Comments and Issues
Power shift in 2023: Enough of this ‘Igbo Presidency’ trash
By Ifeanyi Izeze
Whosoever came out with the concept of ‘Igbo Presidency’ whether by omission or outright commission does not mean well for the Igbos at all. Take it or leave it, it is outrightly derogatory to use the term to describe the clamour by the people of the Southeast geopolitical zone to be given the chance to produce the next president of the Federal Republic.
Whether anybody wants to believe this or not, there are some sets of Nigerians that would never support the clamour for an “Igbo president”. The reason is not much of their hatred for the Igbos but for the decades of negative campaigns against the Igbo people by some sections of the country for reasons not far from calling a dog a bad name just to hang it.
Have we ever had in this country a Fulani or Hausa Presidency, Yoruba or Ijaw Presidency? So why is the case of the Igbos different? The reason is simple; make the actualisation of the dream more difficult by wrongly captioning it!
Since the advent of the current democratic sortie, Obasanjo ruled from 1999 to 2007; Yaradua had a short sting from 2007 to 2009; Jonathan took over, completed the Yaradua tenure and ran another full tenure that ended in 2015. General Mohammadu Buhari took over in 2015 and will be there till 2023.
In all these regimes, it was never once said not even a mention that Obasanjo’s government ran on a Yoruba presidency or that Yaradua and Buhari’s governments ran on Fulani/Hausa Presidency. Not even Jonathan could be said to have ran an Ijaw Presidency?
When the likes of Atiku Abubakar and Bukola Saraki seek to occupy the number one position in the governance of the federation, their argument had always been that the Northeast and North Central geopolitical zones have never produced a president under the current dispensation.
So why is the clamour by the people of the Southeast geopolitical zone being mischievously tagged?
Now, this is the truth: This mischievous branding of the clamour by the Igbos is deliberate to smear the genuine aspirations of the people of the Southeast geopolitical zone, take it or leave it!
It’s not only the Southeast that is peopled by a near-homogenous tribe; the Southwest has the same population character too. So why was Obsanjo’s presidency not referred to as ‘Yoruba Presidency’. Even the Northwest that has produced two presidents, Yaradua and Buhari has a near-homogenous population also.
Some people may say it doesn’t matter, but some of us are saying it does really matters and should be corrected immediately.
If it is an Igbo presidency issue, would the candidacy be open to the entire Igbo nation or would such opportunity be limited to the South-East zone of Nigeria?
As has been severally highlighted, people sharing similar heritage, including culture, names, language, and religion collectively known as the Igbos are found beyond the South-East zone.
States with sizeable Igbo population include: Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, and Rivers states. The sustained use of the tag “Igbo Presidency” by some people in the country including naive politicians in the Southeast geopolitical zone if not addressed, will muddle the entire clamour for the region to be allowed to produce the next president for the sake of equity and fairness.
For instance, if it’s an Igbo Presidency thing, people like me who is a full-blooded Igboman but of the Delta stock which is in the South-South geopolitical zone should be allowed to contest for the presidency too. The question is: if I win the election as an Igboman, could that have addressed the perceived marginalisation of the Igbos as currently being agitated? The answer is No!
Truth is an Ogwashi Ukwu, Ikwerre, Etche, Ogba man being the president of the federal republic will not and can never make the Southeast geopolitical zone to accept that the power imbalance has been addressed for obvious reasons being that the two ethnic nationalities are in the South-South geopolitical zone as presently configured.
The rotation of power equation in the country is between the North and South and geopolitical delineation has been the contraption that has been used to implement rotation between the two sections of the country.
And when you come to the Southern Nigeria with three geopolitical zones, the Southwest and the South-South have both taken a shot at the Presidency leaving the Southeast as the only geopolitical zone yet to be given the opportunity to produce a president.
So if it’s agreed that 2023 should be used to correct the obvious marginalisation, it should be properly christened as an agitation to allow the Southeast geopolitical zone produce the next president rather than saying the Igbos should produce the next president because they completely mean two different things. Igbo Kwenu! God bless Nigeria!!
- IFEANYI IZEZE is a Columnist with National Daily Newspaper and can be reached on: [email protected]