The south-east will produce Nigeria’s next president in 2023, but not at a good moment. The national mood today is not conducive to a south-east-derived president. APC and PDP presidential tickets should be zoned to the south-east for moral reasons, but we lack time and opportunity. Our moment has come, but not yet.
Emotions. Morality. Neither belong in politics. We may all sneer about how the south-east is marginalised and how the next president must be from the region. But it’s sentimental. Yes, but not realistically. The political elite in the south-east established the conditions for this clear handicap. The mood is off.
Is there a national politician from the SE today? Doubtful. Most of them are ethnic conquistadors who only attract individuals who speak their language and sympathize with the imaginary Biafra.
Parties want to win. Every political party’s main purpose. If the APC nominates former Lagos governor Bola Tinubu for president and the PDP chooses the south-east, who can challenge the Jagaban? Maybe none. Anyim Pius Anyim? Or Obi? These two are only popular locally. In fact, Anyim is unpopular, even in Ebonyi, his home state. They can’t equal Tinubu’s fero
Let’s be honest. Tinubu trumps Peter Obi. A sectional election with exclusively Igbo votes would give the former Anambra governor a chance. But this is national politics, and every Nigerian will have a say.
Also, what has Peter Obi accomplished at the national level? Does he have a broad political network? This is not a criticism of the former Anambra governor’s leadership. He is a clever and disciplined politician, but the Nigerian electorate may be unaware of this. Maybe they don’t know Peter Obi.
Peter Obi has played politics in a small arena. He confined himself to policy analysis on the Platform, a sectional pigeonhole. Obi will make a good president, but he has refused to play politics.
Peter Obi will succeed in a political environment where only merit, competence, antecedents, and shown leadership skills are considered. But Nigeria is a long way off. Peter Obi has already lost the election by virtue of his origins in the south-east.
That’s it. It’s not about morals or what should be. We know the perfect Nigerian presidential candidate. The entrenched system’s contrivances prevent the ideal from surviving. So the ideal stays ideal.
Also, the terrorism of Biafra agitators seems to have created a national animus for the south-east. The South-East political class has handled the ongoing agitation and killings poorly. Until now, none of them has criticized or denounced Igbo terrorism in the region. But the political elite, some of whom have rationalised the agitators’ illegality, show little indignation. Peter Obi, what has he said regarding the Biafra agitators’ cannibalism and rape?
For some Nigerians, the political leaders and inhabitants of the south-east are implicated in the violence, especially those from the north who live and work there. The south-political east’s leaders have not been kind to this plague. The political establishment hostile to President Muhammadu Buhari’s government appears to have given tacit support to the killings.
The south-east political establishment and elite’s silence to Biafra agitators’ butchery is roaring.
The political class spent the last seven years antagonising particular groups and financing ugly ethnic propaganda instead of organizing and forming partnerships.
As I stated previously, if south-east political leaders had worked hard for six years to build coalitions and mobilize consciences, the appropriate conditions would have been set for the major political parties to zone the presidency to the south-east in 2023.
Currently, any candidate from the south-east has already lost the election. No emotions here; just realpolitik.