By Douglas Anele
Again, knowing full well that northern power brokers still see Ndigbo as a conquered people, a president of Igbo extraction (PIE) would be afraid to take bold measures required to address lingering negative repercussions of the civil war on Igboland, notably the offensive exclusion of Ndigbo from the inner sanctum of power at the centre and near-total absence of federal presence in the south-east with respect to heavy industries and solid infrastructure necessary for sustainable economic development.
Thus if such a president emerges in 2023 and tries really hard to redress these injustices, either the northern dominated National Assembly would frustrate his efforts or, believe it or not, he would be eliminated one way or another. Remember that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, despite being a retired general and one of the favourite allies of the Fulani from the south, faced stiff opposition from a handful of Fulani caliphate colonialists when he was president from 1999 to 2007.
For instance, aside from the booby-trap of sharia introduced by former Zamfara State governor, Ahmed Yerima, Mustapha Jokolo, deposed emir of Gwandu at a meeting of emirs on 28 March 2005 in Kaduna under the auspices of the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic affairs, complained bitterly that “We [Muslims] have been pushed to the wall and it is time to fight…Obasanjo is trampling on our rights and Muslims must rise to defend their rights. The more we continue to wait, the more we will continue to be marginalised.”
In 2014 Former President Goodluck Jonathan lamented the existence of Boko Haram elements in his government, but he could not do anything about it since those heading the federal agencies he should have directed to deal with the issue were Muslim northerners sympathetic to the core objectives of Boko Haram terrorists and probably would have ignored his directives anyway.
And in spite of his deliberate attempt to placate the north with key appointments and projects, prominent northern politicians in his party betrayed him in 2015 so that Muhammadu Buhari, one of their own, would become president.
Some naïve and historically blind Igbo with highfalutin academic and professional titles who support the Igbo presidency project presume that northern power-mongers would fold their hands and allow a president of Igbo extraction address decades of oppression and marginalisation Ndigbo have been suffering since 1970.
Such servile thinking is also behind the recommendation that the Igbo should beg or negotiate with Nigerians from other ethnic groups so that the next presidential slot would be zoned to Igboland.
Now, the idea of begging (oftentimes euphemistically concealed with the term negotiation) is very repugnant and humiliating, a terrible insult if not outright abomination to a proud, fearless and industrious people like Ndigbo!
Did the Yoruba and Ijaw people beg before one of their own became president in 1999 and 2010 respectively? Any Igbo that endorses such a ridiculous idea is probably genetically configured to be a slave.
Besides, the current bizarre federal system obviously designed to favour northern domination will hinder any president of Igbo extraction from taking necessary radical actions that would make the system more inclusive and equitable.
Objectively considered, and taking cognisance of Nigeria’s chequered history, the best way to solve the seemingly intractable National Question is for the country to become a confederation, failing which peaceful dismemberment into four or five independent nations should be seriously considered.
This means that, by far the most important achievement of a PIE is to oversee the successful realisation of any of the two alternatives identified above. However powerful vested internal and external interests will not allow that to happen, thereby increasing the probability of another civil war in future. I
t must be pointed out that 2023 is definitely not an opportune or ideal time for an Igbo to be in Aso Rock, due to the abysmal performance of the current government which would likely persist till that time. Let us be clear on this point: the motley crowd of sycophants in the opaque presidency can deploy all their propaganda arsenal to burnish the image of their principal, President Muhammadu Buhari.
Still no amount of manipulation of pictures, half-truths, outright falsehoods and alternative facts can change the reality that Nigeria became the poverty Mecca of the world during his tenure, to the extent that a sizeable percentage of those who voted for him in 2015 are now regretting their mistake.
Therefore if an Igbo becomes president in 2023, he would face the herculean task of repairing the egregious damage to all aspects of our national life by the Buhari government. Indeed, the seriousness and gravity of the problems he would inherit could overwhelm most people except if by good fortune Buhari’s potential successor is a person of extraordinary resilience and practical wisdom, imbued with what the German philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel called cool passion.
As I suggested earlier, previous northern military dictators structured Nigeria in a manner that unduly favours the north in terms of political control at the federal level.
Thus since some of the geopolitical and economic surgeries needed to correct entrenched anomalies in the system would be disadvantageous particularly to the parasitic northern military-civilian establishment and their southern lackeys benefitting handsomely from the current skewed arrangement, they will fight tooth and nail to frustrate any genuine effort by the PIE to change the system in any meaningful way for the good of disadvantaged Nigerians.
Put differently, the northern ruling cabal will prefer a lame-duck president of Igbo extraction who would engage in motion without real movement that leaves the crippling status quo untouched.
Having prevented him from implementing necessary reforms, they will blame him for not performing and impugn the propriety of allowing an Igbo to be president in the first instance. Accordingly, no self-respecting thoughtful Igbo should be deceived by the cynical political gerrymandering of some northerners pretending to endorse power-shift to Ndigbo.
The leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo and the so-called Igbo elite campaigning for Igbo president should read late Prof. Omo Omoruyi’s eponymous book, The Tale of June 12, where he gave details of retired Gen. Ibrahim Babangida’s confession about how certain members of the northern military-civilian cabal, including emirs, conspired to scuttle the hard-earned victory of Chief M.K.O Abiola in 1993 notwithstanding that he was a devout Muslim and highly connected to prominent northerners. Now, if iron could rust, what would happen to wood?
For those who believe that President Buhari will support an Igbo successor a bombshell tweet credited to him which has gone viral should disabuse their minds from such wishful thinking.
In the tweet, Buhari reportedly said “Democracy the world over and as I am pursuing in Nigeria recognises the power of the people. However, if some constituencies choose to bargain off their power, they should be prepared for denial of their rights.”
Clearly n Buhari’s nepotic and despotic mind, agitation for referendum by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) is equivalent to the Igbo bargaining off their power which would necessitate denying them the right to produce the next president in 2023.
Buhari’s tweet is a cryptic coded message to Igbo politicians fooling around jostling for the position by ingratiating themselves before northern power brokers that they are living in cloud cuckoo land.
They should stop debasing themselves to please Buhari, Babangida and the rest because the north is not yet ready for a president of Igbo extraction. It is tragically pathetic that governors of south-eastern states and some prominent politicians of Igbo extraction are foolishly sabotaging the collective interests of their own people based on the phantom promise of becoming president from Fulani caliphate colonialists who are actually deceiving them using the Koranic strategy or principle of taqiyya.
The notion that a president of Igbo extraction would erase the bitter experiences of Ndigbo since 1966 is too simplistic and overly optimistic. It ignores the deep-seated psychological wounds and resentment by a vast majority of Ndigbo concerning how Nigeria has crippled their freedom to be what they can be. Surely the wisdom of those clamouring for Igbo president instead of either confederation or peaceful dismemberment will eventually turn to foolishness.