By Godson Azu
“Some men see things as they are and say, ‘Why’?, I dream of things that never were and say, ‘Why not’?…George Bernard Shaw”..
According to various available records, both national and international, it’s estimated that this group of indigenous people, inhabiting the area covering the original Eastern region, now broken into five south-eastern states of, Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo, with an estimated population of over 45million citizens. Though, this population estimate excludes the huge number of Igbo migrants, that are residing in all the major cities, and towns, across the North and West regions of the country, with a strong assumption that there are over 5million Igbo’s outside Igboland in Nigeria.
Igbo people according to historic tendencies, have a long and deep complicated origin, with the contentious linkages to the ancestral lands of Eri, and Igboukwu, but then it’s also clear that they had no strong trace to a central monarchical institutionalism, nor an imperial order. Rather the people of Igboland in ancient time indeed developed a system of governance and order, similar overtime with the ancient Greek form of traditional republic, such as the direct consultative assembly of NdiIgbo, ( Amala, Ime-Obi, and Umunna), which in those days and until recently, guaranteed equity and fairness among the people. NdiIgbo in their traditional republican nature, maintained and sustained a distinctive decentralised cephalous society, which was democratic and egalitarian to some significant extent.
NdiIgbo and great people of the Igbo Nation in the cause to reinventing the will of purpose after Fifty years of civil war in which over 3Million lives were lost including most of our family members and extended relations, of cause mine own father lost five of his children as a result of this misconceived and miss-managed civil war of freedom for nationalism and self-determination.
Though Late Odumegwu Ojukwu in his aspirative agitation miss calculated his capability of being able to lead the Igbo people to their promised nationality, Biafra Nation, and for the facts that he completely lost focus and true direction via history of time, with an overlapping interest of self-political actualisation over the years, which in many form downed the strong flowing spirit and quest for the continued agitation of Biafra and its actualisation.
But notwithstanding one cannot negate history, nor forget the past for the sake of coming evil, though our past helps to remind us of our mistakes and mis-guided actions, which in turn helps us to re-strategise and refocus for future actions.
Nigeria gained its self-determination, and independence, as a British colony in 1960, then became a full republic in 1963, with the new nation-state entering a complete period of direct indigenous rule
Following various versions of narratives, it is obvious that history is inevitable and the actualisation of a divine course cannot be denied nor killed by any opposing force, no matter how many times it goes through accidental interjections over time. The people of Igboland have constitutional and fundamental human rights to agitate for a “Free State” and “A Sovereign Nation” through positive dialogue, decisive diplomacy and democratic choice of inclusive participation and trust, at the federating governance.
As such we strongly recommend as voiced by the concerned indigenous people of Igboland, both its business and intellectual community, for a fair and just inclusive society, of equal panthers in nation building. The Igbo people who after the civil war, were treated with hindsight and mischief, has ended up to be the natural economic heartbeat of the federating state, as they took greater risk of reaching out to all parts of the country, forgoing the past and embracing the future opportunities, with its divine inherited spirit of enterprise and trade, they re-established many business ventures, trading posts, industries , properties, and massive infrastructural development of many states across the country, from Lagos, to Kano, Kaduna, Ogun, Plateau, Brono, Rivers, Edo and others.
We therefore demand that in the face of the present political structure default, and in the greater interest of sustaining the fragile territorial entity called Nigeria, the people of Igboland should be allowed to present candidates of equal rights on different political platforms as 2023, presidential candidates, for voters consideration across the country for presidential elections, to determine the future road map of a constructive socio-political restructuring of this nation-state, in line with the principle of compensatory politics, on which other major regional stakeholders have fairly and equally benefited from since the true of this fourth republic democratic dispensation.
To have participation of the public in large scale decision making requires more than simply providing an outlet for the public to vote. The public are often uninformed about key public issues.
Conventional polls represent the public’s surface impressions of sound bites and headlines, ie. public ‘opinion’. The public, subject to what social scientists have called “rational ignorance,” has little reason to confront trade-offs or invest time and effort in acquiring information or coming to a considered “judgment”. In order for the public to make good decisions when they vote there needs to be a process of “deliberation”.
