Peter Obi leads charge for Igbo Presidency
Last year, I attended an event in Katsina, President Buhari’s home state. This was the first time I would venture this far into North-West Nigeria. One thing that struck me was the temperature. It was in May. We landed around 11 AM, but the temperature was around 33 Degree Celsius. That is usually the hottest it gets on a typical day in Lagos, Nigeria where I live. The temperature would later rise to almost 40 degrees by 2 PM when the event was rounding off. I could not help but wonder how life could be uncomfortable in that region because of the hot climate. I even wondered how one could possibly think clearly in such an environment. But then, it is the state that gave us Umar Musa Yar’Adua – one of the best Presidents Nigeria has ever had.
This article is not about the hot climate of Katsina, North-West Nigeria. It is about the place of the Igbo man in Nigeria. During the event, I met Emmanuel, an Igbo man from Enugu. We had struck up a conversation as the event progressed and got to a boring part that interested neither of us, and I asked him what brought him to Katsina. He smiled and said the north was home. He was born in Kaduna. He grew up and schooled there. He attended the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria and now works at one of the branches of a commercial bank in Katsina. Every weekend, he told me, he drives for five hours to return to his family home in Kaduna.
In Nigeria today, there is nothing unique about Emmanuel’s story. From the heart of the emirates in Kano to the seat of the Caliphate in Sokoto, there is an Emmanuel. From the hills of Zungeru to the remotest hamlet in Argungu, there is an Emmanuel – generations who have known no other life than the one they met in Northern Nigeria. The story is the same for every part of Nigeria outside of the South East.
So, when Keni Akintoye asked me if the Igbo man can be trusted to lead Nigeria when he invited me as a guest to his programme recently, I told him: “The onus is no longer on the Igbos to prove that they can be trusted by other ethnic groups. The onus is now on Nigeria to prove that it has any love for the Igbo nation”.
- Advertisement -
The Igbo man is still the only symbol of Unity left in this “geographical expression” called Nigeria. In any part of Nigeria that the Igbo man goes to, he makes a home. He invests there, builds a home there and raises his children there, though he may never forget his roots. This has made them the largest group of non-indigenes of any state in Nigeria today.
It is now being debated if an Igbo could be trusted to lead Nigeria. I find that insulting, to say the least. The Fulani, Yoruba and Ijaw could be trusted but not the Igbo who stakes their lives and livelihood so Nigeria could be perceived as one.
The next election is almost upon us and after years of preaching equity and fairness, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP are still not sure if the Igbo man deserves their ticket.
- Advertisement -
But let it be clear that it is now the turn of the Igbo to lead this country and they have put their best foot forward in the person of Peter Obi for the job. His closest obstacle to getting the ticket is a Fulani man whose brother must leave office after a two-year term of 8 years. In a fractious society that is tittering on the brink of collapse due to growing ethnic divisions, it beats my imagination that Atiku who calls himself a unifier does not see how an Igbo Presidency could forge back the bonds of unity that have almost melted away.
But I am happy that as it stands today, millions of Nigerians have realized that Peter Obi’s Presidency is no longer about Igbo Presidency, but about reclaiming the nation from the vampires who have sucked it dry to make it work for the majority of the people.
Obi’s candidacy has become a movement. Therefore, PDP faces a dilemma. The delegates who can be bribed to deliver Atiku cannot deliver the Presidency. Peter Obi who cannot bribe delegates will win the Presidency by a high margin. The party must choose wisely. Should they ignore the voice of the people and vote for their pockets, the party will go into extinction, as it obviously cannot survive another eight years as an opposition party. One hopes the party listens to the voice of reason.