The Southern Examiner, an online newspaper is making a strong case for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to consider Eastern Nigeria as a fertile soil for the recruitment of their 2023 presidential candidates.
In its editorial, the newspaper says the agitation is raging that it is the turn of the South-East zone, to produce Nigeria’s next President in 2023. If the saying, “vox populi, vox dei”, actually means the voice of the people is the voice of God, then it is right and just for the South-East to produce President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor.
According to the editorial, ‘’everyone in Nigeria understands the political constraints of the South-East in the country. Such constraints hover around sentiments that the people of the South East were involved in a war with the nation at a time in history.
‘’That was more than 50 years ago. What caused the war? The people of the east, in general, and the southeast in particular, were being massacred in the North at the wake of hostilities in 1966. Of course, when all efforts to bring the raging pogrom under check failed, the option was secession.
‘’This constraint, on the other hand, is a major reason for the people of Nigeria to consider men and women from the South-East for the vacancy soon to emerge in Aso Rock. Yes, it has been done before. Just fresh from a debilitating military rule, in 1999, Olusegun Obasanjo was sworn in as Nigeria’s president after he had won the election as PDP candidate. By some arrangements, he and Olu Falae were the candidates of the supposedly major political parties in the country, Falae for the All Peoples Party (APP). They were all of the South-West.
‘’We cannot close our eyes to the sentiments of that period when the June 12 protests nearly plunged the country into another chaos. The late Chief Moshood Abiola had emerged the undeclared winner of the 1993 elections conducted by Prof Humphrey Nwosu from the southeast, the only credible election so far conducted in Nigeria.
‘’Despite all the protests and pressure, Abiola was never given a chance to exercise his mandate until he died in custody while trying to claim his mandate denied him by former military President Ibrahim Babangida and his fellow northerner, the Late General Sani Abacha. It was all too obvious that the Obasanjo presidency was to compensate the people of the South-West for that injustice.
‘’Only a Pharaoh would refuse to see reasons that the people of the South-East deserve a similar treatment for the coldblooded killing of an estimated 30,000 of their folks in the north. Even when beaten, they were denied the right to cry and got a greater beating in a war where an estimated 3 million were sent to their untimely grave and survivors striped of their cash and belongings.
‘’We might not bother to present the overbeaten argument that four zones out of the six making up the country had had presence in the topmost position in the country, leaving southeast and northeast, nor should we remind the nation that the north in particular have remained in power for the greatest period in Nigeria’s history. Also, the case had been made that Nigeria, by some divine provisions, stand a tripod of Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo. This is not really to deny other ethnic groups in the country but to grade them with their populations on record.
‘’The zoning arrangement in Nigeria’s political space, although not a constitutional matter, is not a new phenomenon and probably was adopted to ensure tranquillity in the polity. It might not be an iron cast agreement but just a gentleman’s way of assuaging bitterness arising from the polity.
‘’Although seen as undemocratic and a reflection of a deeply embedded ethnicity in the people of Nigeria, it counterbalances the control of the majority at the detriment of the minority, a situation which causes nothing but rift among the people.
‘’A president of the South-East extraction has the potentials of killing the vexed demand for Biafra as it would give the people an overwhelming sense of belonging. Let no one advance the idea that the South-East is not friendly to APC, or that they did not vote in favour of the party because when Obasanjo emerged the PDP candidate, the presence of the party in Southwest was quite insignificant.
‘’And so we demand that, to ensure the emergence of a President of the Southeast extraction, all political parties, at least the major parties of PDP and the All Progressives Congress (APC) should field candidates from that geopolitical zone. The swearing-in of a president from that zone would, forever, heal the wounds of the past and present and set the country on the path to lasting peace and progress.’’