Put simply, deliberation means that the “will of the people” is arrived at by a process in which people weigh competing reasons under good conditions. Basically this means the public should have an opportunity to learn about a topic, discuss it with others, question experts and have an equal say before exercising their vote. Deliberation must facilitate discussion among the public that is free from distortions of unequal political power, such as power one obtains through economic wealth or the support of interest groups.
The most common form of deliberation, mini-publics (commonly called “Citizen Juries”) in Australia, are in-person meetings of randomly selected and demographically representative members of the public. They typically operate with the assistance of trained moderators and the input of independent “domain” experts.
- Informed (and thus informative) – Arguments are supported by appropriate and reasonably accurate factual claims.
- Balanced – Arguments are met by contrary arguments.
- Conscientious – The participants should be willing to talk and listen, with civility and respect.
- Substantive – Arguments should be considered sincerely on their merits, not on how they are made or by who is making them.
- Comprehensive – All points of view held by significant portions of the population should receive attention.
Following the above principle it is now imperative for a dynamic shaft of the country’s democratic engagement, the state of ‘Rational Ignorance’ should not be a delimitation of the citizens or voters action or response to electoral activities, with an informed mind and judgement. Using the postulation of Harbamas, ‘Rational state of discussion’, Deliberative democracy principle would therefore tend to actualise the ‘Will-power’ of the people, as it arrives through a process by-which people are able to weigh competing reasons, and or actions under sound-fair conditions. A classic democracy is one in which the form of government formed has its supreme power is vested in the citizen, and well exercised directly by their elected representatives under a free/fair electoral system.
To those who may not be aware of the transcending facts, or may be pretending to be in denial of the facts, but then history remains a point of order. In 1998, before the general elections, there was a hidden resolution by powers that be in the North, to allow for a Yoruba candidates to run for the presidential seat on the platform of the two major parties, the PDP presented Chief Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo, while a coalition of AD-APP presented, Chief Olu Falae, this was done in their own wisdom, to compensate the Western region, for the damage done on Chief MKO Abiola and June 12 democracy denied, these made it possible either way for the Yoruba, (West), to produce the first president of the fourth republic in person of Former President Obasanjo, (1999-2007).
The second form of compensatory politics is the selection of Late Musa Yar’ Adua, by Chief Obasanjo, to replace him as the presidential candidate of the PDP, in 2007, this in order to compensate for his good friend and former military colleague, Gen. Shehu Yar’ Adua who fell victim of the Abacha Regime, and brother of Late Musa Yar’ Adua, fully shifting the Presidential race to the Northern region. The two major parties presented all Northern candidates, Musa Yar’ Adua for the PDP, Muhammed Buhari for the ANPP, and Abubarka Atiku for the AD. This compensatory politics went on to produce late Musa Yar’ Adua as the next president of the federal republic, (2007-2009). His administration was cut short due-to his sudden death, in 2009, which led to one of the most deep secrecy and statecraft atrocities by a few clicks, called the ‘Cabals’.
The whole controversy of who takes over the helm of affairs in Aso Rock, ended up producing Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, as the accidental president, 2009-2015. Thus, in 2011, the PDP failed to ensure the completion of the Northern presidential 8 years slot, as they filled in President Goodluck as the PDP candidate, against Muhammed Buhari of the CPC, we’ll all that is now history.
So, the third compensatory politics happened in 2019, once again in the spirit of allowing the North to complete their full 8 years slot in office, saw the two major parties presenting Northern candidates, with Abubakar Atiku for the PDP, while incumbent president Buhari for the APC, of cause he eventually won the election and is now completing a full uninterrupted two terms in office, with this fulfilled hopefully the political actors of the North should be fully satisfied with its right to governance of the federal republic of Nigeria.
Now, with all the above analysis or explanations, is it not right that on a fairground and a just cause in the interest of common good, that the Eastern region be given the right to its own compensatory politics, after over twenty years the fourth republic, the people of this region has paid huge sacrifice , as major a nation-state partners in the socio-economic and political development of the country.
