2023 presidency: The southeast imperative
However it turns out, the 2023 general elections will be a watershed in the annals of Nigeria’s Rirutanian history. If for nothing else, it will mark the end of President Buhari’s tormentous two-term watch over the affairs of the country. A tenure that has seen the fiercest tugs at the strings that bind us as a nation from all the cardinal points.
Yet another landmark – more emblematic, if I’m to say – concerns the position of the indigenes of the Southeast of the country in the union. The truth, however coloured, is that they don’t find themselves in the rosiest of places therein. A ready pointer remains their inability to achieve a president of their extraction since independence.
Having posited this, I must quickly add, for the avoidance of doubt, that it is no original idea of mine. Many more prominent compatriots have said this before me. Most remarkable is the one by an elder statesman from the Southwest. He even went to the extent of berating the favourite candidate from his region for nursing the ambition at all.
It’s noteworthy that our nation has achieved the ripe age of sixty-one. Give and take, we have not survived all these divisive manifestations in the past and present for nothing. It’s unarguable that something has helped glue these more than 250 ethnic nationalities together. So that it has survived to this century against all these odds is a thing to be thankful for.
Studied critically, more than anything else, credit for this has to go to the mutual respect subsisting between these ethnicities over the years. In spite of odds, these peoples have cohabited with one another in countless composils and villages scattered across the country. In the process, they have intermarried and often joined hands to overcome the most daunting of situations.
Most Interestingly, over these years, a particular group has been found to be the most adventurous in the pack. It’s on record that wherever you venture in the union, they easily account for the most numerous in demographic mass after the original sons and daughters of the soil. Composils apart, this has also been replicated even in the remotest of backwoods.
Also, wherever they do find themselves, they are visibly the only others manifesting their investment potential. As though they never crossed the proverbial seven seas to the destination, they’d build palatial homes, offices and even markets in these otherwise strange lands. And this, sometimes, to the chagrin of their hosts.
Yes, rather than get due commendations for their chivalry, they are easily the most maligned in the union. A situation that has often led to them being wrongfully stigmatised and singled out for victimisation. A situation that has seen them pushed to the wall of self defence. Which, in turn, has made them appear to be persona non grata in a cake they are joint bakers of.
These momentous happenings date back to pre-independence days. But the most virulent came about post independence. Specifically when some self-styled revolutionaries in the then nascent nation’s army truncated the coeval First Republic. Like Emperor Nero and the early Christians, culprits were easy to find after the abortive coup.
Anyway, again, suffice this by noting that history, by the Greeks, repeats in concentric circles. Yes, the same scenario, give and take a few differentials, is playing out once more. Somehow, this has seen the effective isolation of the leading tribe in the region to a dot in a massive circle of foes. To the effect that the so-called minorities ‘they had been oppressing’ have produced a president of the nation before them.
If anything, it has succeeded in turning the people of the region against themselves. Nowhere else is this more evident than in the struggle for them to produce the nation’s president come 2023.
But the onus is for them to come together more than at any other time else to achieve this much desired diadem. And I have hindsight enough to predict that rather than to their dot alone, it’ll be even most beneficial to the circle encapsulating them.
Uzoatu, author of the novel Vision Impossible wrote from Onitsha Anambra State.