OPINION2023 PRESIDENCY: OPTIONS BEFORE THE SOUTH-EAST.



As politicians begin permutations for 2023 general elections that will usher in a new crop of Captains for this sinking ship called Nigeria, it is the duty of those of us in the Fourth Estate of the political realm to continue in our avowed responsibility to educate to continue to shape public opinion on the part of moral rectitude, justice, equity and good conscience. 

The lopsided nature of this federation which appears to be screwed against the Igbo's of the SouthEast has led to an entrenched system of nepotism, clannish favouritism, institutionalised ethnicity in the guise of federal character principles.

The SouthEast is the worst hit. The people of the region have been sidelined systematically from the topmost position they occupied during the First Republic, to the second position in the Second Republic, to the third position in the aborted Third Republic and now to the position of nothingness in the current Fulani feudal government.

Having been boxed to a corner of obscurity, and their patience stretched to an unbearable limit, we have resorted to providing all our needs by ourselves.
From roads, electricity, pipe-borne water, security, in fact, all the needs of humans as identified in Abraham Maslow's theory.
90 per cent of infrastructures and development strides in the southeast are either a product of personal or communal efforts.

Feeling dejected and rejected, the younger generation who are not so fortunate, have resorted to civil disobedience.
The uncontrolled and incoherent civil disobedience later degenerated into uncivil disturbances, and has further descended into an all-out violent outburst, supposedly against the Nigerian state, but in reality, against our progress and continued existence as a people.

Yet, the dramatis personae in the corridors of power still want to hold tenaciously to power, to the utter disdain of one of the very important legs in the tripod called Nigeria.

Considering the odorous negative body language emanating from the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, it is becoming clearer by the day, that APC will hand over its presidential ticket to the SouthWest, with the leader of the party, Chief Bola Tinubu at the forefront of the quest for the presidency.

Most worrisome is the People's Democratic Party PDP. A party in which the SouthEast has invested so much and sacrificed their all, since 1999 till date.
The captains of the party have severally reaffirmed their resolve to navigate back to the anchor point - Aso Rock. And to achieve this goal, they are willing to slaughter the southeast presidential interest as the sacrificial lamb at the table of power negotiation. By their permutations as once revealed by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, the PDP is determined to grab power at the centre, by all means, practicable, even if it means nominating another Northern Fulani man who can guarantee them the usual bogus votes from that part of the country which can spin the 2023 presidential contest to the party's favour.

If this political arithmetic becomes a reality, then, the presidential aspiration of the people of SouthEast in PDP is set to hit the brick wall.

According to the Greek mythology as relieved by Hommer in his book "Illiad". After barely scratching the impregnable city walls of Troy for nearly ten years during the Trojan war, the legendary Odysseus ingeniously devised an alternative means of decimating their rivals from the inside via the Greek gift of a Trojan horse.

Same way, Igbo's in the ruling party and the main opposition party should sustain their demand for the ticket within their party's structure, but be ready to reach compromise with other party leaders, without capitulating in their ultimate demand.

Good enough, the southeast parades a retinue of quality members in both parties, who are ready and capable of governing the country, if given a chance.

In APC, Chris Ngige, medical doctor, former Director in the federal civil service, former governor, Senator and two-term minister. He has transversed the three arms of government in this country at their highest levels. 
Other prominent names like Senator Ken Nnamani, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Emeka Nwajiuba and others, are also on the table, with their appetising credentials for consideration. 

In PDP, Ayim Pius Ayim is determined to turn the table and grab the party's ticket. With his equally impressive resume as a lawyer, former Senate President and Ex-Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF.

The next strategic plan would be for Igbo political leaders to abandon the two major parties en masse, because of neglect and unwillingness of the leaders to relinquish power the SouthEast, and subsequently defect to the third most viable party in Nigeria, the All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA.
APGA, which at least is in control of one state of the federation is more like the third leg in the triangular political chessboard of Nigeria. With an eminent jurist, Professor of Law and former Chief Judge of Anambra State, Peter Umeadi assists likely candidate, ndi-Igbo should rally support for the party massively, to use it as their negotiating power for the presidency.
This was the political formula that the SouthWest deployed to their advantage in 1998.

At the dawn of the current dispensation, when the military lifted the ban on political activities, the entire SouthWest queued up in defunct Alliance for Democracy AD, in their sustained demand for the presidency. This left the then APP for the core North East, while the PDP was for the SouthEast, South-South, North Central and little support from North West. 
To achieve a clear majority and draw the SouthWest into the party, the master strategists in PDP hurriedly agreed to appease the zone, using Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as bait, against a frontline aspirant from the East, Dr Alex Ekwueme.

Therefore, ndi-Igbo can use another party to ultimately arm-twist leaders PDP and APC into nominating aspirants from east, if they can undertake a mass defection to APGA or any other party for that matter like ADC, which also has an excellent Igbo intellectual, Professor Kingsley Muoghalu as it presidential hopeful.

The options before SouthEast leaders is either that of continuous engagements from within their political enclaves, or outright disengagement from the two major political parties, in favour of a third political force.

® Ejiofo Umegbogu
Journalist and Public Affairs Analyst.
Awka, Anambra State.
stcollins33@gmail.com

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