By our own calculation, and as things currently stand, the Igbo or the people of South East geopolitical zone, are obviously out of the 2019 Presidency. That of 2023 is seriously in doubt. Forget about the daydreamers who are thinking that so so and so person will give them Presidency in 2023, as if the Nigerian Presidency is anybody’s personal property, and even when the man they have in mind is already in alliance with the people of the South West.
How can a person who does not deem it necessary to admit a single Igbo man into his security council turn round, in 2023, to give the Igbo President? This does not make sense. We do not even think that the people making such an assertion are anywhere near the gate of power, much more, close to the corridors of power. For us, therefore, they are mere jobbers, errand boys and rabble-rousers.
What we have been hearing from the mainstream Igbo, or the Igbo elite, what is at stake, or what is on their card, is not the Igbo Presidency in 2019, or even in 2023. It is that they want Nigeria to be restructured so that each zone could grow or develop at its own pace.
Before the military came in 1966 to disrupt the political process, the centre was not very much attractive, because it was weak, while the component units were very strong. Each of the then existing four regions was semi-autonomous, and there was healthy competition among them in development activities.
Now, the military has turned everything upside down. The President of Nigeria is a demigod. He has the power of life and death. He parcels out or dishes out government resources as he wants. He must be worshipped, and he must be adored. Those not in his good books can go and perish.
The Igbo therefore, dread present state of affairs in the country. They want each ethnic nationality or each zone, to be given relative freedom in the context of the Nigerian federation to enable them to begin to grow at its own pace. Nigeria is made up of people of different cultural backgrounds, people whose world outlook and orientation differ significantly. The Igbo want every zone, every cultural unit, to be given free hand or opportunity to develop and chart its own course of development.
The 2014 National Conference would have addressed this problem. But it came very late. It came when the administration was already on its way out. As for the present administration, they refused to touch the content of the report even with a six-foot spoon.
Now that the Igbo are headed for restructuring, who among these people currently jostling for the Number One position in 2019 will meet their aspiration? Who among them will give them a voice to enable them to realise their restructuring agenda? In other words, where are the Igbo headed in 2019? In short, which way for the Igbo in 2019?
For the Igbo to have a voice, they should be at the centre of the decision-making process, not at the periphery, as they presently are. The Igbo should be firmly rooted in the administration of the country, both in the executive and the legislative arms of government.
In the present dispensation, the North West has produced the President; the South West, the Vice President; the North Central, the Senate President; the North East, the Speaker of the House of Representatives as well as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation; and the South-South, the Chairman of the ruling party, and they left the South East with nothing.
We are happy that one of the most vocal defenders of the present administration has now come out to admit that the South East has not been fairly treated by the regime, in terms of appointments into key positions in government.
But must we allow it to remain that way? Why can’t we rise to the challenge against this unjust state of affair? Before going into 2019, we must find what each of the present contestants for the Presidency has in stock for the Igbo or the South East.
Politics is about give and take, since the Igbo are not vying for the Presidency in 2019, which of the Presidential contestants is offering the Igbo or the South East the Vice Presidential slot, in particular? That’s how to be at the centre of the decision-making process. We cannot wait until it becomes too late, and then we begin to complain.