my head tells me that Atiku will win. Atiku will win the election because the north can never reject their own and prefers a second fiddle in vice-president of Senator Kashim Shettima. The north cannot reject the number one position which the candidacy of Atiku represents in preference to Shettima’s vice-presidency.
Atiku has Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, the governor of Delta State as his running mate. Okowa is a bonafide Igbo man in every ramification. Unless the definition of being Igbo is strictly those from the south-east, Okowa is an Igbo man. Okowa has many similarities with the late Dr Alex Ekwueme. They are both humble. While late Ekwueme was an academic doctoral degree holder, Okowa is a medical doctor by profession. Okowa’s chieftaincy title is “Ekwueme”. The late Ekwueme could have become the president of Nigeria in 1987 after Shagari’s tenure if not for the military interregnum by this same Buhari that truncated that dream.
If Atiku finishes his tenure, by the grace of God, the seat would shift to the south, preferably to Igbo. Those agitating for the republic of Biafra contend that Rivers and Delta States are part of Biafra because they harbor many Igbo indigenes, how then should the south-east reject Okowa as an Igbo man? Do not forget that Delta State had produced the president-general of Ohanaeze-Ndigbo in the past in the person of late Ambassador Ralph Uwaechue who presided over the affairs of all Igbo people. Wouldn’t he turn in his grave if the south-east and Ndigbo in general reject Okowa just because he’s from Delta State?
Maduako, writes from Owerri via email@example.com