There is a need for an understanding of what ‘Compensatory politics’ in terms of the psychological control strategies across the political spectrum. when people strive to be in control, and then face a controlled threat , they defensively endorse a principle that helps to compensate for the diminishing control. On the other hand, may we have a compensatory action, that reflects the redistribution of power, in a state of perceived inequalities.
“To put the world right in order, we must first put the nations in order, to put the nations in order, we must first put the family in order, to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life, and we must first set our hearts right” Confucius..
The past twenty years, why Ndilgbo is in demand for the 2023 presidency.
The fourth republic democratic transition has remained the most stable and longest civilian rule of Nigeria historic existence, and with these in the past twenty years, we have seen the successful application of compensatory politics, which has seen the composition of political power at the centre of government, favouring two major indigenous regions, of the three majority indigenous regions, the trajectory of East-West-North regions, simply translated to the Igbo’s of the East, the Yoruba’s of the West, and the Hausa-Fulani of the North.
it is obvious and clearly understood in view of various conspired political challenges, building-up from June12, 1993, up-until 1999, the resultant effect has remained that two, out-of the three major indigenous regions, have ruled and remain in power, as a result of consequential politics and leadership.
First, is the emergence of Chief Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo GCON, a political compensation to the West, as a result of June 12, who became President from 1999-2007, from Yoruba-West.
Second, is the emergence of late Alh. Musa Yar’Adua, GCON, another political compensation to the Yar’ Adus family and the North, President from 2007-2009.
Third, the accidental presidency of Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonthan GCON, from Vice President to President, with the death of his principal, President from, 2009-2015. Iiaw, (South)
Fourth, the emergence of Mr Muhammadu Buhari GCON, another political calculation and compensation to the Yar’ Adua, (North) tenure in office, President from 2015-date.
This is the state of the Nation-state political and democratic construct, at the centre of power, in a constitutional federation nation, then one would want to ask in good faith and fairness of purpose, what about the Igbo’s of the East, are they not party of the original indigenous nations of the trajectory, are there any substantial reasons why an Igbo cannot be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In the most recent times, NdiIgbo and their political actors, have been unfairly subjected and politically marginalised, to a mere third class citizen political actors, and an unfairly democratic benefactors of the political power-play at the centre of governance in an obviously complicated federalism, gradually becoming an oligarchy system of governance. Why can’t the Igbo’s be a fair equal benefactors of this sudden compensatory politics, having equally sacrificed so much, in terms of life’s and properties lost as a resultant ethno-religious crisis, but then remained resolute in ensuring the sustainability of the ever fragile unity and corporate existence of the country?
Thus, to many observers and keen socio-political commentators, who over the years, would want to lay the blame of Ndigbo national political misfortunes and or marginalisation on Ndigbo themselves, for their lack of political unity, constructive political culture, dynamic leadership, and collective sense of purpose, this political conditionality of Ndigbo is most times reflective of their republican nature a historic contestation, of’ Igbo Enwe Eze’(Igbo has no King), has made it very difficult for a definitive common voice, command and control structure of Ndigbo political identity. The divide and rule strategy of external elements, against Ndilgbo, has become an instrument of destruction even used by the Igbo’s against themselves, for selfish, greedy and self-centred political expenditures, such has become the case with its socio-cultural body founded in 1976, Ohaneze Ndigbo, which after over forty years of uniting Igbo heritage, is still struggling to speak with One strong voice, so also is the consistent political structure divide of the lgbo people, it is rather more obvious now that the indigenous people of Igboland needs a new dynamic political strand and strategy in modern Nigeria democratic transition to be an equal negotiator and electoral competitor at the centre of power in deduced federalism.
Ndilgbo all over, both at home and abroad should rise-up to the reality of time and purpose, they need to begin to believe in themselves as a formidable political entity, with an equal deliberative and delegative democratic disposition, in a nation-state where they are a substantial contributor to its socio-economic growth and infrastructural development.
There is an optimism that Ndilgbo has the capacity to produce change through actions from below through a wide spread demonstration of the people and the political class. The recognition of participation as an integral part of democracy, and the construction of political identity as exogenous versus endogenous to the democratic process.
