By Ochereome Nnanna
I don’t want an Igbo as president of today’s Nigeria which has long been hijacked. In the previous two installments, I narrated the late Dr. Alex Ekwueme’s thwarted efforts. A man of his qualification, proven competence, and integrity was rejected and Nigerians felt all right with that.
The ambition of another Igbo from the South-South, Dr Peter Odili, was nihilated by Olusegun Obasanjo, as president, in cahoots with his Northern janissaries: Nasir El-Rufai, Nuhu Ribadu, and Aliko Dangote. They preferred an Ijaw man, Governor Goodluck Jonathan, as VP when Obasanjo decided to rotate power back to the North in 2007.
When President Umaru Yar’Adua died and his VP, Jonathan, emerged president, the Igbo saw him as their “cousin” and fully supported his government. In 2011, the Igbo denied themselves their right to run for president and gave their mandate to Jonathan which enabled him to defeat a Northern challenger, Muhammadu Buhari.
What followed since then has conclusively proved that the psychological reflex of the Nigerian ruling establishment cannot accommodate a president of Igbo extraction or even a non-Igbo who shares the ethnocultural nuances of the Igbo people. Indeed, water and oil do not mix. “Can two walk together except they agree?” (Amos 3:3).
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This establishment permits a person of Yoruba extraction in the presidential seat only if he will allow himself to be used. Obasanjo was used in 1979 to create a system that makes Caliphate domination immutable. Ernest Shonekan was used to bury the presidential mandate of his kinsman, MKO Abiola. Shonekan was allowed only 82 days in office as the Head of the Interim National Government between August 28 and November 17, 1993. He was kicked out by his Secretary of Defence, General Sani Abacha. It was a carefully-constructed scheme by Northern generals to keep power in their region.
As further proof that this system is hostile to anyone who is not a product of the Caliphate, former President Jonathan saw “hell” in Aso Villa. When he defeated the North’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, ticket on January 14, 2011, there were open threats that the country would be made ungovernable for him. His enemies and their “friends” made good this threat.
Remember how the “Occupy Nigeria” protests were sponsored to thwart Jonathan’s effort to implement the petroleum sector full deregulation on January 1, 2012, which they are now implementing? Had that plan be allowed to go through, Nigeria would have saved the N10.4 trillion which the Buhari regime now claims was wasted on petrol subsidy. We would not be mortgaging our sovereignty to China. The Kaduna Refinery would not have incurred N64bn debt in 2018 alone with zero revenue.
It was from 2012 that the Boko Haram Islamist terror group, which was founded in Borno State in 2009 after their leader, Mohammed Yusuf, was extra-judicially murdered, started attacking churches and government establishments in Suleja and Abuja. They later also started attacking mosques and Muslims. Today, the North has become a hotbed of violence, terror, and criminality.
The fire they set for Jonathan has now burned out of control and consuming the North. Governors are begging terrorists to come and collect amnesty and money in exchange for peace!
Jonathan openly cried out that there was Boko Haram in his government. The amount of hatred and threat of blood (“dog and baboon”) mobilised against Jonathan forced him to run away from Aso Villa after the 2015 general elections. Everybody, including his own party leaders, was in the plot to get rid of him. They were simply implacable. He fled for dear life. Had he resisted he would inevitably be dead by now.
They saw a weak man through Jonathan’s words and personal carriage: “I am not a lion, king, general, Goliath or a Pharaoh”, September 25, 2011: “My ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian”. On the other side, Buhari was threatening that if the 2015 election was “rigged again”, the “dog and baboon would be soaked in blood”. Some also say that they saw an “Igbo man” in the Ijaw man simply because the Igbo were his political mainstay and very visible in his government.
If an Ijaw (whom Northern politicians often claim are their “traditional political allies”) could be scorched in this manner, an Igbo as president would live in Aso Villa like a condemned criminal who doesn’t know his execution day.
Jonathan gave away everything to the North – almajiri schools, new universities, all the security and defense portfolios, INEC Chairman, and what have you. Yet, what name wasn’t he called? “Clueless”, “Otuoke dullard”, “drunkard”, and his wife a “Sheppopotamus”. They falsely accused him of sponsoring Boko Haram and the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls, declaring war on the North, depopulating the North and training snipers.
In the light of the foregoing, an “Igbo president”, in my view, cannot solve the current problems of the North; so how can he solve Nigeria’s problems? Secondly, an “Igbo president” will further expose the ordinary Igbo person all over Nigeria to threats, blackmail, and violence, including mob killings. The first pogrom against Igbo people happened under an Igbo military Head of State, General J.T.U. Aguiyi Ironsi. He went begging; dem kill is joined. They pushed Igbo into war; everybody joined to fight Igbo. It is still the same Nigeria of 54 years ago; nothing has changed.
An “Igbo president” will be in office (a misfit in Aso Villa), not in power. I don’t want that sort of Igbo president. The system is rotten and irreparable. I want a president who will grind this system to powder and rebuild it from the foundation. If it will take another Northerner to achieve this, then let’s have another Northern president in 2023. But that is a pipe dream.
In the concluding chapter next week, I will discuss what “freedom” means.