By Sunny Ikhioya

OBSERVING activities in the National Assembly these past few weeks, one is left with the simple conclusion that the South will find it difficult to get the presidency, come 2023, unless they change their ways of playing politics. Why will a representative from either the South West of South East kick against the electronic transmission of election results?

When it comes to taking decisions, our representatives will vote in the interest of the party, even in matters that are unfavourable to their constituents, whereas their counterparts from the North do not see it that way.

After deciding in their various caucuses that host communities should get five percent in the PIB (Petroleum Industry Bill), Northerners still find ways to communicate amongst themselves to bring it down to three percent and our distinguished members of the National Assembly nodded along with them like the Agama lizard.

When it concerns matters of common interests, the North will unite, but in the South,   we never think like that. We are suffused with idealists, the literati and republicans whose moral and enlightened disposition will not allow them to be bandwagon followers.

That is why, for instance, people say, the university system is the most difficult to govern. Too many ‘book people’; and so, you see, for any idea proposed,   there are several oppositions and equally plausible ideas standing against it. In the South, directives do not naturally flow from the top to bottom, you will have to carry the people along, do advocacy and persuade them on why your ideas must be implemented.

Theirs is not mainly based on religious and ethnic sentiments, rather more on personal convictions. That is why majority of human rights campaigners are from the South: Gani Fawehinmi, Mrs Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and her children, Beko and Fela; Ovie Kokori, Clement Nwankwo, Tony Ubani, Femi Falana and many too numerous to mention here.

Our own Gani was the only one who constituted a stumbling block to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a Yoruba brother. Such things are rare in other parts of the country. That is why, no matter how you look at it, the Lagos press, together with the human rights campaigners, have been the conscience of the nation.

You cannot take that credit away from them no matter how hard you try to change history. Politicians from the South must, therefore,   begin to rejig their strategies if they are to dislodge the hegemony that the core North has instituted in the country.   Unless the South unite and speak with one voice, they will not be able to achieve their goal; they must be ready to subsume their individual interests and ambitions in favour of the collective.

They must also be ready to present credible and non-controversial candidates, irrespective of political party; that is the only way to go. Also, they must be able to do away with the black sheep   – traitors and betrayers- among them.

Some of us believe that the only way we can become relevant in the system is to be subservient and tied to the apron string of their Northern counterparts. Such people have encouraged the manipulations of the political structures of the country, just like the population census, local government allocations and revenue sharing.

It is very obvious that if technology and empirically verifiable methods are applied to validate presently entrenched structures, they will fail the test. Our natural boundaries, population figures, ethnic compositions and history are being deliberately distorted to achieve certain programmed agenda, and for the sake of future generations and preservation of the legacies of our founding fathers, such distortions must be corrected forthwith.

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Enough of cajoling, intimidation and clear stupidity. Our elites and representatives must be ready to face the challenge squarely for generations yet unborn. The South must unite to correct the imbalance inherent in our present unity before things degenerate further.

There was a general election in Nigeria on December 12, 1959. The major parties then were the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons, NCNC; Action Group, AG; Northern Peoples Congress, NPC; Northern Elements Progressive Union, NEPU; and Independents.

According to the results, the NPC-led coalition had 148 seats, the NCNC-led coalition had 89 seats, while the AG-led coalition had 75seats. It must be noted that, in terms of voters participation, the AG had more numbers than NPC, not to include the very huge NCNC figures. The NCNC and the AG were both from the South and with their combined 164 seats, against the NPC 134, they would have been able to form a coalition government. Instead,   the NCNC went into an arrangement with the NPC to the disbelief of members of the AG.

This singular action – before now, there was the cross carpeting incidence at the Western House of Assembly   – sowed a serious seed of disunity between the East and the West, which has existed to this day. Our Northern brothers have been the full beneficiaries of the spoils and they have used this division between West and East to worm their way to the apex of rulership in our land. They always bank on the fact that the West and East will never come to agreement on issues of politics and have done everything possible to encourage this division.

Those irredentists from the North making so much noise about the strength of Northerners and their voodoo population do not understand the dynamics of how things got to this stage. If they do, they will be more discreet in the manner they make comments on issues concerning the nation. The North had always won through subtlety and manipulations, not with boasting and arrogance.

The ones we have now have not learnt from their forefathers, and arrogance will ultimately become their bane. We have witnessed it in the past and history will be here to record the fall of arrogance against humility and superior reasoning. If the South East, South West and South-South decide to unite in their choice of where the President should come from, there is no way the North can stop them.

The North can only succeed if there is division and sell out, as we have witnessed in the manner the National Assembly members of the South sold out their people for personal gains in the PIB and the electronic transmission of election results bill.

Thank God, the media have been able to show the pattern of how they all voted and posterity will be the judge over how they have conducted their affairs on behalf of their people. Getting the South to unite will not require rocket science, it demands for handshake across, within and around; there must be rapprochement where and when necessary.

We must be open and truthful to ourselves, be ready to forgive old sins and move forward. People must be sensitised about the need for one goal. The one North mantra is now a myth. With the way hegemonic tendencies have behaved, Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Kogi and Kwara states as well as pockets of the North are ready for the picking.

The North must be galvanised towards change: general enlightenment and girl child education; that is what the South needs to do: unite first under a common goal and go about wooing our Northern brothers to join the train.

Ikhioya wrote via: www.southsouthecho.com

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