By Issa Itopa Lucky
No sooner than the rest regions of the country began clamour for rotation of the presidency in 2023 had the Southeast region begun what some term as blackmail of the nation to have the presidency micro-zoned solely to its region.
The Southeast region is of course dominated by the Igbo tribe. The Igbos are known to be very enterprising people who hardly have interest in politics as they are dominantly doing too well for themselves individually to be interested in who rules the country and who does not.
Aside that they are a clear minority tribe as a region compared the rest parts of the country, they are also known to be a people who hardly turn out to vote during elections. While this is due to their busy nature, being dominantly businessmen and businesswomen, in some other sense, it is because even if it is an election within their own domain as it regards, they yet don’t express much interest really as they don’t believe at first in the value of being a part of Nigeria and its democratic process, this is as a sample of their opinions as a region will show that a certain much of them prefer to go their separate way away from Nigeria.
For a certain much of them, granting them their own country will be better than having them involve in a Nigerian election. While this may be due to the memory handed down generation after generation by their parents who witnessed directly or indirectly or participated in the 1967 Nigeria civil war which lasted thirty months between the then people of Biafra Republic, a secessionist group of Nigeria; and the then Yakubu Gowon-led Federal Government of Nigeria.
Over fifty years after the war ended, the Igbo group still feels marginalised and yet to be forgiven by “Nigeria” for the war which was fought by the tribe-turned-region against the backdrop of an obvious hate for them as of then, much in the course of retaliation against them for the sentiment that greeted the Kaduna Nzeogwu coup of January 15th 1966, being the first military coup in Nigeria.
Then, the Northern region of the country which was much at the receiving end of the coup, felt the Igbo soldiers who led the process meant evil as against mere seizure of power from the supposed corrupt first republic politicians.
The coup saw to the death of Tafawa Balewa and Ahmadu Bello, two prominent sons that the North held in high esteem even till date. As the coup had no any casualty from Igboland but had a few from the Western region, for instance, Samuel Akintola of the mid-western region was killed in that coup, the Northern region on its own, felt that since Kaduna Nzeogwu, the leader of the coup was not actually punished by his fellow Igbo brother, Aguiyi Ironsi who took power by virtue of the coup, there was an ultimate need to specifically retaliate the first coup by not only killing Aguiyi Ironsi but also to go ahead to attack Igbos in sight.
All that build up will lead to the crisis between the Igbos and the Federal Republic of Nigeria till date even after the civil war which was fought and was ended with the hope that “One Nigeria” will be a reality again forevermore.
Now, 2023 beckons and the Igbo region on the heels of the seeming hatred of President Buhari for them, have finally seemed to be saying they are done with being marginalised by the Buhari Presidency and have hence brought up two strong demands which are alternatively; to be allowed to secede or be handed the ultimate national prize, being the Presidency office in 2023. While the secession idea is with its merits and demerits and with its commendations and condemnations, the country is not seeming to be in the mood to merely hand the Presidency over to the Igbos, not just like that especially.
Therefore, the big question is, should Nigeria go ahead to refuse to put an Igbo person in office of President in 2023, will the Igbos force their way out of Nigeria or will they stay till the next Presidential election year to vie like every other region of Nigeria would, and trust Nigeria enough to believe the country has good intentions especially as to inclusiveness in the democratic process, towards them?
Only time will tell the best or the worst the Igbos will do should 2023 not go in their favour. But the fact is, regardless of the region that wins the Presidency seat in 2023, with a unifier as President of Nigeria, Nigeria regardless of tribe or region, is better as one entity than as a separate entity.