2023: As three wise men from the East stand for Asiwaju’s presidency
History beckons on the intricate 2023 Nigerian presidential election with even the unexpected quarters confirming the obvious, that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will become the next President of Nigeria from May 29 2023.
The anger in the southeast is that the north and the westerner Nigeria have conspired to keep the southeast in perpetual slavery by denying them a shot at the Nigeria presidency, but there are three wise men from the east who are saying otherwise. The most recent among them is Governor Chukwuman Soludo of Anambra state who in his current thesis making the rounds said that the southeast need to be more strategic in their agitation for Nigeria’s presidency.
Soludo emphatically said that what Mr Peter Obi is doing is removing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) votes and assigning them to the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Truth, it is said, is bitter but Soludo said he wrote the open letter after deep thought and not minding whose ox is gored. Soludo is not only known for his great intellect but also for his political accomplishments which have brought him thus far.
As a wise man, Soludo said that the South East should know when the time is ripe for Nigeria’s presidency, but certainly not this time and more certainly not with Peter Obi. As far as he was concerned, Bola Tinubu is the next president of Nigeria after Buhari and this ability to speak the truth is what makes him a courageous wise man.
Courage is a similarity that binds together Soludo, Dr Chimaroke Nnamani and Dr Josef Onoh. These are the three men who have cast away primordial political sentiments to embrace a national movement of what is to come. They are wise because they are the men that saw tomorrow and refused to be pulled down by the beclouded eyes in their domain.
Josef Onoh is the young lad who brought sanity to the Enugu Capital Territory and has continued to toe the path of his late father, Chief C.C Onoh who was of NADECO, belonged to the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and won the governorship of the old Anambra state in Zik’s domain, at a time that shares similarity as in the present circumstance, when being part of mainstream politics is misconstrued with regional emotion, but that is why they are the wise men that saw tomorrow. The young Onoh has been the south East spokesman of Tinubu’s Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) and he has been able to prove his mettle in the job.
According to Dr Josef Onoh, there are many business concerns between the southeast and the southwest such as the economic occupation of Lagos by the southeasterners with their large-scale businesses in Lagos state. Onoh’s insistence on Tinubu is anchored on the Southern Nigeria leaders, particularly the Southern Governors, which comprised of both PDP and APC governors, who met in Asaba, Enugu and Lagos, respectively, where they insisted that the next president of Nigeria, come 2023, must emerge from the southern part of Nigeria.
Onoh remains the Governor Enugu state never had. Onoh always maintained that despite his being a member of the PDP, he will vote for all candidates of the PDP, particularly in his home Enugu state, but will not support the party’s presidential candidate because his party, the PDP, chose to select a northern presidential candidate, even when the party’s constitution stipulates that power should oscillate between southern and northern parts of Nigeria.
He also noted that he was oblivious that Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party was from the southeast and holds him to high esteem, but that his reservation for Obi was Obi’s inability to form team players, always believing that he (Obi) is the only one that can salvage the country single-handedly.
Onoh, however, said that Tinubu has a pedigree going for him such as his detribalized nature, non-religious extremism, performance in leadership and national political clout which made him foster a coalition of political parties across national divides that formed the APC. He said he was not moved by emotions or religious sentiments and does not need a political office to make a success; hence he is bold to speak the truth despite who is offended as is like a father to him hence his support remains unshakeable even at the expense of receiving death threats from different quarters.
In personal achievements, between 2019 till date, as commissioner of Enugu Capital Territory, Dr. Onoh has given the Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi administration in Enugu state a face of identity and exhibited that every city could be well developed with proper enforcement of rules and regulations. At a point people took him to be the de facto governor of Enugu state with his consistent control of the city. Although Onoh may not have won the PDP governorship primary election, he made an impact that no other Governor in the state was able to make in the State Capital Territory Development. He is the only government official in Enugu state that dared the IPOB sit-at-Home and enforced a counter directive to residents and civil servants in the state to go to work on Mondays.
In the case of the fearless and quintessential Dr Chimaroke Nnamani, his intellectual acumen goes beyond rhetoric to the practical application of best strategies for human capital development. The former Governor of Enugu State in a recent pronouncement said that Igbo need an alliance with Yoruba on the presidency, noting that the Igbo should reflect on Bola Tinubu. He acknowledged that the two political parties that are popular with the southeast (PDP and LP) would lose in the 2023 presidential elections.
According to him “The two political parties with emotional capture of my people will lose the presidential election. One is a pure exercise in self-driven political liberation, the other a known abuser and denigrator of my people. We need a restart, based on the paradigm shift. We need to be careful but calculated. The Igbo have to retrace the steps of Okpara and Awolowo, the United Progressive Grand Alliance, an Igbo-Yoruba alliance. It is not late for the Igbo to reflect on, and carefully x-ray the looming reality of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Tinubu has paid his dues over the decades, and has performed creditably in governance and politics.”
Nnamani’s insight is far ahead and his projections are metaphorical. It’s difficult to fault Chimaroke’s applied strategy both in politics and in governance. A few examples will suffice. A highly cerebral Nnamani introduced ‘Democracy Dividends’ into the Nigeria political lexicon in 1999 when most states in Nigeria were battling to have a foot in governance. For eight years as Governor of Enugu state, Nnamani showed presence in infrastructural developments that have not been rivalled such as his remodel of Enugu State University Teaching Hospital and College of Medicine, Parklane, Enugu and went ahead to construct a new permanent site for the state university, ESUT. As if that was not enough, he built the Enugu campus of Nigeria Law School and handed it over to the Nigeria Legal Education Council.
Chimaroke Nnamani gave the Eastern Nigeria Capital a befitting Judiciary complex that has been unequalled by any present-day Judiciary complex, provided several roads infrastructure, the Enugu Liaison edifice in Abuja, and ensured that government employees did not go on strike in his eight years administration. In the Senate, he exhibits charm each time he makes a presentation. His defence for the rights of women and children is referrals in the National Assembly. He has not hidden his support for the Tinubu presidency and has invested in the campaigns.
In all the cacophony of politics going on in the southeast, Soludo, Onoh and Nnamani have been the three wise men in the southeast to openly challenge Ohanaeze Ndigbo to look before it leaps. They share similar threats of extinction on their families for remaining critical minds that champion the campaign of Asiwaju Tinubu in the southeast. The rest gladiators claiming to be APC stalwarts and political elites in the region have remained silent refusing to take a stand so as not to be bullied and criticised by the Obidients. Some are waiting for Tinubu and the APC to share money before they support rather than make any personal sacrifice like these three wise men. Such a timid approach by these politicians to galvanize votes for Tinubu in the southeast is unfortunate because of the types of threats being faced by the three wise men are afraid of being labelled as ‘Igbo traitors’, yet when the meal is ready they will be the first to stand in the queue to take their rations. My advice to my fellow Igbo is to make hay while the sun shines.
Mr. Sylvanus Chukwukere, a media consultant lives in Ikeja, Lagos State.