By Uche Nwosu
As the 2023 elections draw near, political actors have started gathering again. Their gain plan is to weigh the options best suited for the success of their game and how best to meander and make a better kill. No political leader relies on hope as a political strategy, but actions that will produce reliable result.
Apparently, that was the reason Aswaju Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State and National leader of All Peoples Congress (APC) went to banter (as they claimed) with the his colleague, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, former governor of Abia State and Senator representing Abia North in the Senate in his (Kalu’s) residence in Abuja.
Orji Kalu is also the Chief Whip of the upper legislative assembly. The details of the parley are yet to be made public, but scanty reports say Kalu hosted Tinubu in a no hold bare discussion where the two leaders who governed their respective states from 1999 to 2007 had some hearty tête-à-tête.
Interestingly, the two leaders are nursing presidential ambition for 2023 (or so it seems) and are in the same party, the APC. The meeting lasted for 2 hours 30minutes behind closed doors. The parley, Tinubu later told news hounds, “centered on the development of the country”. His word, “We discussed the way forward for the country, and this country is important and greater than any one’s personal ambition.
“We have been together and concerned about the stability, progress, development and security of the country. The future of our youth is more critically important than selfish and personal intentions”. What rubbish!
The worry is that the visit of the APC National leader to Orji Kalu’s house may not be without circumvention on the interest of Ndigbo. The point is that the APC National leader is deep in his ambition of ruling Nigeria from 2023 despite entreaties from well meaning Nigerians and even mother-nature that it is not the turn of the Yorubas this time. Nigeria’s cake is shared based on federal character principle i.e. turn by turn. That Tinubu has twice collapsed clamouring for this bid, a development that nearly claimed his life, shows how unwanted he’ll be in Aso Rock.
Twice, he was rushed to England for treatment and ones to France. Is Bola Tinubu so daft? Can’t he read between the lines to appreciate when God is talking? Must he rule Nigeria on a stretcher? In 1994, Bola Tinubu fled Nigeria through the Republic of Benin to the United States when Gen Sani Abacha, the then maximum ruler and Military Head of State, barged on him and other leaders of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) over their persistence demand and insistence for the restoration of Chief MKO Abiola’s mandate. Abiola, by the way, was the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election which was annulled by Military President Ibrahim Babangida.
Bola Tinubu sang as a canon doctrine, the gospel of equity, fairness and justice. He was prepared to lay down his life over it. He and other compatriots took it as a challenge to enthrone and restore the mandate they thought was freely given to Abiola by the Nigerian electorates. Secondly, and more importantly too, his acclaimed avowal to fight for the entrenchment of equity, justice and fairness in Nigeria’s public space was all over the air.
Bola Tinubu parroted the principle of Federal Character in politics and in social lives of the people with unrestrained refrain and in fact participated in several rallies which indeed pricked the intolerant regime of Gen Abacha. The regime came for his head to serve as deterrent.
Tinubu granted several interviews, denouncing the perpetual capture of power by a section of the country and criticised the “Born to Rule” mentality of a segment of this nation. Abacha’s men, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha et al couldn’t take it any longer; and therefore went for his soul. Tinubu, the then Senator, fled the country.
The activities of the NADECO adherents, including our dear Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu and later Dr Alex Ekwueme, former Vice President, led to the emergence of the Fourth Republic after the death of Abacha and Abiola. However, in the wisdom of those that suddenly emerged and saw themselves as undertakers, Gen Olusegun Obasanjo, a Yoruba from Ogun, Southwest, Nigeria was shepherded into Aso Rock with governmental powers against the preferred choice of Alex Ekwueme, who fought the lion in its den and secured the Fourth Republic.
Their (i.e Gen Babangida, Gen Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, Gen Abdusalam Abubakar who was appointed Head of State after Abacha’s sudden death) action was to placate the Yorubas and instate equity in the polity. It was also their claim that ceding the Presidential seat to the Yorubas would enhance national cohesion and ensure the reign of peace and unity in the troubled nation. And so, this political mutation eased off Ekwueme from the Presidency.
Indeed, the curve and vicious design saw the two Presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), formed by Alex Ekwueme, and the amalgamation of Alliance for Democracy (AD) and All Peoples Party (APP) going to the Southwest region. While Obasanjo contested under the PDP, Chief Olu Falae vied under the amalgam of AD/APP. The only Igbo man in the Presidential race, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu (former governor of Abia State) who won the ticket of the APP was equally edged out of the race in a well orchestrated plot.
Obasanjo won the Presidential election in 1999 and ruled for eight years. Thereafter, a Northerner, Alhaji Musa Yar’Adua from the Northwest took over, but died in office after two years. Dr Goodluck Jonathan, his deputy, from the South-south, assumed leadership of the nation after his death.
In 2015, Gen Muhammadu Buhari from the Northwest emerged based on the unwritten agreement on rotation of the Presidency between Northern and Southern Nigeria. It will be recalled that this gentleman’s agreement was etched on equity, justice and fairness, with the belief that if strictly adhered to, it will enthrone peace and unity in the country. Therefore, since Muhammadu Buhari’s tenancy of Aso Rock expires in May 2023, the most suitable Nigerian to occupy the nation’s number one seat of power will be no other person than a man or woman from the Southeast geopolitical region. No more no less.
In order words, the Presidency that would stage a comeback in 2023 to the Southern Nigeria should navigate its way to the Southeast. That is why the likes of Bola Tinubu should be excreted out of race by all means possible. The two major political parties in the Nigeria – APC and PDP should shop for candidates from the Southeast otherwise there won’t be any Nigeria.
It is worrisome that the likes of Orji Kalu, known to scuttle Southeast ambition of clinching the Presidency have come back to the scene, ready to do the dirty job once again. What would he have discussed with Bola Tinubu; to cede the APC Presidential ticket to him (Tinubu) with the mandate of Ndigbo or what? What?? What??? Could Tinubu, who is known to be neck deep in his ambition of serving as the next landlord of Aso Rock have visited Orji Kalu in his private residence without extracting an assurance of Orji’s support?
Or could it be that Tinubu visited Orji for the fun of it? Or apparently to work for Orji Kalu in the race? Hee! What manner of man is this Orji Kalu? Has he ever pondered over the despicable plight of the Southeast where the roads and other infrastructures are lacking in totality? Where the rail lines are moribund, millions of jobless graduates daily roam the streets, headquarters or semi headquarters of federal institutions like Military. Immigration, Police, Air Force, Navy, Civil Defence, NNPC etc are not in sight?
Has he reflected on the fact that the eminent Igbos such as Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr Michael Okpara, Chief Mbonu Ojike, Dr Nwafor Orizu, Dr K.O. Mbadiwe, Dr Akanu Ibiam, Maj Gen Thomas Aguiyi Ironsi etc, fought for the Independence of this country and indeed made the nation the bastion of macro socioeconomic headwinds until the buccaneers/undertakers/barbarians/nihilists came for the kill?
Orji Kalu should tell his friend, Bola Tinubu this: No Southeasterner in Aso Rock in 2023, No Nigeria from thence.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.