Deep-seated animosity amongst its leaders and political class, self-aggrandisement, greed, lack of strategic engagement, and lack of ability to safe the endorsement of dominant political events at elections, amongst different points, have been recognized as elements working towards the Igbo political elite’s quest for the Presidency greater than 23 years after the nation returned to democratic rule.Within the build-up to the 2023 normal elections, the South East area expressed the idea that it’s the area’s flip to supply the president of the nation.

Although some socio-political teams and people exterior the area share the sentiment and even supported the dream, some political colleges of thought inside and outdoors the area imagine that the Igbo might by no means realise their quest to guide the nation owing to a number of elements, chief amongst which is the deep-seated division inside its rank.

The current diatribe towards the presidential candidate of the Labour Occasion (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, by Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State on the previous’s probabilities of successful the 2023 presidential election, and the way his (Obi’s) run might negatively have an effect on Igbo probabilities sooner or later, has additional uncovered fault strains throughout the area.

Up to now, the closest the South East has acquired to taking the reins was in 1979 when the late Dr. Alex Ekwueme emerged because the Vice President, after his occasion, the Nationwide Occasion of Nigeria (NPN) gained the election that produced Alhaji Shehu Shagari as president.

Tracing the political journey of the area, which he famous has been marked with “betrayals and inconsistencies,” a former Secretary Normal of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nduka Eya, acknowledged that one other try that would have given an Igbo man the chance to guide the nation was thwarted in 1999, when Ekwueme, who was favoured to choose the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Occasion (PDP) was dropped within the final minute, on the nationwide conference of the occasion for Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who finally gained the election.

Eya, a former resident electoral commissioner, famous that the will to pacify the South West and maintain the unity of the nation after Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola (MKO), the presumed winner of the 1993 election, was denied, led to compromises among the many navy and political class that threw up Obasanjo, whom he added was nowhere close to the battle for, and by no means instrumental to the return to democracy within the nation.

“As a matter of reality, Obasanjo was drafted from jail. Of their need to proceed to help the unity of the nation and contribute to its growth, Igbos overwhelmingly voted for Obasanjo and his occasion, the PDP and he gained. Bear in mind additionally that within the All Individuals’s Occasion (APP), Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu had gained the ticket, nevertheless it was within the need to maintain the oneness that he additionally jettisoned the ticket for Olu Falae (one other southwesterner), who contested towards Obasanjo in what was then thought to be Southwest Vs Southwest,” he stated.

Eya defined that apart from sacrifices and compromises, the Igbo had supported any trigger that would unify Nigeria, in addition to political quests by different areas to supply the president “even towards her intentions.”

He continued: “Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe fought for our Independence after (Herbert) Macaulay. Dr. Alex Ekwueme co-founded and ran G18, G34, which later gave delivery to the PDP. Regardless of his prime position in realising Nigeria’s independence, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe turned a mere ceremonial president of unbiased Nigeria. After forming the PDP, the occasion he fashioned denied Dr. Alex Ekwueme the presidential ticket; but he remained loyal and served to make sure the unity of Nigeria.

“The South East Zone has been boiling and heated after the Nigeria Civil Warfare due to injustices, marginalisation, suppression, and neglect. The zone, subsequently, must be assuaged. It was achieved for the South West, and for South-South; because the pendulum of energy swings again to southern Nigeria in 2023, can anybody present the explanation why the South East needs to be denied the seat of energy?”

The President Normal, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. George Obiozor, shared an identical viewpoint when he declared that: “A Nigerian President of Igbo extraction is crucial, and an thought whose time has come,” including that, “our historical past and political actuality makes it a nationwide necessity, which is anchored on fairness, justice, and equity. It’s a sign of therapeutic and uniting the nation.”

Whereas noting that in 1999, the nation, for the aim of therapeutic the nation, and inventive use of disaster and conflicts, yielded the presidency to the South West, he known as on “Ndigbo all over the place to make each effort to persuade different Nigerians, the political class, and organisations that ours is a righteous trigger whose time has come.”

However Oluwole Aguda, a technocrat, and elections operations advisor, in an earlier interview with The Guardian, whereas assessing the feasibility of South East’s quest for the Presidency shortly, defined that in politics, you sail waters of idealism and realism.

“Sure topics of political debate are gained on a platter of idealism and the South East presidency agitation ticks the bins there. It’s a given undeniable fact that the necessity for nationwide steadiness in political management and the dependable deficiency of political inclusion of the South East calls for restitution. Politics, nonetheless, sway societies and their values.

“As we speak, political gamers within the South East haven’t introduced a mannequin that makes that objective acceptable to the Kanuri in Borno State, or the Fulfude clan in Katsina State. They’ve been unable to handle alternatives at scale, such that the trail turns into more durable fairly than simpler to tread. There should be articulated settlement from the political management of that area on that regional ambition. Do you see it at current? I doubt it. Atiku is a extra possible presidential alternative of the political elite of the South East than Obi, and till native politics is known, managed, and developed, the mission will stay a mirage,” Aguda stated.

INTERESTINGLY, lower than 100 days to the 2023 normal elections, the fault strains which have continued to disclaim the area the chance to style energy on the highest stage have been reverberating, casting doubts on its readiness and skill to supply the following president, regardless of its clamour.

Many commentators within the area have described Governor Soludo’s current feedback on Obi’s presidential ambition as a part of the calculated efforts to downplay the present presidency initiative of the Igbo.

Soludo lately dismissed Obi’s quest as that borne out of “desperation,” including that it was not solely a waste of effort however unbeneficial to the Igbo.

