In part 4 of this article, I made an assertion that it is a mission impossible for an igbo to be Nigeria’s President, based on the present constitution and political system. This part explains the reasons for this assertion.
Let us start our analysis from 1979. A layman or somebody who was apolitical knew that Zik and Awo were the better candidates. If we were really interested in building a strong, prosperous and united nation, we should be interested in choosing the best among us, irrespective of his tribe or origin, to be our leader. Unfortunately, that reasoning did not apply in 1979. The excuse the north came up with for not accepting the candidacy of Papa Awo was that he was “a tribalist and a sectional leader”
Okay, if Papa Awo was not acceptable to the north because he was a tribalist, what about Zik? Was Zik also a tribalist? So, why wasn’t his candidacy accepted too? Oh, they suddenly remembered: “Zik was an Igbo man, and the Igbos could not be trusted with Nigerian Presidency! The civil war was not only still fresh in mind, but the key actors were still around and looking at one another, especially the Ndi-Igbos, with suspicion.
Permit me some digression, but in a way related to this topic. Sometime last year, I was discussing Nigerian politics with a Yoruba friend of mine, with a PhD in chemical engineering. I was very disappointed and angry with him when he told me that the Igbos could not be trusted with the presidency. I simply told him that if you don’t trust them with the Presidency, why is your Nigeria holding them by force. Why not allow them to go! I asked him about the purpose of having as a business partner somebody that you could not trust. I asked him further, so an Hausa man can be trusted with the presidency? Gowon could be trusted with the presidency? Shagari could be trusted? Murtala could be trusted? Buhari could be trusted? Babangida could be trusted? Abacha could be trusted? But, Zik could not be trusted? Ekwueme could not be trusted? Ukiwe could not be trusted? Utomi can not be trusted? Soludo can not be trusted? Prof. Dora Akunyili can not be trusted? Iweala can not be trusted? Ezekwesili, alias “Madam due diligence,” can not be trusted? However, Yar’adua, a chemistry teacher, with chronic kidney disease, and poor performance as governor of Katsina for 8 years can be trusted! Even ibb – alias, evil genius, after what he had done to Nigeria and Nigerians can still be trusted the second time. Can’t you see how Obj. is sending him on different diplomatic peace missions?
It dawned on me that the north could trust the ingenious Igbos as ball boys, errand boys, third class citizens that will do dirty jobs in education, in the central bank and finance, while the north holds on to power.
The north went on to vote for Shagari overwhelmingly simply because he was their man, and the only person among the presidential candidates that they could trust. They did not need the ingeniousness and talent of neither Zik nor Papa Awo to develop Nigeria. They just needed their man, plain and simple, even if he is deaf, dumb, blind, handicapped and is dying of leprosy or kidney disease.
The propaganda that somebody could be trusted and another could not be trusted is a very effective political propaganda and strategy from the north. It was so effective to the extent that even my Yoruba friend with a PhD in chemical engineering, a couple of years older than me, and presently working for the largest mining company in the world, fell for it. And, mind you, I am talking about somebody who has lived abroad for more than 20 years. What then do we expect from an illiterate or semi-illiterate back at home?
Let us move over to June 12, 1994. Abiola emerged the winner in a free and fair election to the disbelief of the establishment. He even defeated Tofa in his state. We all thought that the jinx had been broken at last, and that we were now heading towards building a united and fair country. We thought that the vicious cycle was over. Unfortunately, it turned out that our celebrations and joy were too early. The northern thugs in military uniforms had other plans for Nigeria and us. The announcement of the remaining results of the election was stopped abruptly. Consequently, Omo esu refused to hand over power to MKO, using some stupid, funny, flimsy and unpalatable excuses. In a nutshell, whatever the reasons omo esu had, the bottom line was that the north refused to hand over, and retained power. Protests were mainly from the South. There was not a single protest in the north, neither from the so called northern leaders, elites nor traditional leaders about the day-light fraud and injustice. None of them lost their sleep over it. After all, it was a Yoruba man that was denied the presidency, and not a northerner. The rest, as they is now history.
Let us continue our analysis from 1999. It was unanimously decided that a Yoruba man would be the president. The Yorubas presented Falae as their unanimous candidate. But, what did ibb and his Othman Dan Fodio brothers do? They “lobbied” Obj., a thug formerly in military uniform into the election. They backed him generously with their money and votes. The rest, as they say, is now history.
Why did ibb and his evil Othman Dan Fodio brothers pick Basenji? Because he is their man. They know him well, and were sure that he would not rock the boat. They knew that he would maintain the status quo. They knew that he would not carry out the necessary political, economical and constitutional reforms that will bring genuine leaders who will move the country forward. They knew that he would not allow a sovereign national conference, talk less of implementing its recommendations.
They turned out to be right. Obasanjo did not disappoint them. All efforts to have a sovereign national conference that will eventually pave way for a new and fair constitution was rebuffed and frustrated by Obasanjo.
The initial anti-north, pro-Nigeria programs or campaigns were just camouflages. After all, today, we still have in place, intact; without any amendments, raw, the same constitution that was drawn up by the military, and the same political system that ensured Shagari’s victory, is still being used to choose our leaders, and most likely will be used to choose Yar’adua too.
Moreover, ibb alias omo esu is not only enjoying his loots, loots running into billions of dollars from the Niger delta oil that he never sweat for, but he is also being sent on different national diplomatic missions in the capacity of “senior state man.” To millions of Nigerians, ibb is a thief and murderer (whose 8 year reign of terror brought nothing but tears and hunger) who should be hanged like Saddam Hussein, and buried like a dog. Millions of Nigerians directly and indirectly were sent to the world beyond through hunger, diseases, poverty, stress and frustration due to ibb’s economic and political programmes. But to Obasanjo and P.D.P., ibb is a senior state man. He is a king maker, whose approval and finance are sorted by aspirants. Infact, some “eminent Nigerians,” including unfortunately “our learned?” Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi is still lobbying him to contest because they believe that he’s ‘the messiah’ that Nigeria is desperately waiting for.
In 2003, an Igbo candidate in the person of highly respected Chief Alex Ekwueme slugged it out with Obasanjo for the PDP presidential ticket. It was obvious that Chief Ekwueme was the much better candidate. Moreover, to compensate the Igbos for the neglect all these years, most especially after the civil war, it would have made sense and be fair to give Enahoro the PDP ticket. Again, the establishment did not see things as we ordinary mortals saw it. They suddenly remembered again that Ekwueme is an “Okoro man” to the cure. Verdict: “sorry fellow Nigerians, Chief Ekwueme being of Igbo extraction can not be trusted with the keys to Aso rock! They did their mago-mago again, and Obj. emerged the winner. As the saying goes, the rest
The descendants of Othman Dan Fodio can not take the risk of allowing Enahoro who played one of the key roles in securing our independence to spend not even a night at Aso rock! And, come to think of it, the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know. After all, they know Obasanjo very well. They went to war together – were in the same front against the poor Igbos. More so, they have heard Obasanjo many times using any occasion when he is in the midst of the Ndi-Igbos, to remind them not only about the civil war, but also about their defeat and boasts about the key role that he personally played in it.