By Prof Gregory Ibe, PhD, OFR(Enyi Abia)
Sequel to some disquieting developments in our nation’s political turf I am constrained to pen this open letter.
I must confess that some of the actions and inactions of the political class before, during and after the 2023 general elections really got me worried and seriously concerned about the threat posed to our nationhood by such manifestions as high degree insensitivity, unhealthy parochialism and destructive tribalism.
Having therefore observed the unfortunate drift to the selfish politics of personal interest popularly known as ‘kparakpoism’ and the dangerous resort to the antics of divide and rule, I am compelled to appeal to the consciences of Nigerians to awaken to the looming danger of destroying the ethno-religious building blocks which our founding fathers and heros past deployed as tripod to balance in fairness and equity the equilibrium of our country.
Both at the micro level of state politics where rotation of crucial positions is based on equity driven power sharing charters and at the macro strata of federal government where ethno-religious considerations have always guided our leadership selection processes, it is clear that the authors of our democracy desire a nation founded on the strong pillars of inclusiveness and accommodation.
At the micro level of my state for instance, this is the thinking that inspired the conception and authoring of the document known as Abia Charter of Equity, with the aim of providing acceptable formula for equitable rotation of power among the distinct political districts annexed together to form the state, namely Afikpo,Bende, Isuikwuato and Aba. Unfortunately, though, 32 years into the creation of Abia state, democracy has remained unkind to my Isuikwuato district, since the other three zones have retained the position of Governor without considering the negative consequences of marginalization on our yet orphaned Isuikwuato district.
A case in point is the insensitivity and lack of inclusiveness that pervaded the Abia political space during the just concluded 2023 governorship election. Whereas most political permutations favoured emergence of a governor from Isuikwuato district, in the spirit of equitable rotation of the number one position to a zone that has not yet occupied the office, the Abia political class, especially within the ranks of the PDP, manifested indifference by endorsing the advent of yet another governor from the same bloc with the current occupier.
On the macro level, the South East region has been unjustly denied opportunity of producing a Nigerian President severally, just like their counterparts from the other geo-political zones. It was in a bid to change this ugly narrative that many years ago I commenced the organization of an annual political summit in Abuja to sensitize and mobilize other regions to support the emergence of a Nigerian President of South East extraction. To adequately prepare the region for the onerous task of bequeathing credible leadership to the nation, I partnered other notable South East based groups in convening annually the now popular World Igbo Summit.
Deploying vastly available intellectual resources within my privately owned citadel of learning, Gregory University Uturu, I also collaborated with other equally endowed egg heads from the South East to produce and launch in 2016 a 50 year vision plan for Ndigbo. Currently domiciled in the Igbo Renaissance Centre of Gregory University Uturu, the document embodies a comprehensive and all-encompassing development plan that covers economic, political, cultural, educational as well as proper mentoring of the youths.
Through my background of being an Igbo man that was born in Kaduna, empowered by the dogged spirit of industry in Lagos, privileged to tour the 774 Local Government Areas of the Federation executing Needs Assessment, consulting to all Nigerian leaders (both military and civilian) and many prominent MDAs since arriving Abuja 36 years ago, I consider myself a detribalized Nationalist endowed with deep appreciation of the unique dynamics of the Nigerian socio-political landscape. Also blessed with the vast experience of consulting to many international bodies including ECOWAS Commission, UN, UNDP, UNESCO,ADB, World Bank and being the owner of Africa’s best innovation centre, Innov8 Hub in Abuja, which has become a Mecca of sorts for global leaders, my antecedents remain topnotch.
Let me therefore leverage the foregoing narrative to offer the following as advice and timely caution to the Nigerian government under the helmsman ship of the All Progressives Congress (APC);
1. That the recent declaration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as President-Elect of Nigeria is yet another fallout of the patriotic activities of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) movement in 1994, which mobilized civil rights activists from ALL REGIONS of Nigeria in ending military rule.
2. That while joining other true Nationalists in congratulating the President-Elect on his emergence, I want to urge him to DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to once again unite Nigerians by prosecuting an all inclusive government.
3. That 24 years into the life span of the Fourth Republic in Nigeria, the in coming administration must do away with the traditional ‘winner takes it all’ style of governance by adopting the more productive unity government concept, which provides opportunities for injection of non-partisan technocrats and members of other political parties to participate in the act of public service.
4. That considering the political arrangement which saw the emergence of a Yoruba South Westerner as President and an Hausa North Westerner as Vice President, it makes logical sense to maintain the tripodal political equilibrium of the nation by conceding the position of the Senate President to the South East.
5. That since both President-Elect and Vice President-Elect are of the same Muslim background, efforts should be made to ensure the emergence of a Christian as Speaker of the 10th House of Representatives, all in the good spirit of accommodation and sensitivity.
6. That the ruling APC federal government should undo the mistakes of the past by giving all stakeholders of Nigeria sense of belonging and right to participate in the process of rebuilding our nation.
7. Finally that I call on the in coming administration to enact policies that will create the enabling atmosphere for reunion and reconciliation even as we all look forward to a new season of National Rebirth.
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!