The Upper Crust

Igbo Presidency: Here we go again


With Uche Nnadozie

I read this article by a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP media
strategist. The long and short of his presentation was why everyone in
Nigeria must come together to support the Igbo to become president of
Nigeria. But something more telling was also contained in his write
up. He thoroughly abused the people of South Western Nigeria. He
called their politicians all manner of names. Yet all he was doing was
pitch his conviction to get these people to support his campaign for
an Igbo to emerge president in Nigeria in 2023. He equally regaled us
with the outdated “marginalization” battle cry which were all fury
signifying nothing. Reading through simply describes the kind of
strategy he and his mates provided to the PDP echelon these past
years. This fellow is a senior editor and has worked at the PDP
national secretariat chaperoning communications and media relations.
There has been a flurry of activities in this regard these past weeks.
Many Igbo commentators have taken up the gauntlet and have made all
manner of conjectures and permutations. It is like frenzy. These
people are exactly the same people that will not contest any election.
They are just ahead with talk on how others should do it. In the
process polluting the waters and leaving the real battle in other
peoples hands. Before the open battle begins they would have soiled
their hands in the dirt of early risers, clearing no paths; rather
gathering tons of enemies. There is nothing good in the content or
form of these early campaigns. It is not strategic and not desirable.
I have argued before today that political strategists in Nigeria
should begin to situate their key points on political platforms. How
can a PDP strategist, bypass his own party to lend advice for
politicians of  other political parties to hand him their presidential
ticket simply because he is Igbo? Why can’t he begin with his own
party and tell his readers how best an Igbo in PDP will win his
party’s ticket rather than going around fishing for trouble and
labeling other ethnic groups with numerous condescending remarks?
Indeed, why should a commentator not see that the country has reformed
into a two-party state as such permutations should take this reality
into account.
What should be paramount therefore for a strategist especially those
who are already working for either of the two major parties is to
figure out how their party can win in 2023 or retain power (on the
other hand). Emotional blackmail of “marginalization” can no longer
work. In the first place, there are at least 350 ethnic groups in
Nigeria today. What is special about your ethnic group that will force
Nigerians to vote you on that basis? What happens to the Efiks,
Ibibio, Anang, Itshekiri, Urhobo, Isoko, Owan, Afemai, and hundreds of
others? Or are we going to pretend that these other ethnic groups do
not exist? Any strategist therefore that prioritizes ethnicity in
subsequent electoral contests in Nigeria is simply a poor student of
politics. The individual is a poor pundit and if the party is serious,
such a character must be pulled from their payroll.
Listen, the All Progressives Congress, APC and the PDP have membership
from all Nigerian groups. Therefore it will be petty and ignorant to
elevate one ethnic group above the other especially when that
elevation is based on hating other ethnic groups. The political party
that allows members or strategists insults other ethnic groups for the
purposes of gaining national power is most likely not to get anything.
They are most likely going to continue to lose. It is even worse in
this situation whereby some of these latest proponents of Igbo
presidency in 2023 were active supporters and enablers of the
divisive, derogatory and hate-vending Indigenous People of Biafra,
IPOB. Yesterday you were all out for the country to break up only to
wake up in the morning to begin a campaign for one of you to become
president. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.
Simple reflection should have told these wannabe Igbo nationalists
that other Nigerians will not take them serious having seen them in
2017 say and do things to divide the country. Therefore they are not
the right messengers for the message they bear. They should take a
back seat if indeed there is a style to this political battle ahead.
People should not think and act this clumsy “anything goes” Nigerian
mentality. This is the same thing that has caused problem with
importers who use land borders. Now their goods are stuck because they
thought, oh this is Nigeria, they won’t close it, even if they do, the
border will open in a few days time. Now we know better.
While folks who think they can become president are making subtle
moves, meeting and plotting without any announcements or abuse of
anyone, these commentators are all over the place pretending to be
raising awareness but calling out other people and in the process
killing the opportunity. This has been the trend for decades. Our
people lack the stamina for the long race; the decoy and cunning of a
presidential run. Apart form Obasanjo who became president largely on
account of Abiola’s tragedy, no other president emerged that way.
President Buhari tried three times before the fourth and the win.
People forget that he is from the north and a Fulani who we accuse of
“born to rule.” He could not even win for 12 years.
As 2023 begin to gather momentum, pundits and strategists should learn
to direct their parties and principals towards party politics not
ethnic triumphalism. It is parties that birth candidates, not ethnic
groups. Igbo people should understand this first, if they want to be
taken serious. They cannot afford to repeat the mistake of “it is our
turn.” It can’t be your turn because there are over 347 other ethnic
groups. Channel your grievance and energy through a party or group of
parties. Emerge as candidate first.

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