Ahead of the 2015 presidential election, three interest groups in the country are clamouring to produce the next president. LAWRENCE ENYOGHASU writes. The race for the 2015 presidential poll is gathering momentum by the day. Already the South East, South South and the north are strategizing and making strong cases for the next president to come from their respective areas.
While the South East, which has not produced an elected president for the country since 1960 when the country gained independence from Britain believes that for the sake of equity and fair play somebody from the zone should be allowed to occupy the seat of president in 2015, the northerners want the presidency to return to it in 2015. On the other hand, the South South which is the zone of the incumbent president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan believes that the President and by extension the zone deserves another tenure of four years.
Former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu says the best thing that can happen to Nigeria in 2015 is for an Igbo man to become president. Speaking recently during a political programme on Radio Nigeria, the former governor said as long as the country continues to shut the South East out of the presidency, it will never know real progress.
As part of measures to realize the Igbo presidential project in 2015, Kalu has put together a political group, Njiko Igbo to mobilize South easterners for the 2015 elections. Acting National Publicity Secretary of Njiko Igbo, Mr Brady Chijioke Nwosu, says there is no stopping the South east in 2015. Nwosu says in as much as Ndigbo believes in the unity and corporate existence of Nigeria, they also believe there should be equity in the country. While urging other geo-political zones to support an Igbo man to become president in 2015, he argued that “since the inception of the present democratic dispensation, with the South-east contributing substantially to the emergence of presidents from other geopolitical zones, it is imperative for the other zones to reciprocate by supporting an Igbo man to be Nigeria’s president in 2015”. Similarly, the north is also plotting on how to regain the presidency.
Recently, former Sokoto State Governor, Attahiru Bafarawa reportedly met with former Head of State, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) behind closed door at the latter’s Kaduna residence, apparently to strategize on the 2015 presidential contest. Buhari, who was the presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change CPC in 2011 general election is known to be warming up to contest has the next presidential election. However, Bafarawa said his meeting with the former (CPC) presidential candidate has no political undertone.
He said the meeting was on how to unite the north., “I didn’t come as a member of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) to visit Gen. Buhari and I did not come to see him for political reasons; I came to him to discuss on how we can unite ourselves in the North because it is in disarray. Therefore, we need to unite since we are masters of all trades when you talk of political activities in the North.
That is why I have come to see my brother, Gen. Buhari, on how we can unite ourselves before we even talk of political parties. I came to see him as a senior brother and partner in progress in order to move the northern region forward. “Our strategy is that we will take our time, plan things and see how we can come out with something on the way forward.
And like I said, I have come to see him, so I will not tell you the further strategy we will take, but this visits a step forward towards moving the north forward. What we are looking out for now is unity; we are not talking about the CPC, the ANPP or any other political party. All we are after is to see that the North is united.”
The north is convinced that since the dump of zoning after the demise of former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua the region is left with no choice other than use its mass voting power in the next election. But Ijaw leader and first Republic Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark wants other zones wanting to occupy the presidency to be patient until Jonathan has had a second term. “Nigeria belongs to all of us.
There is no second-class citizen in this country and that is why I sometimes find it very difficult to believe that our northern brothers are still carrying on as if they are more Nigerian than other tribes. I think the best thing for anybody to do is to remain patient and honourable if after 40 years of being in the saddle in this country, power leaves you and goes to another section of the country.
Does it not look worrisome that someone will one day wake up and threaten fire simply because power has shifted away from his region? Even though I do not want to talk about 2015 now because the time is still far, the North should know that only Nigerians have the power to stop anyone from becoming president. If Jonathan wants to run today, the North cannot stop him because apart from the fact that he has the right to run, the North should equally know that they are not born to rule over others in the country for ever,” he stated. President Goodluck Jonathan interestingly has the power of incumbency on his side. The north has the seemingly unity and population as the biggest zone.
For the South east, their strength lies in the fact that unlike any of the other major ethnic groups in the country, none of their own has been president in spite of their contributions to the socio-economic development of the country. Therefore, fair play and equity demands that they produce the president. But it depends on how much they are able to unite and increase the political consciousness and participation of their people.