By Agudosi Kosisochukwu
Colonization stripped Africans the dignity of forming their nations according to their own indigenous culture, values, heritage and convenience. Many African states stand between the tension of disintegrating and continuing with the structure given to them by the colonial masters. For instance, Nigeria which is a colony of Britain is an aggregation of many ethnic groups with Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba as the major tribes. Each of these major ethnic groups has certain idiosyncrasies that very clearly mark them out, distinctively. Since independence in 1960, the leadership of the country has continued to hover between the Northern and the Southern part of the country.
However, distrust arose between the several nationalities (ethnic groups) as one ethnic group desires to remain in power to the detriment of others. It is on record that since independence, the North has produced about fifteen (15) heads of state (this includes both civilian and military heads of state) while the south has produced only about five (5). It is this conspicuous injustice that has partly given rise to the call for self determination and the drumbeat of secession across the length and breadth of the country, especially the southern part. The skirmishes that led to the Nigerian Biafra war had their offshoot in the ideology sold the Hausas not to allow Igbos to rule the country. Then the Nigerian Biafra war came and ended the way it did.
Igbos are vanguards of development as is evident from wherever they find themselves. It is believed that for the country to have an all round development, it is necessary for an Igbo man to be the president of the country. The success story being recorded in Anambra State could be extrapolated to the whole country if an Igbo man becomes the next president in 2019. But the big question is, giving the present realities, is Igbo presidency in 2019, achievable?
Many commentators on national issues have muted the idea of Igbo presidency in 2019. Mr. Alozie Chinonso, a journalist, reported in the Vanguard of January 4, 2018 that youths from the Northern region made a declaration at Arondizuogu in Imo State during their youth summit, that the south east region should produce the next president. This, according to them, would soften agitations for Biafra. The groups which include Arewa Youth Forum, Arewa Youth Coalition for Peace, Northern Central Youth Club as well as Youth for one Nigeria, through their spokesperson, Alhaji Haruna Waziri, maintained that with Igbo man as president of Nigeria, it would help to assuage the agitation for Biafra as well as set the tone for restructuring as canvassed by many.
Arguing in this line of thought, a former governor of old Kaduna State, Alh.Balarabe Musa, while answering a question from a journalist as reported in the Sun of 17th February, 2018 said, “The North has been in power for so many times. Even out of ten (10) former presidents, I think seven(7) came from north, one came from south west and one from south south and none from south east. Why none from the south east? “ He concluded that the south east should produce the president in 2019 to enable the whole country benefit from the nationalistic outlook of the Igbos.
Having come this far, it is desirable to ask whether Igbo presidency in 2019 is achievable, the advantages notwithstanding. Giving the unwritten rotational principle between the north and south in Nigeria presidency, it would appear that the Igbo presidency in 2019 is not achievable. According to Osita Okechukwu, Director of Voice of Nigeria, “The maxim states that in political domain there is the law with its legal teeth and the convention with its moral weight. “ The political convention today in Nigeria according to him is the rotation of presidency between the north and south with each side occupying the position for eight (8) years at a stretch before the next side. He then concluded that Igbos should wait for their turn in 2023, instead of jumping the gun.
The present president who is from north has declared his interest to contest again in 2019 and if he wins, the north would have occupied the presidency for eight years at a stretch with the likelihood that “the unwritten rotational principle and moral weight occasioned by convention “, as canvassed by Osita Okechukwu would make room for Igbo presidency in 2023.
It is, perhaps, in the understanding of this convention that the major political parties have zoned the presidency to the north. This tacit arrangement must have informed why no popular political heavy weight of Igbo extraction is nursing any presidential ambition at the 2019 polls. Hence it is expected that a northerner would still be the president till 2023 before the same convention would favor the south east.
In conclusion, the necessity of an Igbo man being the president in 2019 cannot be under estimated but this feat (2019 Igbo presidency) cannot be realized. In other words 2019 Igbo presidency is apt but not feasible.
Holy Child Secondary