Again, agitations for the propriety for the election of a politician of Igbo extraction as President of Nigeria in 2023 are on the rise.
Of recent,Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, finally made good his rumoured exit from the Peoples Democratic Party from which he had sowed and reaped bountifully over the last two decades. And it happened that his decision to join the ruling All Progressives Congress has everything to do with 2023.
Speaking on why he had to join APC,Umahi said: “… I offered this movement as a protest to the injustice being done to the South-East by the PDP. Since 1999, the South-East has supported the PDP. At a time, the five states were all PDP. One of the founding members of the PDP was from the South-East, the late former Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme. It is absurd that since 1999, going to 2023, the South-East will never be considered to run for the presidency under the PDP.”
No one can blame the governor for his choice. He is entitled to it, except that he is not entirely right in the foregoing assertion. Here is what I mean.
In 1998, when the PDP had its first primary preparatory to the 1999 elections, Ekwueme contested the presidential PDP ticket in Jos, Plateau State. Had he won the ticket, he would have been the first presidential candidate of the party ever, but Chief Olusegun Obasanjo carried the day.
Since Ekwueme, who was a founding father of the party had contested this primary, impeaches Umahi’s argument about the injustice done by the PDP.
However, an even more important point needs to be made. This is the suggestion that some Igbo were actually behind Ekwueme’s loss of this particular process.Early this year, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, who represented Abia North Senatorial District in the eighth Senate, alleged that the late former Vice President’s bid was scuttled by some unnamed Igbo men.
The moral in the point made by the former senator is that attaining Nigeria’s presidency is more than just talking and blackmailing any set of people into submission. At the level of the primaries, there should be a meeting of minds of the group of people who desire to attain this position. This lack of single-mindedness is, according to this intervention by Ohuabunwa, one of the handicaps that the eternal craves of the Igbo to attain Nigeria’s presidency has suffered.
But, while at that, Umahi and other proponents of Igbo presidency must realise that regardless of any regional consensus on the Igbo’s crave for Nigeria’s presidency, the point must be made that leading a country ours, mostly happens with the deliberate and conscious efforts of the aspiring politician and not their ethnic group. This is where people like Umahi and others who aspire to Nigeria’s presidency have a lot of work to do.