Since the beginning of Nigeria‘s fourth republic in 1999, no Igbo man or woman has ever been elevated to the position of President or Vice President of Nigeria. From 1999 till date, the country has been ruled by a Yoruba man for 8 years (Olusegun Obasanjo), Ijaw man for 4 years + (Goodluck Jonathan) and Hausa/Fulani for 7 years and counting (Umaru Musa Yar’Adua & Muhammadu Buhari). It is like a grand plan is in place to shut out the Igbos from ascending to these two elevated positions.
If truth must be told, this aspect of our political history is one of the many reasons there is serious distrust and bad blood between the Igbos and the two other major ethnic groups in the country.
There is no gainsaying the fact that when a heterogeneous country like Nigeria marginalizes one of the biggest ethnic groups in the country using bitter political maneuverings, it is preparing itself for a catastrophic implosion.
We pray and sing ‘one nation bound in freedom, peace and unity’ in our national anthem, yet we continue to undermine it through calculated political misgivings. For instance, Buhari’s four years as President (2016-2019) has so far been characterized by a highly ethnic-bigoted appointments which caused serious friction in the polity. Although he argued that his decision was as a result of the number of votes he got from the south in 2015 election, such thinking to say the least, is primitive. Without mincing words, this bitter political scheme watered the ground for serious ethnic disharmony. Many felt that other ethnic groups were purposely left out by his government because the North has a hidden agenda it is yet to achieve.
The bitterness existing between the three major ethnic groups has continued to grow as the Igbos feel isolated from reaching the highest position in the land because of an unwritten agreement between the two other major ethnic groups. By their alliance, the two ethnic groups have continued to produce people who have so far failed in taking Nigeria to the promise land – but because of their numbers, we have continued to settle for mediocre.
The power-hungry-ethnic-champions who have held sway for many years have refused to understand that shutting out one of its three major ethnic groups from power fosters a spirit of rebellion, which in turn results in hostility among the ethnic groups. More so, this act doesn’t encourage a peaceful and harmonious co-existence.
Interestingly, a feeling of marginalization as this, is one of the reasons why the country has refused to move forward. This is because the ethnic groups have failed to work together as one. Instead, the individuals who have at various times occupied the highest position in the land over the years made themselves ethnic warriors instead of looking out for the interest of the nation.
Because all ethnic groups in the country are equal and must have same equal political opportunities, at no time should Nigerians ever be given that impression that a particular ethnic group is born to rule over others.
On the part of the Igbos, there should be a conscientious effort to harmonize the existing relationship between them and other ethnic groups, if this dream must come true. The pockets of discord being sown by enemies of the people who have continued to exploit fault-lines to cause disunity must be spotted and erased.
Now and again, I see people debating whether those from Delta, Ebonyi etc have the ‘true blood of Igboness’ flowing in them. What kind of nonsensically divisive argument is that? It is like we are intentionally playing right into the hands of our ex-military rulers who planted the seed of discord by ripping us apart many years ago. The southeast and southsouth are brothers and must not allow their enemies to continue to dictate their political steps.
Southeast and southsouth politicians who are happy to play second fiddle after selling their rights must be reminded that history will always remember them with a frown. All illustrious sons and daughters of Ndigbo must as a matter of urgency begin now to lobby their counterparts from other ethnic groups for an Igbo Presidency come 2023.
If the dream of Igbo presidency must be achieved in 2023, the high rate of voter apathy in the southeast and Southsouth must be reversed. Ndigbo must come out en masse to vote instead of sitting back at home hoping for a miracle.
The absence of a leadership figure from the southeast and southsouth capable of uniting the two groups has been a clog in the wheel of progress. However, progress must be made with what is available. Illustrious sons and daughters (politicians, businessmen/women, intellectuals, writers and like minds) of southeast and southsouth extraction must come together as one for the purpose of producing an Igbo presidency in 2023.
We must upset the balance to forge a formidable force and take what is rightfully ours.
In order to correct the current unsavory political equation in Nigeria, foster peace & unity and conceive the idea in the hearts of all that Nigeria belongs to all, the Igbos must produce the President come 2023. This way, equity and justice would have been served.
Alexander Thandi Ubani
Political analyst and journalist.
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