Opinion

Buhari versus Critical Thinking: Which Geo-Political Zone forward?

By Kelechi Abonuyo

The year 2023 will surely redefine the political landscape in Nigeria. By May 29, 2023, the incumbent president of Nigeria, Gen. Mohammadu Buhari, will be handing over to his successor, a pan-Nigerian, who is not from his geo-political zone of North-west of Nigeria.

Like all years preceding an election year in Nigeria, the year 2022 is no different. Untold number of politicians and power brokers are now milling in and out of Abuja – the boisterous capital city. And the “Owners” of Nigeria are consulting. In a sensitive, ethno-sectarian state like Nigeria, all criteria are considered in the overall permutation for political power shift. In Nigeria, every little thing matters and counts. Political appointments, infrastructures, political visitations, statements/utterances are all used to re-assure or build confidence in the different federating ethno-sectarian units of the country. These units also use these criteria to gauge the pause of the government-in-power regarding inclusivity of all constituent members.

The incumbent president Mohammadu Buhari, who will complete his 8 years in office by May 28, 2023, took over from His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan of South-south geo-political zone of Nigeria. It was an act of God that actually brought Mr Jonathan to power, when he replaced, HE Umaru Yaradu’a of North-west of Nigeria. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a retired general, of South-west of Nigeria, started off in 1999, with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of North-east as his Vice-President for the duration of his 8-year presidency. Mr Jonathan had been Alhaji Umaru Yaradua’s Vice-President for the short duration of his Yaradua’s presidency. Before Nigeria’s return to civil rule, 2 North-central generals, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, led Nigeria, during which they created states, forged Nigeria’s constitution, distributed oil wells/wealth and made billionaires out of their fellow country men and women. The two most yawning zones in terms of leadership of Nigeria are the respective Easts: South-east and North-east. But in a country where providence made power-sharing easier with the North and South Divide, it is important to point out that political power is currently incumbent in the North of Nigeria. And as transition draws nearer, the begging question is: which zone forward?

South-east geo-political zone is particularly very interesting. There has never been a time in living memory when the socio-cultural groups of the zones in Southern Nigeria have ever come to agreement more than now, for goodness’ sake, for equity and for fairness. Both South-west and South-south zones agree that South-east deserve attention. And many a political pundit can read the handwriting on the walls. The ruling All Progressives Congress Party (APC) has shared her party positions between the North and the South. The entire North and the South-west and the South-south parted with full pack of juicy positions. Within the states that make up South-east, Senator Ken Nnamani of Enugu State is positioned for the statutory Vice-Chairman for South-east. Another state, but Imo, was ceded the position of the party’s Welfare. And the real intent and vision of the ruling party is becoming clearer.

In Nigeria party positions and political offices are distributed to create balance and confidence in the polity. In the developing scenario, Imo State is almost empty handed, unless the Owners of Nigeria think critically.

Two important presidential aspirants are from Imo State. Former Gov Rochas Anayo Okorocha is a contender. But he is currently licking his wounds, from a running battle with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), after he ran Imo State aground for 8 whooping years. It was Mr Rochas Okorocha, formerly of All Progressives Grand Alliance party (APGA), that led APGA, as a political bloc, to found APC. There were 3 more political blocs that founded APC, of which the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) was chief. Another contender is the current Minister of State for Education, Hon Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, who had been a two-time Federal House of Representatives member. He had been a gubernatorial aspirant in his state. Nigerians believe that he has proved himself creditably well in his ministry, where he redeemed education in Nigeria. He had been an old stock of CPC party and had followed President Buhari’s political journey and the trajectory, from All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), through CPC to APC. This earned him a Prince status. If an Englishman were to describe his cordial relationship with President Mohammadu Buhari, he would say that Buhari and Nwajiuba are so close that their Dogs even got married. But one could comfortably add that their Dogs even got puppies together.

Other contenders from South-east zone include the Senator representing Abia State North – Chief Orji Uzo Kalu, the current Minister of Labour – Dr Chris Ngige from Anambra and Engr Dave Umahi, who is the current governor of Ebonyi State. Chief O.U Kalu already has a date with EFCC on top of few baggage here and there – in fact a decampee from the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which makes Nigerians look away from him. On the other hand, Dr Chris Ngige, on his own does not appear presidential, no matter how hard his handlers provide innovations around him. He has worked hard for his party and government, but belongs to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) bloc. In Nigeria’s politics, every little thing matters really. Gov Dave Umahi, who was elected under PDP, decamped to APC to realise his ambition. A litigation embarrassed him recently on account of his jumping ship to APC. It is a topical issue. And he is still counting losses of political capital.

Nigerians may continue to ponder and analyse the political permutations that will produce their president come 2023. In Africa, where presidents are like kings, it is expected continue to ponder and analyse the political permutations that outgoing presidents pay attention to who succeeds them, whose candidacy brings peace and stability as in a troubled polity like Nigeria’s. It is all about loyalty, consistency and legacy protection, inter alia. It is about critical considerations of the person of the candidate and his geo-political zone. It is barely a week to the national convention of APC. Nigerians hope that their president and the presidency are really thinking.

1 comment

  1. This is great.Buhari made a promise to hand over to a younger person, from the east.
    I enjoyed reading your article

    Like

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