Well, it’s has always been my position that no geo-political zone has an exclusive right to the presidency of Nigeria. Also, it’s neither the birthright of any ethnic group nor a chow (the Nigerian presidency) to pacify any group or tribe as long as the playing field is leveled for all and supported by credible data.
Shrilly, it’s paramount for Nigeria to maintain a credible process enshrined in equal opportunity and equal access within which any credible individuals interested in the plum office could work hard to emerge as viable candidates; any of these individuals could win the presidency of Nigeria. Nigeria needs credible candidates for elective offices, especially the presidency, with the following traits that I simply call “OHOSIALI”—objectivity, honesty, openness, selflessness, integrity, accountability, leadership, and inspirational. Majority of credible Igbo leaders possess the aforementioned traits. Also, the Igbo are versatile and resourceful; these qualities have been great assets to Nigeria.
I truly subscribe to Nigerian President of Igbo ethnic extraction for various reasons I stated above and the ones I would enunciate below.
The Igbo have a pool of qualified people more than any other ethnic group. They have a vision that encompasses the entire nation and not a section of it. A case in point is the Jonathan and the Obasanjo administrations that were replete with credible and qualified Igbo people whose records of service were impeccable. They never used their various positions to focus myopically on their locale. They used their positions judiciously to promote and execute policies that exert influences and benefits to the entire country. These individuals in both Jonathan and Obasanjo’s cabinet worked indefatigably to improve the condition of masses. The Igbo have many more like these individuals who would be able to direct the affairs of Nigeria in a more effective and efficient manner than others.
Also, equity and fairness demand a Nigerian president of Igbo ethnic extraction. As the country’s need for transformational leadership, the eradication of corruption, institutionalized equity and fairness continue to grow, other members of the tripod bathe in affluence while the Igbo seethe in degradation. Is it not a travesty for people not to realize the inequity in Nigerian body polity? Perhaps it’s pertinent to note that by the year 2019, the north should have ruled Nigeria for 41.5 years, the southwest for 12.5 years, South-South for about 5 years, and southeast for about 6 months. Attempts have to be made to reverse these compelling statistics; we must start now as a nation to redress the stark inequity.
If 1999 ushered in a Nigerian president of Yoruba ethnic extraction because of the blatant and unconscionable annulment of June 12, 1993 election, why would 2019 not witness a historic swearing in of Nigerian president of Igbo ethnic extraction because of years of subjugation and living in the fringes? Equity, justice, and fairness demand a Nigerian president of Igbo origin. Nigeria would enjoy relative peace if it chooses a president of Igbo. The restiveness of the masses would be a thing of the past.
More importantly, stability of Nigeria requires at this juncture in Nigeria’s history that the presidency of Nigeria be someone who has the credentials to lead the country, but also someone of Igbo ethnic descent. The Igbo have a tract record of patriotism and working diligently for the unity of Nigeria. They would work harder to keep Nigeria together than any other ethnic group. Their nationalistic view of Nigeria is not in question. Igbo live in every part of Nigeria. They live in remote parts of Nigeria. No other ethnic group could boast of this versatility.
The Igbo not only imbibe the true sense of one Nigeria, but it’s also the only ethnic group that pursues collective interest of Nigeria with passion and commitment. It’s an ethnic group that is trusted to protect the collective interest of all Nigerians. In the absence of ethnic and religious trappings, the Igbo ethnic group stands a better chance to produce a Nigerian president that would maintain peace, keep Nigerian together, and produce development in all realms of the society. It’s vital to note that residency rights and its enforcement would mitigate the negative effects of ethnic politics. It would help blur the political boundaries of geo-political zones.
For instance, if NASS had enacted the necessary legislations to extend residency rights to all Nigerians in any state in which they have established viable businesses or have been domiciled for a minimum of six (6) continuous calendar months or if there were existing laws in the books that grant Residency Rights to all citizens, and they were strengthened and enforced, the laws would allow individuals to run for any political office in and from their state of residence without the stigma of ethnicity. Also, with the application of such laws to the letter and spirit, individuals would have the right to hold jobs, vote, run for and hold any office at any level of the government in their state of residence.
Vast majority of the Igbo, including Igbo organizations in both Nigeria and the Diaspora would want to produce a formidable Nigerian president and work diligently to dissuade any activities that run counter to the democratic beliefs of the Igbo. The egalitarian nature of the Igbo is unparalleled. The Igbo believe strongly in the values of democracy and would work hard to strengthen democratic structures in Nigeria. Democratization process of Nigeria would speed up with a Nigerian president of Igbo ethnic extraction because of the group’s sturdy trait of egalitarianism. While the Igbo operate on the egalitarian continuum, other sections seem less compelled to shake off the vestiges of militarized consciousness.
We implore and beckon on people from other ethnic groups, especially those in the academia and elective offices to drum up the support for Nigerian president of Igbo ethnic extraction.
The Igbo have a pool of democratic leaders such as the Deputy Senate President, Dr. Ike Ekweremadu, the director of the Lagos Business School, Pan African University, Prof. Pat Utomi, former Chief of General Staff, retired Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, former Senate President, Senator Pius Anyim, former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, former Executive Governor of Abia State, Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, former governor of Imo State, retired Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, and others in the Diaspora. Nevertheless, most of us in the Diaspora are willing to sacrifice our personal aspirations for the accomplishment of the collective goal of the larger group. Therefore, these individuals and others I didn’t mention should be evaluated and considered come 2019. It’s my position that these individuals and others should be subjected further to credibility test to evaluate their ideological underpinnings in many relevant issues.
However, as the candidates jostle for firm positions for the plum office, presidency of Nigeria, it would be fair to examine their records on issues such as Economy, Infrastructure, Healthcare, Poverty, Security, Unemployment, Education, Foreign Policy, and other issues.
We do not have to have 100% unity to accomplish our collective goal. The necessary condition is to have a collective interest people are committed to regardless one‘s individual interest. Nevertheless, we must sluice ourselves of selfishness for the collective goal of the Igbo.
Interestingly, whatever the case may be, our success largely depends on individual responsibility with the understanding of enshrined unity of purpose and commitment to task. While courage will embolden our resolve and actions, trust, honesty, and selfless service, coupled with tenacity, will serve as bedrock for success.