WHO IS AFRAID OF AN IGBO PRESIDENT?
BY UBAKA OKOFU.
Perhaps it’s too premature to say, nevertheless, a careful look at those being projected by members of the two major political parties in the country as possible candidates for the 2023 presidential elections has shown that none of these major parties, especially the APC ruling party and the PDP-opposition party has an Igbo person on the line up for the Nigerian presidency come 2023.
Its’ imperative to talk about the two mega political parties, and in this regard, the All Progressives Congress, (APC) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party, (PDP). Both parties have the capacities to secure absolute majority votes to clinch the presidency any day. Reason being that both parties have a huge membership base across the six geo-political regions in country.
Its’ however instructive to note that no geo-political zone has the monopoly of producing the country’s president at any general election. It’s for this reason political alliances are incubated and birthed. More often than not, alliances are formed along ethnic and religious lines. Notwithstanding, the APC and PDP have shown that with membership cutting across the six geo-political zones, ethnicity and religious tapestry might just be superficial. In Nigeria, politics is more of class based than ethnic and religious colourations put together. Surprisingly though, parties like APGA might never spread out of the eastern political cocoon where it’s only popular among the Igbos of the five eastern states of Anambra, Abia, Imo, Enugu and Ebonyi.
One is not too surprised that very few within the fold of the ruling All Progressives Congress are very keen on an Igbo president in 2023. The postulation that Rotimi Amaechi may throw in his hat for the contest cannot be taking seriously at this point. If he does, two things might work against his candidacy. First is whether he has the political muscle to dwarf the choice of Sen. Ahmed Bola Tinubu who is the self styled National leader of the All Progressives Congress. The second hurdle before him is whether Ohaneze Igbo and the Indigenous People of Biafra would accept his candidacy. The Minister of Transport hails from Ikwerre in Rivers state. The Ikwerres are not seen as core Igbos.
For now, the discussion centres more on a Moslem / Christian ticket. Membership of the ruling APC is made mostly of the hegemonic Hausa /Fulanis and a pocket of Yorubas. The monotone being chorused by top echelons of the party for a Moslem/Christian ticket supposedly means an Hausa/Fulani/ Yoruba ticket. And this might fuel most suspicion from those in other regions.
The large membership of Hausa/Fulanis and Yorubas in the APC does not come as a surprise to political pundits that are conversant with the birth of the party in 2014. The same year Sen. Ahmed Bola Tinubu led members of the Action Congress, a predominantly south west based party into an epochal merger with the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, which at that time was under the leadership of President Mohammadu Buhari. That singular merger turned out to be the stroll that broke the carmal’s back of the PDP’s unbroken runs at the presidency.
The lion of Bourdilion and the Jagaban of Borgu was able to dwarf the political relevance of tested politicians like Bode George, Obanikoro, Omisere and other PDP’s bigwigs in the south west. That political merger birthed the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the outcome of the 2015 general elections was a resounding defeat of Ex President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP as a party.
That notwithstanding, its’ bizarre that most Igbo political heavy weight in the APC ruling party had gone mute and undecided over Igbo presidency and the need to right the alleged wrong of over 50yrs that the Igbos were deliberately excluded from the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Only recently, the minority people of the Niger Delta that were subsumed alongside the Igbos were allowed by the hegemonic Hausa /Fulanis ruling class to have a feel of the presidency. It remains to be seen if Jonathan’s one and half of two terms would make up for the humongous resources that have been siphoned from the region in the last 60yrs.
As I wrote this, a Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt had struck out a suit filed by Uche Secondus, the estranged chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP. Secondus had approached court praying court to stop the PDP National Working Committee from going ahead with the planned national convention of the party.
Information disclosed to the public by the National Working Committee which is headed by the Governor of Adamawa state, Ahmadu Fintiri and Diri Duoye of Bayelsa state, has it that none of those jolting for the party’s presidential ticket is Igbo. Topping the list of the party’s presidential aspirants are Atiku Abubakar, Aminu Tambuwai, Bala Mohammed and Bukola Saraki.
Why the Igbos are not chesting out for the seat of the president of the country in 2023, not even the much celebrated Peter Obi is euphemistic of our fragile unity and barrage of suspicion still hanging in the air over the six geo-political regions.
Is that the Igbos have given up on the future of this country, and now look forward to a possible break away again? Breaking away or a secessionist attempt is not strange to the region, and only recently, this has opened a new vista to our national life. What is strange is why the attempt by the Eastern region to break away from the rest of the country failed in 1970 in spite of the huge carnages commitments by the Igbos to have an Igbo Republic. Presently, there are doubts that IPOB under Mazi Nnamudi Kanu has what it takes to achieve independence for Biafra.
First is the capture and detention of Mazi Kanu who is dabbed the spiritual leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, with the Nigerian military and IPOB at dagger drawn edge, the success or failure of the Anambra polls would determine whether or not there would be a future for IPOB.
Editor’s note: This piece was written before the PDP Convention and the Anambra gubernatorial polls