By Adekunle Adekoya

IT is the political season, and parties are rounding off activities about nominating their members for political office. The two top parties — the opposition PDP and the ruling APC have concluded their presidential nomination conventions, culminating in the emergence of former vice-president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, for the PDP, and former Lagos State governor,Asiwaju Bola Tinubu for the APC.

In the run-up to the conventions of the two top parties, there had been a cacophony, indeed an uproarious clamour, that power should shift to the South after President Muhammadu Buhari, a Northerner, would have spent two terms in office. As an extension of that clamour, it was also stoutly pushed that the South-East should be the beneficiary of the power shift to the South.

I personally do not like the idea of rotation because, to me, it immediately precludes the best that can offer themselves for the job. But for a country at our level of political development and unique federalism, it may be a nice way of fostering unity and inclusion in the business of allocating scarce resources for development.

But did the outcomes justify expectations? You decide that.

First, the PDP threw open the contest for its presidential ticket, a development that spawned a series of chain reactions that included the exit of a top contender, Mr Peter Obi. After the PDP convention, a former minister in the last PDP federal administration, Mr Osita Chidoka, lamented the outcome.

His words: “No other group did more damage to the idea of zoning than the 80 out of 95 Igbo delegates to the last Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, convention who cast their votes against Igbo aspirants. The 80 delegates and their sponsors, in a tragic display of lack of group consciousness and primacy of personal interest, sent the country a clear and loud message: zoning is not an issue dear to Ndigbo. Igbo PDP delegates told Nigerians that a President from the South-East is not a priority and not an issue of justice and fairness. The country heard them.”

In the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu won the presidential ticket with 1,271 votes, in a contest that featured the likes of  Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Emeka Nwajiuba (he did not attend), Rochas Okorocha, Dave Umahi and Ikeobasi Mokelu from the South-East.

It is instructive to note that Umahi scored 38 votes; Nwajiuba, one vote; Ogbonnaya Onu, one vote; while Okorocha and Mokelu had zero votes. It is crystal clear that party delegates from the South-East voted for candidates outside their ethnic stock. While this may be a sign of political sophistication and detribalisation, in the context of the deafening clamour ahead of the parties’ primaries, one is compelled to ask: What happened to the agitation for Igbo presidency?

We desire to be a good country but we are not ready to do the needful. We are not ready to sacrifice. We remain undisciplined, and indeed revel in indiscipline. To regional groups and elder statesmen that pushed strongly for a president from the South-East, too bad. To Mr. Chidoka and others of the South-East who are mainly Christians, I commend Matthew 10:36. As it was in the beginning, so it is now, and shall continue to be; a man’s enemies shall be those of his household, especially if dollars continued to rain in thousands into delegates’ pockets.

If we remain like this, we will continue to have ourselves to blame because politics drives economy. TGIF. See you around.


Re: Okada ban by Lagos govt and matters arising

Dear Sir,

The Okada menace has been going on unabated in Lagos State until the recent ban. Many Lagos governments have tried to ban it but along the line it was relaxed for political reasons. Many Okada riders are violent and lawless. They don’t obey traffic rules, drive recklessly on the roads and refused to put on crash helmets.

They take laws into their hands on any unfortunate incidents. Unconfirmed reports stated that majority of them are cultists and drug addicts.There are graduates among Okada riders who prefer such work than remaining idle or engaging in criminal activities. Few among them are lawful citizens that obey the traffic laws.

Banning Okada is like leaving the leprosy untreated and attending to the ringworms. Many of the Okada riders relied on Okada to cater for the needs of their families and children. Many people are going through mental health problems as a result of inflation. This made people to be frustrated and bounce back on anyone that crosses their path.

The Lagos Government should borrow a leaf from the Rwandan government laws for their motorbike-taxis. Their Okada riders are registered and licensed to operate. They are organised through well-known groups. They respect traffic laws, speed limits and don’t run red lights or drive against the traffic.

An agency under the Lagos State transport ministry can be tasked with the responsibility of the registration and issuance of license to Okada riders. Doing so will help to curb their menace, reduce criminality, and also improve the revenue of the state. I implore the Lagos State government to regulate Okada activities, not ban them.

Hassan Imran, Jos North.


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