Dr. Johnson Greg
As Nigerians prepare for the zoning of the country’s presidency to the Igbos, all eyes are watching to see how the Igbos will respond to the opportunity. In that regard, there are two distinct possibilities. First, the Igbos may get their acts together and realize that this is a historic opportunity to right a historic wrong and a final chance to pull this country back from the precipice, and then take it seriously. The second possibility is that the Igbos may lose focus and fail to realize the urgency of the occasion and allow divisive parochialism and the usual tendency toward vain glory to derail the unique leadership opportunity being entrusted to them by the rest of Nigeria.
One mistake the Igbos can make is to assume that because the presidency is being zoned to them, the leadership and politics of Nigeria have become the exclusive preserve of the Igbos or that the rest of the country has no further stake in the process that will produce the Igbo president. Indeed, there is a sign that some Igbos are already adopting this false approach. To illustrate this, yesterday, one of the online news portals reported that “A powerful group of prominent leaders in the south of Nigeria, under the aegis of The Southern Eminent Leaders of Thought, otherwise known as Project Nigeria Movement, has purportedly penciled down five names they consider fit to be flagbearers of the Igbo-speaking southern part of the country in the race to 2023 presidency.”
The blog report further goes on to say “An inside source hinted News Express that the Professor Ben Nwabueze-led group of political heavyweights including former Commowealth Secretary- General, His Excellency Chief Emeka Anyaoku, believes it is just fair that the next president comes from Igboland.”
Continuing along this weird construct, the story that droped the names of prominent Igbo personalities – Professor Ben Nwabueze and Chief Emeka Anyaoku – and implied that these personalities were involved in some preselection of five “Igbos” persons, one of whom would become the Igbo President in the making. The five Igbo individuals pre-selected, according to the blog story, are Peter Obi, Oby Ezekwesiri, Pat Utomi, Olisa Agbakoba and Kingsley Moghalu. Out of the five, four are from Anambra State and one from Delta State. Also, the two prominent Igbo personalities mentioned as the king makers are from Anambra State. All of them are either known members or known sympathizers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
It appears that after doubting and even opposing the merits of Igbo presidency, some Igbo PDP members decided to select five fellow PDP members as likely Igbo president. The same Ben Nwabueze was at the Supreme Court as Atiku’s and Peter Obi’s lawyer against APC. Now they have pre-selected fellow PDP members and are planning to endorse one of them.
None of the five people they mentioned can win votes in the North. With the exception of Peter Obi, none of these people has even a near capacity to be president of Nigeria in 2023. This nonsensical pre-selection exercise is just an attempt to frustrate the Igbo presidency project. If these were to be the only Igbo candidates, zoning the presidency to the Igbos is dead on arrival. The rest of Nigeria may be ready to zone the presidency to the Igbos. But it is for the Igbos to respond in a realistic and effective manner. Otherwise, the the Igbo presidency project remains yet unattainable in the next 20 years. And don’t think you can have Biafra any sooner.