By Wilfred Eya
Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammed Abba-Gana, recently spoke at an event organized by the Pan Nigeria Presidency of Igbo Extraction Coalition, Northern Nigeria Region(PANPIEC) where he insisted that Nigerians should vote for a a president of Igbo extraction.
You recently spoke at the event organized by the Pan Nigeria Presidency of Igbo Extraction Coalition, Northern Nigeria Region(PANPIEC). What did you take out from the event?
I was really pleased to be invited to participate in the historic and patriotic event composed of a gathering of great minds. It was also for the whole purpose of building a united, peaceful, secure, prosperous and great country, Nigeria. I actually was in the forum to reconfirm or restate what I have been saying or expressing in my interviews/interactions with Nigerian media/press for quite some time. I was also there to exercise my human and constitutional rights to form, hold and express my opinion which may not be, for now, the opinion of some of the members of the professions, associations, clubs or political parties they belong to.
Ahead of 2023, you have continued to support a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction; what is actually your motivation?
My support for Nigerian President of Igbo extraction in 2023 is based on the following ten well thought out analysis of the facts and matters in our dear country, Nigeria.
We definitely need Nigerian President of Igbo extraction in 2023 if we, at all care about and want justice and fairness in our political processes and governance affairs across the board in order for our dear country to endure in peace and unity, with security and prosperity, all inclusive and where nobody and no group is left behind.
The Igbo ethnic group is surely the most enterprising ethnic group in Nigeria. In spite of their size, the third in population, their widespread presence all over the country and as patriotic investors and change agents and innovators wherever they find themselves. But, somehow, they were never opportuned, like their peers, the other two large ethnic groups, the Hausa-Fulani and the Yoruba, to be Head of Government, like the position of the Prime Minister or the President. It was the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua which created the timely opportunity for the minority Ijaw ethnic group to produce President Goodluck Jonathan to win for the 1st term. Late General Ironsi’s six months leadership is just a footnote in Nigeria’s history. It was unsettled government which burned out in transition like meteorite or shooting star. I don’t consider it as proper Igbo leadership in Nigeria.
As stakeholders and as citizens of Nigeria who live in almost every of the 774 LGAs of Nigeria, they, the Igbo have legal and constitutional right to aspire and get elected to the highest office/position of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It is really a matter of worry that an enterprising, ethnic group like the Igbo, the third largest in population in the country with immense intellectual, human, business, industrial, educational and other achievements, capital and capacities and just because of bad politics and subterfuge, cannot produce elected Head of Government at the Federal level over a period of 60 years. Therefore, in keeping with recent progressive position taken by the Northern Elders Forum that the people of the North will not vote along ethnic, religious and regional lines in 2023 but would vote for the best candidate who is prepared to develop the North has created great hope. Here is a silver lining or great political break through.
But looking at ethnic nature of our politics, do you think it is possible?
If late Azikiwe and late Tafawa Balewa would co-operate and form government, the present generation of politicians should waste no time, effort in acrimonious politics and direct their attention to politics of co-operation, collaboration and development. That is the way forward. The 19 States of the North should therefore carefully prepare their development needs for the attention of the coming Nigerian President of Igbo extraction. Political leaders from both sides have almost two years to discuss and agree. For some unknown reasons since this 1999 democratic dispensation, our politicians have not properly focused on real human development, infrastructural development and wealth creation but dwelt on superficial, ego centric projects which did not transform the economy and properly benefit the people.
Therefore, for the sake of justice, fairness and brotherhood, in this new democratic dispensation, Nigerians particularly from the 19 Northern States, irrespective of their religion, ethnicity and even political backgrounds should come together as one united people to elect a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction to heal all the wounds of years past, once and for all.
Again, it’s very important tool in modern management and governance in general that we should always give hope to all the diverse peoples of our great country by ensuring that nobody and no group is permanently left behind. Therefore, let us, today, 29th April 2021 make 2023 the Igbo year in Nigeria. Those who agree please say yes. Those who do not agree are now consulting and will agree later on.