The previous Central Financial institution Governor suggested Obi to return to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to assist construct the occasion as a regional power as a substitute of carpet-crossing political events.

Aside from Soludo, Obi has additionally obtained related bashings from the previous governor, Chimaroke Nnamani; former state chairman of PDP in Anambra State, Chief San Ulasi, whilst LP’s campaigns within the area have continued to face stiff opposition from serving governors and their political events.

Though he’s not the one Igbo that’s aspiring to turn out to be president subsequent yr, he ranks among the many prime contenders within the race. His becoming a member of the Labour Occasion has thrown up the trimmings anticipated in any political contest, simply as he has turn out to be a significant power with the extent of acceptance he has gained within the race.
Some commentators even opine that, in him, the hope that Ndigbo might make the Presidency in 2023 in any case, has been rekindled.

Reacting to the opposition to Obi’s candidacy, the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Occasion (SDP) in Enugu State, Dr John Nwobodo, noticed that this form of opposition and assaults denied Igbo alternatives in politics prior to now, cautioning that there may very well be a repeat in 2023 if not checked.

He added: “The place might elude Ndigbo principally as a result of the truth that not one of the South East presidential candidates is working on the platform of the 2 dominant political events – APC and PDP. The prospect is additional hampered because of the absence of a formidable alliance to counteract the dominance of the ruling APC and the main opposition PDP.”

On whether or not the Igbo have been nonetheless united within the Presidency trigger, Nwobodo stated: “Proof reveals that the election of 2023 is continuing alongside occasion strains than alongside ethnic strains.”

The previous Nationwide Chairman of the defunct United Progressives Occasion (UPP), Chief Chekwas Okorie, on his half, noticed that till Ndigbo, particularly their political leaders, the intelligentsia and enterprise/conventional management converge to take a chilly, onerous take a look at their peculiar circumstance in Nigeria, the actualisation of a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction will stay a pipe dream.

Okorie informed The Guardian: “Igbo political leaders are but to imbibe the perspective of constructive engagement and efficient foyer inside political events the place they belong, to safe the collaboration of non-Igbo political stakeholders to purchase into South East’s presidential aspiration. This type of engagement and lobbying is healthier achieved collectively fairly than individually. The shortage of strategic engagement has been the bane of Igbo politics in Nigeria.”

He recalled his efforts at serving to Igbo to actualise the Presidency thus: “It’s public data that I’m unarguably the longest standing advocate of a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction. I’ve led this advocacy over time utilizing varied socio-cultural associations together with the Igboezue Cultural Affiliation, and at another occasions, I pushed it by way of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo the place I’m a basis member. I even based a political occasion 20 years in the past (in 2002 to be exact), the APGA for a similar goal.

“APGA was envisioned as a nationwide political occasion to constructively have interaction different political events and blocs to actualise the agenda for a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction. The constructive outlook of a attainable credible, and clear normal election course of, and unprecedented voter consciousness, in addition to the groundswell of public opinion, is that it’s about time the South East geopolitical zone was supported to supply the president of Nigeria in 2023, within the curiosity of nationwide unity, fairness, and justice.

“Sadly, each try and activate this machine has been sabotaged by some unscrupulous and unconscionable Igbo political turncoats who all the time make themselves accessible for use towards their folks for a pittance. This malaise has typically uncovered Ndigbo to ridicule as unserious and politically naive. Nigeria’s march to full-blown democracy remains to be nascent and characterised by ethnic, non secular, and sectional sentiments and issues. The ideological thrust and contents of the manifestos of political events and their candidates are but to affect and entice successful votes throughout elections,” he stated.

On the way in which ahead, he famous: “Ndigbo represent the one ethnic nationality in Nigeria with the most important inhabitants and geographical unfold throughout all of the states of the federation. Research have proved that Ndigbo if consciously and meticulously mobilised and sensitised, can contribute as much as 25 per cent of the voting inhabitants of most states of Nigeria. Ndigbo at residence and within the Diaspora are related by way of a community of city unions, market/skilled associations, and so on. This community is constructed into what I’ve all the time known as the Igbo grid.”

Dr. Jasper Uche, a lecturer within the Division of Political Science, College of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), additionally shed some mild on why it’s tough to get a unifying character in Igbo Land, as was the case throughout the First Republic.

Based on him: “We now have extra politically uncovered folks due to the republican nature of Ndigbo. You will need to say that even throughout the time of (Nnamdi) Azikiwe, he had slightly brush with Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu throughout the Nigerian Civil Warfare. Zik didn’t overtly determine with the secessionist battle, and neither did Ojukwu seek the advice of him earlier than declaring the battle. Even when Ojukwu had the issue of declaring secession, folks like Jerome Udoji, as a everlasting secretary might have helped him. However Ojukwu determined to go it alone. So, we had flash character clashes even at the moment after we had few folks.

“As we speak, as a result of we’ve got management gaps in Igboland, any person who rises to energy, or might converse reality to energy, Ndigbo often rally round them. That’s due to the sense of marginalisation that has gone on for years. However Peter Obi is filling that hole for 2 causes: one is that each Igbo man that has a conscience thinks that 2023 is the flip of the Igbo to supply the president and the truth that events have of their structure rotation of energy between the north and south. Obi has a message that Nigerians like, which is transferring us from consumption to manufacturing.

“Once more, the issue of Igbo is past sentiments. They see Obi as a rallying level in the meanwhile; they see him because the unifying issue. However regardless of the way you take a look at it, it doesn’t imply that the brushes is not going to be there.” (Guardian)

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