Chief O.J. Akiri enjoins all Nigerians and particularly the Southerners to concede to the South-East the Presidency of this Nation in 2023, in order to reinforce the nation’s UNITY and effective STABILITY.
LET’S GIVE THE SOUTH EAST A CHANCE IN IMPLEMENTING OUR DEMOCRATIC POWER-SHIFT TEMPLATE. We will also be hearing testimonies from some prominent Nigerians: DR CHRIS NGIGE; EBUNOLA MARTYNS AND AKIN OSUNTOKUN.
One inherent characteristic of democracy is the multifaceted nature of the freedom it guarantees, e.g the freedom of expression; the freedom of unmonitored movement; the freedom of uncensored cultural identification; the showcasing of palpable egalitarianism, or abiding by its near tautological twin-mate “anti-apartheid” etc.
There is no doubt that the long reign of dictatorial military regimes in our country, with the concomitant syndrome of unpredictable regime changes through violent coups and counter coups, might have befuddled or anaesthetized our penchant for talking to power and freely airing our views however unpalatable, as nobody would want to risk incarceration or being carelessly hurled into KiriKiri maximum Security Prison, our own version of Russia’s Siberia or Soljenitsyn’s Gulag.
You would recall that in less than 23 years ago, no serious political manual could have risked the ridicule of suggesting an analytical comparison of the Nigerian regime with the line-up of decent democratic nations, not even with Russia’s unclassifiable hybridal brew of Vladmir Putin’s regime. In consonance with civilized norms the world over, Military regimes have acknowledgeably become anachronistic, as governments after governments are insistently invited or outrightly brow-beaten to democratise their institutions or risk being brandished the red card of a demeaning pariah status in the comity of nations.
We must fast track our narrative to 1999, when a saintly Military Ruler, (here again I come with my endless chain of hair-raising oxymorons), decided to give the nation a refreshingly new start in its political evolution, as the death of Chief MKO Abiola, the winner of the June 12, 1993 general elections, passed on while in Government custody, thereby pushing the nation to the brink of anarchy and near disintegration. To assuage the kinsmen of the late Mogul, the General deemed it morally just that the next President should be chosen from the SOUTH-WEST Zone. The major plank of his implementation modality consisted in compelling the two major political parties to nominate their Presidential candidates from the South West Zone, being the home of Chief MKO Abiola’s Yoruba kinsmen. The inspirational template ensured the emergence of two prominent sons of Yoruba land, General Olusegun Obasanjo for the PDP and Chief Olu Falae of the APP as the foremost contestants. General Olusegun Obasanjo of the PDP emerged victorious.
At the expiration of the 2 four-year terms of General Obasanjo, the Power Shift Pendulum, without much fuss or any dramatic twist swung to the North, where Umaru Musa Yaradua of the PDP was democratically elected and handed the rulership baton.
Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief, and like Archimedes with his fortuitous principle of floatation echoed the euphoric *Eureka* , as we had at last found the formula for a peaceful and orderly regime change, in our complex country of 312 ethnic groups and 371 tribes, which among ourselves speak well over 500 languages.
Let us pause for a while and reflect on the extent of our journey so far:
1999 – 2007 President Olusegun Obasanjo – South West Vice President Atiku Abubakar – North East
2007 – 2015 = President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua – North West (died after 3 years} Vice President Goodluck Jonathan – South South
(3 years as Vice President and 5 years as President)
2015 – 2023 =President Muhammadu Buhari – North West Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbanjo – South West They both have just one more year to attain completion of their two permissible 4-year terms
2023 – 2031 ONLY THE SOUTH EAST IS YET TO BE AVAILED THE OPPORTUNITY OF OCCUPYING EITHER THE PRESIDENCY OR THE VICE PRESIDENCY SINCE 1999.
Let us for further clarity employ the ferroviaire metaphor, in trying to judiciously brainstorm on the Southern MEGA STATION that should welcome the ROTATIONAL PRESIDENCY TRAIN, as it traverses the Southern Zone.
It would be interesting to hear from some prominent Nigerians, particularly those of them from the Southern Zone, notwithstanding the embarrassing foot dragging of a segment of PDP’S ”winning strategists”. We are also aware of the categorical and unequivocal pro-Power Shift stance of ALL the Governors of the South.
1) *His EXCELLENCY DR CHRIS NGIGE* (please permit me on this occasion to ascribe to him the alias: *”Eziokwu bu ndu”* meaning *truth is life’s essence*.
“The South Easterner is saying on moral grounds, equity and justice, you should leave this for me, for us to bury all the hostilities, all the bad blood, following the civil war, all the resurgent separatist agitations, based on perceived marginalization, since there is a thin line between perception and reality. For me, it is Southern President.” He continued:
“The PDP top apparatchik think they are playing smart. They want to play a fast one. They want the APC to say “South”. Their calculation is that when that happens, they will go North. Number one, that will mean an act of bad faith, because it will mean that they have taken the people in the South-South and the South-East that have all along supported PDP 90% in all the elections, for a ride…”
2) *EBUNOLA MARTYNS* : “For the love of justice and fair play (….. ) I will encourage my big brother TINUBU to support the South-East, since we are friends and have been the same. We are all from the SOUTH”
3) *AKIN OSUNTOKUN*: “What best serves National integration and the political stability of Nigeria at this moment……is the gesture of healing the festering civil war wounds and the attendant political marginalization of the Igbos, by facilitating that an IGBO accede to the Nigerian Presidency”
Several highly respected Nigerians strongly hold on the view that the South-East, which has never been on the saddle of the Presidency or the No. 2 spot since our new-found democratic renaissance in 1999, should be allowed to ascend the Presidency. In all sincerity of purpose therefore, the Presidential Candidates of the PDP and the APC should be chosen from the IGBO States of Anambra, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi, and the IGBO ensembles within Rivers and Delta States. Some Nigerians I consider as confusionists have surprisingly posited that the Rotational formula, which undoubtedly spells egalitarianism, and reinforces our integration, should be jettisoned for a nebulous concept of nationwide search for MERIT. And I ask, should we not be striving for our consolidation as one UNITED and INDISSOLUBLE COUNTRY, before our wild goose chase for genuises? I had in my previous article quoted Simon Kolawole of THIS DAY Newspaper for his apt and enduring answer to all true Unifiers and lovers of Nigeria: Let us hear him again: “Power rotation is NOT ANTI-MERIT. There is no part of Nigeria that does not have Merit. The constitution insists that a Presidential Candidate must possess federal spread, by scoring at least 25% of the votes in every State of the Federation.” _He continues_:
“For democracy to thrive, it must be adapted to the political realities of its environment. Democracy acknowledges that all the fingers are not equal. Balancing is part and parcel of democracy, especially in a developing country where political maturity is still budding.”
The Abubakar Atikus, the Kwankwasos and our own Tinubu must not see 2023 as the end of Nigeria’s existence. Their children can certainly become the future beneficiaries of their Parents’ gargantuan goodwill. I am sure that the Late Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau, who passed on in 2000 might never have imagined that his own son Justin Trudeau would 15years after his demise become the 23rd Prime Minister of Canada.
The IGBOS of the SOUTH-EAST and all the Igboïde ensembles of Rivers and Delta States will always remember the afore-mentioned Patriots for decades and decades to come, for conceding the sacrifice that re-wrote their history as a happy and integral part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.