By Sampson Uhuegbu
Let me preface this viewpoint by congratulating Nigerians on this year’s 62th independent anniversary. The country is really of age but regrettably leaders that had pillotted its affairs since autonomy in 1960, had performed below expectation. Well, Happy birthday to Nigeria.
Elections had come and gone but the forthcoming polls are going to be exceptional- in the sense that Nigerians- having counted tooth with their tongues, would now boldly decide on the right political party candidates (From Presidential to States House of Assembly) that could change the urgly narratives.
Security challenges, hardship, unemployment, tribalism, geopolitical marginalization bedevelling the country appear to have opened the eyes of Nigerians; and for this horrible reason, even Security officers would give chance to the voters to responsibly cast their votes to the candidates of their choices undisturbed.
Also, staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC should be ready to conduct a credible elections in 2023 that would be certified free and fair by the common Nigerian. The Electoral umpire, in the past, can be said to have stepped on many toes. Nigerians are deeply aggrieved with the prior compromised nature of the INEC that gave rise to the production of unwanted leaders.
Voices have been raised for the President, Muhammadu Buhari to give nod to the clarion calls of the citizenry to bring to bear to the “Electronic Voting” which have been generally deemed to be acceptable by the people. The forthcoming election is going to wear a different look owing to divergence of personal decisions to elect credible people come 2023 electioneering year.
Let me boldly state here that the INEC can be said to have never reached up to expectations of Nigerians since the return of democracy- except the polls organized by the Prof. Humphrey Nwosu- led National Electoral Commission (NEC). It was adjudged the best excise because of its peculiar encompassibilty of “Option A-4” Voting system of which every Nigerian attested to its openness and general acceptance. Nigerians are smart, educated, enlightened and intelligent people. They decry it when things are done well; and applaud if it is responsibly done.
The electorate participated in the elections with a sense of civic responsibility. They saw it as part of their enshrined duty to change governance through their vote casts and for that cause, what they expected were results that never been manipulated and unfortunately, it was annulled by the military Government. Though, that urgly incident were frowned at. It is our believe that it would not happen again.
Also, the 1993 Presidential election between Mushud Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Bashir Today who vied under the platform of the National Republican Convention (NRC) shall remain evergreen on the memories of many concerned Nigerians but it is advisable to state here that South-east will change the trajectory of the Federal Republic of Nigeria if given the long- awaited opportunity to occupy the Presidential seat. When we talk about South-east, equity and fairness are emphasized. People in authority wilfully exclude others. On rotation, 1999 democracy returned, Obasanjo held 8 years. Ya’adua stepped in, Jonathan came in, Around 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari took over. Now, he is leaving office.
Fielding questions to Arise Television presenter, recently, the former APGA National Chairman, Victor Umeh, avered that Igbo have people who are highly competitive for the seat of Presidency. He maintained that Southeast has intellectuals that can pilot the affairs of the country if given the mandate in the next dispensation of the coming election that will hold in 2023.
All eyes are now on President Buhari to use his veto power to conduct fair election before his exit from office in 2023. He should bear in mind that he was a child of circumstance- owing to the polls that was held ; and it favoured him to have emerged as successor to Goodluck Jonathan in 2015. The outgone President had the resources to impose his preferred candidate on Nigerians but he allowed peace and peoples mandate to reign supreme.
Nigeria needs an untribalistic leader as President; One who will carry other ethnicities along in the plan of things without sentiments, dycotomy, bitterness, Hatred and rancour. Contestants of Southeast extraction are waxing stronger to be given change to pilot the affairs of the country since others have occupied the seat in the past.
The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari only favoured people in the Southeast that he is femiliar with; rather than generality of Igbo. People like the Minister for Education- State, Hon. Emeka Nwajiuba, Minister for Labour and Productivity; Dr. Chris Ngige, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu- who is heading Science & Technology, Former Abia Governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and others prominent sons and daughters who never got Federal appointments by neither dint of hardwork or familiarity but by act of recommendation made by the Buhari men.
Agitation by the majority of Igbo to be sovereined peaked during the political dispensation of President Muhammadu Buhari unlike the times of Olusegun Obasanjo, Umar Musa Yar’dua and Goodluck Jonathan.
Even now the present administration is elapsing, the entire country is still in turpsyturvy jostling for who takes over as President of Nigeria. It is funny that as big as the country is, there is still no clear-cut stipulation of its zoning formula which guides it.
By now, we are supposed to have outgrown confusion emanating from zoning issues and other related problems which had seemingly drawn the country backwards because no ethnicity is certain of holding the mantle of leadership, when to recontest or handover power to another group.
South East Governors have been redundant and silence in respect to the need to cede power to the Southeast extraction despite frantic efforts of concerned people in the zone. None speaks out concerning issues affecting the Imo, Abia, Enugu, Anambra and Ebonyi .
Only minding their respective States is squarely what they are known for. No wonder the presidency had, for so long, taken advantage of their muteness to unleash unwarranted marginalization on the zone without considering deep plights of people of the geopolitical district who have contributed to the growth of the country.
Even with the recent president Buhari’s accent to the Electoral act amendment bill, it is the hope of Nigerians that no one should impinge on this enshrined system which can be said to a welcome development.
The Labour Party Presidential Candidate; Mr Peter Obi, APC Candidate; Ahmed Tinubu and that of the PDP; Atiku Abubakar should bear in mind that gone were the days elections were manipulated by rigging. This time, Nigerians are watching, monitoring and ever ready to support their preferred candidate for presidency in 2023.