Nigeria’s multi-ethnic composition no doubt creates room for political competition especially at the centre. As such, there have been polemics over whether certain tribal groups have been fairly treated and this has brought about agitation for political inclusiveness, equity and fairness. Often times, we have heard Nigerian proximate political actors argue about rotational presidency as a panacea to perceived political marginalization.
Unlike the other two major ethnic groups in Nigeria, the Hausas and Yorubas, the Igbos’ dream of ruling the country, still remains a tall order. For instance, in 1999; the Yorubas, had their share of power when Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was elected. Obasanjo spent eight years and was succeeded by late President Yar’Adua, a northerner whose tenure was cut short due to terminal illness. Then came President Goodluck Jonathan, from a minority ethnic group in the South-south, a region on whose oil resources, Nigeria breathes.
Jonathan’s journey to Aso- Rock was merely an accidental constitutional opportunity based on the doctrine of necessity, as a result of President Yar’Adua’s untimely demise. Had it been that President Yar’Adua’s life was not cut short, there’s an opinion that the possibility of Jonathan, becoming his successor would have been a tall order. As we know, Jonathan completed the joint tenure of his late boss and contested in 2011 and won. He spent his single term and lost re-election in 2015 to the current President Muhammadu Buhari.
Fast forward to 2015, Nigeria’s political baton did go back to the north with strategic political alignment, coalescent of the then major opposition political parties, overwhelmed political support from proximate political actors and power brokers of the south western Nigeria and a hyped media propaganda against Jonathan’s administration that later resulted to a punitive electoral outcomes. The north, once again, returned to the corridors of power. And the beneficiary of this pyseological outcome was President Muhammadu Buhari.
As the 2023 general election approaches, the subtle race and strategic positioning for the next presidential election by politicians across the country are already ongoing. However, central to this is the renewed agitation for fairness, justice, and equity, clothed in “rotational presidency”. The southern people of Nigeria believe that for equity and political balancing, the next president must come from this region. But this is a generic agitation that in itself inherent another specific geopolitical agitation amongst the political class from the Southern part of the country. For clarity, the term southern part of Nigeria is made up of these three geo-political zones, the southeast, the south-south, and the southwest. So, the polemics are, which of these three regions, is her turn to paddle the affairs of the country if fairness, equity, justice, and rotational presidency were to be our yardstick? Or should it be left open for the best amongst the politicians in the southeast, southwest and south-south? I am of the opinion that some political clarity is needed here.
The answer to the above poser is not obscure or difficult. Going down our contemporary democratic experience, the Igbos deserve to be treated fairly, as far as this matter is concerned. Of course, like other major tribes, Igbos have many well-qualified sons and daughters across many disciples. The Igbos unarguably are the most enterprising and highly industrious people, not only in Nigeria but anywhere you find them. The Igbo nation has much more to offer and for justice and fairness, should be given the chance to rule Nigeria.
I am equally of the view that our Igbo brothers and sisters should speak with a united voice and present the best amongst them that is not only politically experienced but emotionally matured to rule a complex country like Nigeria. The Igbo land has so much to be proud of and should be treated fairly and the time is now.
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