By Clement Obikee
Not being a fan of the All Progressives Congress (APC), I have deliberately stayed away from commenting on what hopes APC holds for the South East, especially with the zone’s quest for justice, equity and fairness in power sharing. I have this notion that APC as a political party was founded and built on the conspiracy of excluding the South East from political leadership and forcing them to a slow psychological death.
I hope I am wrong , that all my misgivings about the party are wrong and that President Muhammadu Buhari and the party will prove me wrong. To prove me wrong, all that Buhari needs do is what is expected of a prudent man, a reasonable man faced with similar circumstances and challenges he now face as President of Nigeria.
What has polarized the countr, threatening the foundation of its existence, is lack of justice, equity and fairness in power sharing. If I were the President, having accomplished the goal of elevating Fulani hegemony, I would begin to right the wrongs done to the Igbo, whatever is the bad blood they may have mutually developed. It takes one side to force a truce. Both the knife and yam are in his hands.
Before now, the South East APC may not have paraded quality politicians whom the North and the rest of the country may trust as a steady hand. I had also restrained myself from injecting myself into the party’s conversation until I satisfied myself of the caliber of men from the zone willing to stake their integrity and resources to fly the party’s flag for the number one job.
According to Pa Ayo Adebanjo, if the criterion for electing a Nigerian President is simply by merit, the South East has the potential to produce Nigeria’s president till kingdom come. When Nigeria attained independence in 1960, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was on track to become Nigeria’s first Prime Minister. The North was not even ready for self-governance. The only reason Dr. Azikiwe refused to forge an alliance with Awolowo’s Action Congress was to allay the fears of the North. He doesn’t want a Nigeria where the North will be conquered people. That was what an alliance between the Western Region and Eastern Region would portend.
2023 presents an opportunity for APC to yield some ground to the South East. If merit, experience and competence are what they want, the South East boasts of some of the country’s very best and they abound inside APC.
I am excited that some of our very best are stepping forward to pick the party’s nomination form. I commend such serious aspirants like my brother with a lion heart, Dr. Chris Ngige, former governor of Anambra State, former Senator and Minister of Labor and Employment. Ngige is a trusted hand and one of the founding fathers of APC; Senator Orji Uzo Kalu, former governor of Abia State and current Chief Whip of the Senate; Engr. Dave Umahi, the executive governor of Ebonyi State, who became a billionaire at the age of 25; Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, author, engineer, first civilian governor of Abia State and Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation; and Emeka Nwajiuba, lawyer, Minister of State for Education, former chairman of TETFund Board of Trustees; and the man who stood strong and saved democracy in Nigeria, Senator (Dr.) Ken Nnamani, who was a Senate President at a very trying period.
He wrote his name in gold and shown like a diamond when he led the Senate to abort the absurdity called third term agenda of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Forget that the latter had shamelessly continued to deny he wanted to foist a third term, the fact is that the agenda was real and the Senator Nnamani-led Senate did the most patriotic duty by rejecting the constitution amendment that would have elongated the tenure of the President. If that move had succeeded, there would have been no end to tenure elongation and democracy would have been dead in Nigeria. For this singular reason Dr. Nnamani earned my respect and I am particularly excited that he has decided to once again be his own man. When you are your own man, you can become anything the universe want you to be.
Prior to the last APC convention, everyone following the event concluded that Dr. Nnamani, being the highest-ranking political office holder from Enugu State, was going to emerge as the Deputy National Chairman of the party. For some odd reasons, that didn’t happen. Why?
When I discussed the APC convention with a mutual friend, I told him that, sometimes, God denies you a position because He is preparing you for a better future. I reminded him of how Senator Frank Ibezim struggled to become a member of the House of Representative but lost because God had better plans. Frank’s detractors thought his political career was over, but they failed to reckon with God. A few months after, the senator representing his senatorial district died, thus creating a vacuum. Frank contested for the vacant position and won. That’s the hand of God.
I believe there is a huge probability of the hand of God in Dr. Nnamani’s decision to run for President. I don’t know him as a desperate politician, but I can vouch for his love for the country, his trust in democracy and his desperation to serve and change the nation for good.
Who is Senator Ken Nnamani? Wikipedia listed Ken Ugwu Nnamani as a Nigerian politician who was President of the Senate of Nigeria from 2005 to 2007. As a then member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), he was elected to the Senate from Enugu East Senatorial District of Enugu State in 2003 and served in the Senate until 2007.
Nnamani was born on November 2, 1948, in Enugu. He holds both BBA and MBA degrees from the Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and has worked for Du Pont De Nemours International and Geneva and Nova Chemicals International as marketing executive and later as a consultant. He was the principal consultant, Maredec Limited.
He was appointed chairman of the Senate Committee on Federal Character & Governmental Affairs and member of Committees on Privatization, Federal Capital Territory and Appropriation & Finance. He became President of the Senate of Nigeria from April 5, 2005, to 2007, taking this post after Adolphus Wabara resigned due to allegations of corruption.
Speaking in August 2006, Nnamani said, “In a multicultural and multi-religious country like Nigeria, credible elections provide platforms for different constituents of the republic to continue to collaborate to promote the good of all. The 2023 election is arguably the most important and consequential election in Nigeria. The quest by Ndigbo to have one of their own ascend the presidential throne is not anchored only on the precepts of equity, fairness and justice but also on the fact that Ndigbo are the most patriotic Nigerians, the glue that is holding this country together and the missing link in the country’s search for peace.”
When 94-year-old Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, is preaching equity and justice. When a soon-to-be 95-year-old Chief Edwin Clark, Nigeria’s first Minister of Information, and leader of PANDEF preaches equity. When Dr. Patrick Dogu of the Middle Belt Forum is preaching Justice and Equity, it can only be for the good of the country.
I am happy that quality minds like Dr. Nnamani and others are presenting APC with a wide range of choices to pick from the South East. To Ken and these men , I give my respects!
•Obikee wrote from Abuja; email@example.com
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