Deliberative democracy: following this principle, and Jurgen Habermas, ‘Rational state of discourse’ under moral argumentations and legal-political conditionality, therefore the need for all the informed and informal political structures, across the ethno-political divide and or party politics, convene a pragmatic discourse group, for a fair formal deliberation on the inconsistency and sectional governance structure at the centre of power via a well descriptive and exposition facts. The North and West indigenous political regions, cannot be propagating and re-positioning itself for the Presidency 2023, after having completed eight years in office.
Renew Critical Trust: mistrust can indeed bring about a sense of disempowerment towards a marginalised group or communities democratic rights and therefore can spur apathy. The lack of trust among many Ndigbo institutional political actors, has greatly undermine its place and faith at the centre of power, and as such the vital need for ‘Critical Trust’ is imbedded in self-confidence, and positive conditionality of representation, by building on key competence, honesty, and benevolence, centered on a rule based trust. Ndilgbo now requires critical trust among themselves first, then further expresses such to external elements in the political mind-field.
Dynamic Political Leadership: The pre-colonial leadership style of Ndigbo was well rooted on the consultative voice of democracy, which enjoyed the active participation of community members on community affairs, the effectiveness of this style actually accounted for the survival of Ndigbo socio-political identity, referencing the quasi-democratic republican nature, community cohesion, and guarantying citizens equality. But then post-civil war 1970, to the present day has seen an unprecedented shift in Ndigbo socio-political leadership style, from its natural traditional republican nature, to that of a Neo-liberal capitalist politics, with less moral conditionality, the key elements being money and personality influence.
Today Ndigbo are well educated, highly exposed to world view, hard-working public/civil servants, great social entrepreneurs and business investors. An outstanding Igbo political leader must be able to dispense political goods in a transparent manner and also be accountable to the citizens, and then maintain a great level of fiscal discipline in power.
Therefore it would be a fair political equity for the contending regions, and the major political parties to accept, and present only Ndigbo politicians as their Presidential candidates in 2023, these if considered would re-enacted the democratic situations in 1999, and 2019, which would assuage Ndigbo’s feelings of hopelessness and disillusion to the centre of power. On this ground we make a fair recommendation for further consideration by Ndigbo home and abroad, the following moderate and constructive UmuIgbo political personalities, that have shown a proven excellent leadership and track records.
“The only motive that can keep politics pure is the motive of doing good for one’s country, and it’s people”. Henry Ford.
Choice of Candidates
Mr Peter Gregory Obi, is a business investor, banker, turned politician, who became the governor of Anambra State, from 2006-2014, under one of the most complicated tenure in office, he was the Vice Presidential candidate to Abubakar Atiku at the 2019, Presidential election. A refined humble political personality.
Prof. Kingsely Chiedu Moghalu, is an economist, lawyer, and a diplomat, of international repute, having served as deputy governor of CBN, and at the UN. He was the Presidential candidate of YPP at the 2019 Presidential elections, in which he did extremely well. A trained technocrat and human management
Senator Enyinna Harcourt Abaribe, serving distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, representing the people, and senatorial zone of Abia-South, and presently the Senate Minority Leader with a large heart and strong courage. A more pragmatic politician, with sound Igbo philosophical strands.
Hon Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah. OON, is an Oil Magnate, and business investor, turned politician, ran for the governorship of Abia state, on two occasions, and presently he is a serving Nigeria Minister of state for Mines and Steel Development. An emerging political prince.
Senator Ike Ekweremadu, is a trained lawyer, and politician, elected into the upper chamber of the House of Senate representing the people and Senatorial zone of Engun West, Engun State, in 2003, he was Deputy President of the House of Senate. A perfect gentleman in politics.
Following all forms of agitations and propagations for an Igbo presidency come 2023, by various interest groups and concerned respected individuals both within and outside Nigeria, which has kept Ndigbo battling with discordant concord and absolute confusion, it is apparently important that further consultations and constructive deliberations be pursued up/down the country in good faith, for the political future of Ndigbo and Alaigbo, and the positive actualisation of Igbo President 2023.
“I’ve always said that in politics, your enemies can’t hurt you, but your friends will kill you”. Ann Richards..
Mazi Godson Azu is a UK based political Strategist and Public commentator. Can reach him via email.. firstname.lastname@example.org