Also, the mood of the times and commonsense favors Nigerian President of Igbo extraction in 2023. In fact, electing Nigerian President from the other ethnic groups in 2023 would appear highly selfish, unpatriotic and insensitive political action. This is because democracy without justice and fairness and commonsense to moderate it would lead to chaos and all sorts of crisis. So, please take note of this fact and wisely avoid moving against the grain.
Again, there is simply no convincing or overriding reason in the public domain to deny the Igbo the Presidency in 2023. It’s legitimate to ask today what are the track records of the other presidential aspirants from the other ethnic groups that can make them defeat aspirants from the Southeast zone, Igbo zone. I am honestly acting as external examiner and I would not fail a good candidate deliberately. I am sure the Southeast geopolitical zone will this time around present their best aspirants to Nigerians. I know the Igbo are good in business matters, but they are also second to none in all fields of human endeavor, at least in Nigeria, if not all over the world.
X. There is the saying that it is difficult or impossible to stop an idea whose time has come. Oh God, our Creator and sustainer, we are praying to You to make 2023 the year Nigerian President of Igbo extraction will emerge. Amin.
What is your advice to Nigerians with regards to voting in 2023?
Some concluding thoughts. I know for certain that there is no ethnic group in Nigeria so self sufficient that they are better off outside Nigeria than inside Nigeria. I also know for certain that there is no easy, peaceful, legal/constitutional and democratic way of breaking up Nigeria as presently constituted. So let us all renew our resolve to keep Nigeria one and united and truly Federal State. We must hold our leaders accountable so that there is transparency, accountability and good governance benefitting all citizens and leaving nobody behind. We must also devolve some powers of FGN to States & LGAs. Also new revenue formular in favor of States and LGAs is urgently needed.
I have observed that sometimes Nigerians act rationally and responsibly in times of great difficulties and crises. Like what happened in 1993, the June 12 crisis caused by cancellation of the presidential election by the military regime led by IBB. What happened thereafter led to stepping aside of IBB, formation of interim government under Shonekan (just for about 80 days) then Gen. Abacha regime took over. Gen. Abacha’s regime lasted five years until he died in June 1998. Then Gen. Abdulsalam took over and told Nigerian politicians that he would stay for only one year and handover to civilians.
It was at that time the Northern political leaders played the role of great statesmen. Most of them late now. Suitable presidential candidates like Adamu Ciroma, Aliyu Shinkafi, Lema Jibril, Sola Saraki, Bamanga Tukur, Bashir Tofa, Solomon Lar and a few others all sacrificed their presidential ambitions and agreed for power shift to the Southern part of the country. That was 1998/1999 Nigeria. All for the sake of peace, unity, security, political stability and prosperity of our dear country, Nigeria. Most times pursuing inordinate ambitions and obsession with political power can be dangerous for society.
I believe honestly that, right now, leading to 2023, we need similar selfless patriotic action by our leading politicians. In this serious internal security crisis, some politicians should do what the Adamu Ciromas did in 1999 and sacrifice their political ambitions for the peace, unity, security, progress & prosperity of our dear country. Pursuing inordinate political ambitions in times like this does not help the cause of peace and unity and security of country as things are now.
Also, the mood of the times and commonsense favors Nigerian President of Igbo extraction in 2023. In fact electing Nigerian President from the other ethnic groups in 2023 would look like acting contrary to commonsense or moving against the grain.
Again, there is simply no convincing or over riding reason to deny the Igbo the Presidency in 2023. What track record have the other ethnic groups who wish to willy nilly deny the Igbo the Presidency in 2023? The track records or the performance of those who have had opportunity of running the presidency is not so outstanding to justify denying the Igbo their chance in 2023.
Also, there is the saying that it’s difficult to stop an idea whose time has come. Oh God our Creator & Sustainer since You never make mistake and made the Igbo part and parcel of Nigerian federation make 2023 the time for Nigerian President of Igbo Extraction. Finally, whatever wrongs the Igbo or their ancestors have done, 50 years after the civil war has ended by the former Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon declaring that there was no victor and no vanquished, the spirit and brotherhood of that famous declaration should not only be respected but strictly adhered to by all compatriots particularly by our politicians and political parties. So, the time has come for us all to end the era of revenge and vengeance and embrace forgiveness for the good of our great country and for the peace, unity, security and prosperity of the largest and greatest black nation of the world which is our Nigeria.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.