The arguments for or against Igbo presidency has been such that no Nigerian can feign ignorance or deny the import, albeit, the continued unity and possible existence of Nigeria as a nation. Many pundits have reasons to believe that Nigeria is sitting on keg of a gunpowder because of the way this sensitive issue has been handled all along and if nothing is done about it, may not last for much longer.
The topic is so complex and complicated that one cannot just delve into all aspects thereof, but I will try as much as possible to stay on the course of the question of the much discussed topic of “Igbo presidency”. I therefore crave your indulgence to be patient and read to comprehend this school of thought, the ideas driving it, and the inevitability thereof, as the panacea of a united Nigeria.
The term “rambunctious” as used in this context is tilted towards the two conditions the word can represent, either “negative” or “positive”, but in this case, both can be said to be in parallel to the argument either against or in favour of this quest for Igbo presidency in Nigeria after over 60 years of independence and 30 years of a bad civil war that almost ended Nigeria.
The quest for Igbo presidency is a direct product of marginalisation, disenfranchisement, and lack of respect for federal character in the administration of a multi-ethnic union like Nigeria. Other attendant aftermath of this lopsided and systemic twist includes the much heated quest for self-determination, referendum through plebiscite, restructuring and incessant call for total balkanisation of Nigeria. Therefore, these realities cannot be overlooked or wished away as they have come to stay with us.
The question then becomes: Is this call a misplaced priority?
To address this question, I must foremost x-ray what the problem has been and juxtapose how Igbo presidency might not be the solution to the Nigeria question. Then again, I’ll crave your indulgence of patience.
Nnamdi Azikiwe was one of the champions of an independent Nigeria and he became the first President of Nigeria, after which we have had other leaders who played one role or the other to get Nigeria to wherever we found ourselves now.
But the fact remains that no Igbo after Zik has again been given the chance because somehow, many people from the northern part are still living with the mindset that the Nigeria civil war is not over and so the Igbo must never be trusted for attempting to break out of Nigeria and must be made to continue to pay the ultimate price of a united Nigeria. But those in this school of thought forget that the generation being punished now was not privy to what happened between 1967-70. This makes it a more dangerous keg of gunpowder as witnessed in the recent suppressed EndSARS protests that rocked Nigeria.
But to avoid sounding as if the call for Igbo presidency is misplaced, we must begin to look inwards to ask pertinent questions like why the status had been set against the Igbo in the first place? What informed it? Why are other tribes apprehensive of this idea and what can be done to douse this apprehension to pave way for a calm and collected agreement for a paradigm shift to exploit other possibilities available to us as Nigerians?
We watched with trepidation when Major General Muhammadu Buhari fought tooth and nail for Hausa Presidency, he got it in 2015 and created the 97% to 5% philosophy. But to the chagrin of both percenters, the suffering and maladministration is with equal measure. Therefore, I am not an advocate of Igbo presidency but a supporter of “Nigerian president of Igbo extraction”.
My position is that notwithstanding the economic disadvantage of the Igbo race in Nigeria occasioned by obnoxious policies aimed at strangulation, they have proved to be innovators and good administrators, creating survival out of nothing. The Hausa have proved to be knowledgeable in politics while the Yourba are rooted in academic. A situation where management harnesses politics that is exported by intellectualism, we will have a progressive nation unlike the present setting where only the north are happily running everybody aground.
I am a supporter of “Nigerian president of Igbo extraction” because a lot of the solution to Nigeria’s problems lies within it. We don’t need an Igbo president that may end up further dividing Nigeria like the current administration.
We must set the priorities right by identifying the sickness of Nigeria and applying every possible option, including but not limited to producing “Nigerian president of Igbo extraction”. That way, we would’ve solved the problem of agitation and call for balkanisation among other simple challenges we are faced as a nation.
The problem of Nigeria is never the masses, it is never the question of Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba. Our problem is the reality of elitist group of people that have continued to divide the masses along these fault lines to continue to hold them in perpetuity because only by so doing will they be able to continue exploiting them for their pleasure and betterment of their generations.
Nigerian president of Igbo extraction is the priority now. The south east must be allowed to lead to keep the unity of Nigeria.
–Comrade Amos Kalu writes from Abuja, Nigeria