…Cautions northern leaders against winner-take-all syndrome
By Dirisu Yakubu
Former Aviation Minister, Osita Chidoka, Tuesday, called on five geo-political zones in the country to yield the 2023 Presidency to the South East, come 2023, to avoid a serious political crisis in the country.
The former Corps Marshal of Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, said South-East Presidency would guarantee the unity, cohesion and political stability of the country even as he warned of the dire consequences in settling for another zone.
Chidoka, who spoke while reviewing a book by First Republic minister, Mbazulike Amechi “A Political History of Modern Nigeria: Words and Thoughts of Mbazulike Amechi,” insisted that the two major parties, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and All Progressives Congress, APC, should respect the zoning tradition and zone the 2023 Presidency to the South-East.
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In a statement signed by his media adviser, Ikechukwu Okafor, Chidoka said: “I crave your indulgence to use the words of the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, used in an advertorial where they warned President (Goodluck) Jonathan not to contest the 2011 election, to sound a note of warning that, “If the country’s two major political parties do not continue in the tradition of the agreed rotation, they will undermine the peace and tranquillity of Nigeria. Failure to incorporate the South East in the 2023 calculations will be ill-conceived, ill-advised, and definitely divisive”.
The PDP stalwart further warned that using perceived strength to alienate Ndigbo in 2023, “would open old wounds of primitive politics where ethnic, sectional, religious and other primordial, undesirable sentiments will assume centre-stage with attendant unpleasant consequences”.
Chidoka noted that the South East has always been committed to the unity, harmonious co-existence, mutual understanding, economic development, social and political wellbeing of the country as a whole, saying it’s time narrow-minded individuals in other parts of the country dropped their unfounded distrust of Ndigbo, and fight to enthrone the politics of togetherness.
“Electoral results show that the South-East is ethnically blind when it comes to voting. This voting pattern is the ultimate proof of the cosmopolitan ethos of Ndigbo.
“In Presidential elections, South-East votes have been cast on a largely ideological basis in support of inclusion, rule of law, freedom, democracy and open markets. It is time for the country to take note of these salient points, drop their unfounded distrust of Ndigbo, and fight to enthrone the politics of live-and-let-live.
“It is also important to note that on January 12, 2020, it will be 50 years after the civil war. The generations born during and after the civil war are now in their 50s, free from the prejudices of our chequered past, hopeful of a new paradigm of equal opportunities and conscious of global trends. That new generation provides a new opportunity which if lost, will be at great cost to Nigeria,” he added.
He further urged northern political leaders “to recalibrate their position on the rest of Nigeria as this winner-take-all mentality may neither be sustainable nor enduring”.
The former Minister, however, advised the zone not to rest on its oars and wait for Igbo Presidency but to constructively engage with the rest of the country to actualize the dream.
“Let us not sit and wait for “restructuring” or “Igbo Presidency”. The political class of the South-East should be bold, creative and constructive in affirming our right to the highest office in Nigeria or in the continuous alteration of the constitution to reflect the region’s strategic interest,” he stressed.