Speaking for myself as Igbo man and Nigerian, may I say that even if an Igbo man, even from my place of birth, becomes the president of Nigeria tomorrow, that wouldn’t mean a thing to me.
That won’t call for celebration as far it is the president of Nigeria in this present setting.
What value does the presidency add to the part of Nigeria that produces it? Leadership of a nation is assessed on how far it exerts influence in reducing poverty among the commoners and the availability of the basic needs of life among the citizens.
With the history of Nigeria we know, there is no proof that people appointed to public offices have impacted up to 10%, the positive aspects of the livelihood of Nigerians. Beyond their immediate families, how many people in the larger society benefit from the appointment of the elite of their states, LGA or otherwise?
Today, President Muhammadu Buhari is in power and pursues his agenda of hatred for the Igbo and the South South, therefore his appointments go to his kinsmen and people from other parts of Nigeria that he said voted him.
Among those parts of Nigeria that have got appointments in ample succession, even in the governments before this present, how many people outside the immediate families of the appointees benefitted from governance? They are very few that extended the positive impacts to the larger society. That is the reason poverty is not less in parts of Nigeria that dominate the power manipulation of Nigeria.
Nigeria is an absurd set up. It is wired and configured to fail with the abnormal structure where the oppressor deludes self that he is the victor. Nobody is a victor in the Nigerian setting. The region of Nigeria with highest poverty indices among the masses are the North East, North West and North Central.
Nigeria since 1960 has had 14 governments at the centre. Ten of them are from the north and four from the south. Between July 1966 and May 1999, but for three years (February 1976 – September 30, 1979) when President Olusegun Obasanjo, then Head of State, was in power, the north ruled Nigeria independent of other Nigerians. So why does the World Bank poverty rating still lopsided to the north? And funny enough, the poverty rating among the masses is least in South East of Nigeria. What then is the value of power to the commoners?
Having viewed all these, I came to one conclusion that even if the clan of power brokers sits and decide that to make Igbo stay quiet it should take the presidential slot, I would never be excited by that.
I was here as an adult working in Lagos when Obasanjo came to power and left. I can’t remember what advantage his being in power conferred on my fellow commoners and colleagues from his part of the country. Nobody today ever told me that electricity supply is not problematic in Katsina State, or the masses have better access to empowerment or cost of living is lower among the Fulani, Mr. President’s ethnic group. We face the same hurdles and obstacles of being Nigerians. Reason is because Nigeria is structured to victimize the poor, use the poor to work out the benefit of the powerful only.
Unfortunately, the poor doesn’t know that she is the tool in the hands of the powerful to keep Nigeria the way it is. That is also the reason the vagaries of Nigeria’s mismanagement doesn’t respect ethnic boundaries and identities.
So anybody that wants to excite me should just change the structure of Nigeria to favour the emancipation and benefit of the poor.
Those of you Igbo thinking that Nigeria as it is today should give you the presidential slot and all will be well get it wrong. To those other Nigerians that think the same way, like President Obasanjo said on May 30 at the 50 years anniversary of Biafra, that is grave error.
The major reason many leaders of Nigeria in the past failed is because the structure does not support success in power. For everybody in power at the centre, even at the ministerial and even departmental levels, there are myriad of factors deliberately set against you and around you by those of other extractions to ensure that you fail.
If by any chance or accident an Igbo tomorrow or any day becomes the president of Nigeria, the forces that made her would set a multitude of distractions around her to make sure such fails and the story would be that the Igbo can’t even do it better as they boasted. The plot would be so tense that such would find it almost impossible to score any single success. That is one of the reasons President Goodluck Jonathan had many pitfalls because those that believe they are more Nigerians than the Ijaw because of where they come from set all manner of thorns and high walls around him to ensure he gets nowhere. They never spared nothing, including incitement, violence, Boko Haram inclusive and many more.
So what Igbo and indeed all Nigerians should struggle for is the ultimate game changer – restructured Nigeria, the only workable Nigeria.
As the dust over quit notices and others settle, we are getting some good results, or so we hope, that all will today see the tension boiling over and the only way to douse it is to change the Nigerian structure. Right now the flood gets into our noses, we must collectively seek a way out.
Recent history is good example that giving an agitating zone the presidency does not solve anything. The South West for instance raised the tempo after the June 12 annulment and six years after got the presidency.
The opposition AD, ACN and APC sustained a campaign for restructured Nigeria from the south west.
In 2015, APC got power and the agitators for restructured Nigeria died the idea and thought all would be well because their agitation was for the self. Today, the die is cast. We are wearied by the unworkable system, therefore the need for renewed restructuring call.
That is the only option I can take, not just for the Igbo, but for the entire better Nigeria of tomorrow.