It has indeed been an interesting season of political jousting, even though the time hardly seems right for the sort of discussion going on – 2023 succession battle. This is mainly for three reasons:
1. The current administration administration is barely six months old and talks about its succession is kind of premature.
2. The next presidential election is over three years away. Talking about such no doubt constitutes a huge distraction to the business of governance.
3. Discussing 2023 when there is a subsisting case over the conduct of the just concluded election in the supreme court is like foreclosing the case before the court.
Nevertheless, this is Nigeria and we have our unique political etiquette. Preperation for the next election more or less begins right after the conclusion of one- hence all the public racket over 2023. Interestingly, no where else is this racket louder than that coming from the South East.
This brings us to the essense of this article.
The strategy/claims of the South East is three pronged going by the records available on print and electronic media.
1. There are three major languages in the country, two of which have produced presidents since 1999. They claim to promote equity and fairness, the zone needs to produce the next president.
2. Threaten Nigeria with a whole scale regional support for IPOB in an event the zone is denied presidency in 2023.
3. To heal the wounds of the civil war and foster unity, they have to be given a foolproof chance to produce the next president.
To achieve this goal, they are demanding that the APC hands over the presidential ticket to the South East!
Now, let me state this clearly: NO ONE HAS FORBIDDEN THE SOUTH EAST FROM CONTESTING FOR THE PRESIDENCY. NO ONE CAN AND NO ONE WILL.
The demand being made is well within their right we must admit, the snag lies in the MEANS THROUGH WHICH THEY INTEND TO REALISE THE DEMAND.
A little history will suffice at this juncture.
1. The South East is by far the greatest regional supporters of PDP, since 1999 so much so that through the efforts of people from the Zone, PDP almost faught APC to a standstill in APC’s greatest stronghold, LAGOS. Remember in 2003, Lagos state was the only APC state (AD back then) that survived the onslaught of PDP, leading to the resurgence of the opposition from 2007 down to what we have today.
2. Even when the Great Ikemba, arguably the most respected figure from the South East in their political history, the South East still stood FIRMLY BEHIND PDP in a rare demonstration of love and loyalty.
3. When Buhari under the opposition, picked a vice presidential candidate from the South East, Chuba Okadigbo, the East STILL stood firmly behind PDP even though no one from the Zone was on the ballot!
4. Any politician from the South East that is seen covertly or overtly associating with APC is immediately ostracized by the people of the region. Okorocha and Umahi are most recent examples, but Umahi tona lesser extent because he remains a PDP member and he seems not to be doing too badly in comparison to others. Notwithstanding his membership of PDP, the fact he has a good report with the president or APC, he is seen as a low key saboteur, what they call SABO for short.
The list is endless.
That is for the East. Enter the West.
The West, just like the East, needs little introduction when it comes to their political leanings. What we have today as APC owes its formation and survival largely to the efforts of the West. From AD to ACN to APC with their sister CPC morphing from ANPP, the story is that of resilience, tact, hard work and sheer commitment.
Bear these in mind.
1. PDP is Twenty years old, whereas was barely formed in 2013. This means PDP is FOURTEEN YEARS OLDER than APC.
2. PDP has enjoyed and continues to enjoy unfettered loyalty in the South East right from inception. APC hasn’t a single governor in the East, therefore the zone isnt a stronghold of the party by any stretch of the imagination.
3. In an event Buhari goes on to complete his second term uninterruptedly, from the foregoing, commonsense dictates that the party’s presidential ticket goes to the South West. It is almost a birthright!!
Now, given all these, the questions arise:
1. On what basis is the East demanding the ticket of APC? What does their resumé with respect to the party look like?
2. On what basis should the West be denied the ticket?
3. What exactly is HINDERING THE EAST FROM DEMANDING THE PRESIDENTIAL TICKET FROM PDP,
a party they’ve expended incredible sweat and energy for?
4. Is the East willing to turn a new leaf from their belligerent posturing towards the APC in exchange for a consideration on having them on the ballot?
These are salient questions that need to be answered from the proponents of an East bound APC ticket.
In all of these, one undeniable joker reveals itself in their deck of cards for discerning minds. The joker Carrie’s a roadmap for a return of PDP to the seat of power. A good political observer will admit there is no chance in hell the East will vote APC should both tickets be (APC and PDP) be zoned to the region. Hell, these guys stood against Ikemba (rest his soul) when he contested, it will take a Jesus to sway them to vote anyone besides PDP at a presidential poll.
That is an undeniable fact!
THAT IS SIMPLY TANTAMOUNT TO CEDING POWER TO PDP ON A SILVER PLATTER!
The world over, political parties have but one cardinal objective – secure power and preserve it at all legitimate cost. The leaders of such parties then use the platforms to execute the party’s agenda for the people. No political party would commit itself to such a suicidal mission as is being advocated by proponents of a South East APC ticket – it doesn’t happen fellas.
My advice therefore are:
1. Impress it upon PDP it is time you be rewarded for your loyalty and hardwor for the party that spans over two decades. There is no zone with as much legitimate claims to the party’s ticket as you.
2. Shun all tactics of bullying and coercion. That isn’t gonna work with Nigerians.
3. Start courting fellow Nigerians and build bridges of friendship. If you want the APC ticket, work for it.
4. Stop investing too much emotions into politics. You didn’t become the most successful tribe (head to head) in trade and business by relying on your emotions. You did so through wisdom, tact and cunning. Apply the same principles to politics and see how far it takes you
May we never be denied the fruits of our labour, amen.
Thank you, and God bless Nigeria.