Peace, love, unity and stability do not usually come to a nation by chance. Leaders and stakeholders who truly love the nation will have to go the extra mile and take actions that will entrench these virtues. Compromises and sacrifices must be made. Political actors may have to bury their political ambitions at the altar of national unity. The handshake across the Niger must become inevitable.
In Nigeria, the top job is the Office of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and the choice of the individual who occupies this office is critical to the peace and stability of Nigeria. Considering Nigeria’s multi-ethnic and multicultural complexity, some salient perspectives must be taken into consideration. Chief among them is whether it is possible to cede the presidency to a particular part of the country in order to pursue peace and unity, and still find very competent and qualified hands for the job. The answer is an emphatic and categorical yes. This implies that we can use one shot to engender unity and competence.
Stakeholders who truly love this nation and have deep insight of development in Nigeria will most likely recommend this shot. Actually, we can find competent hands to man the Office of President and Commander-in-Chief in everypart of the country. All the 36 states in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) can boast of several competent leaders who can engender growth and development in Nigeria.
However, ceding the presidency to the South-east geopolitical zone will significantly address the perennial question of unity and peace from an Igbo perspective. An action anyone who loves Nigeria should take is to appeal to stakeholders from all other parts of the country to allow the South-east produce the next president in 2023. Once President Muhammadu Buhari completes his second term in 2023, it is fair and just for power to return to the South. Considering the fact that we have had eight years of Olusegun Obasanjo and five years of Goodluck Jonathan in this current democratic dispensation, neither the South-west nor South-south can claim that 2023 is her turn. Worthy of note is the fact that power is taken and not given. People from every part of the country have the right to seek election to the Office of the President in 2023 and this is a constitutional right.
However, political party elders and other stakeholders may cede their 2023 presidential ticket to the South-east and then rein in against any person who goes contrary. This is the time for leaders from other parts of the country to promote justice. The two major political parties in Nigeria should cede their 2023 presidential tickets to the South-east. Fortunately, they are many presidential materials from the South-east in both the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) and main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). On their part, the South-east caucuses of both parties must identify Igbos who are marketable to stakeholders from other parts of the country.
Nationwide acceptability of the proposed individuals must be taken into consideration. If elected, the new president of Igbo extraction must bring the entrepreneurial and developmental spirit of the Igbo to bear on the Nigerian state. The Igbo have made huge sacrifices for Nigeria and are unarguably the most cosmopolitan ethnic group in Nigeria. There is literarily no part of this country where you don’t find Igbo. Their ability to open their minds and accept every part of Nigeria as home is an indication of the fact that they have a large heart. Despite the ill feelings that some people have against them, they have continued to abhor violence and they usually live in peace with their host communities. Nigeria cannot be described as a modern state if all her ethnic groups live within their own individual enclaves, hence, the Igbo have done a lot in making Nigeria a modern state.
Other ethnic groups in Nigeria have also made significant impact in this regard. Also, the Igbo are known to place nationality ahead of ethnicity. They are not narrow-minded. Nigeria cannot be described as a modern state if her constituent ethnic groups place their primitive interests ahead of the interest of Nigeria. Hence, the Igbo have the potential to promote true nationalism in Nigeria. The Igbo have done a lot to deserve the 2023 presidency and they have the potential to lead Nigeria to shared prosperity.
In conclusion, the Igbo must reach out to stakeholders from other parts of the country to support their bid for the 2023 presidency and other parts of the country are encouraged to show love and concession to the Igbo in the interest of peace, unity and stability of Nigeria. The South-east caucus of the APC and PDP must present nationally acceptable candidates for the top job and the national leadership of the two major political parties should cede their presidential tickets to the South-east. There has never been a better time and they will never be a better time to address the Igbo question than 2023.
Eke writes from Abuja. 08035066196