“Every expectation is unrealistic until it is made a spectacular reality through inspiration, hard work, and persistence.”
― Stewart Stafford
When ‘Project Nigerian President of Igbo Extraction’ was launched in 2019 by a team of concerned intellectuals and professionals from the Eastern part, and organized the national conversation in Abuja in March 2020 to kick-start their campaign, nobody gave it a chance. But it has succeeded against all the odds. All the leading political parties in the 2023 Presidential Election picked their candidates from the South East. The choice of the ruling party was a shocker.
“What could have informed his choice?” one perplexed politician asked a colleague. “What else except his unassuming nature? Have you ever heard he had a problem with anybody since his public life spanning decades?”
“Sure humility pays,” the man couldn’t agree less, nodding. “Yes, in a multi-ethnic country such as Nigeria, the real staying power for any politician who hopes to go far in politics let alone becoming the president of the country is to be there as if he or she is not there. All the presidents of Nigeria have never directly aspired to that office. They were chosen by the critical power stakeholders and influencers based on their seeming humility and being unity symbols…”
Indeed, some issues remained inconceivable for many months before the historic election. One was zoning the presidential seat to South East Nigeria, the region, which waged a war of survival 50 years ago on the rest of the country when the head of state from their place was assassinated and two successive pogroms were visited on their people, following a military coup led predominantly by officers from their ethnic group.
The nation only returned to a democratic dispensation after a long spell of military rule, which nearly ruined the nation when one of the juntas annulled the June 12, 1993 presidential election. The inherent imbalances between North and South Nigeria have not allowed the unity of the country and have politicised and compromised both national security and development. The departing colonists, the British, ensured they handed over power to the North ostensibly to maintain their influence on the country by proxy, since that part of the country had been their dependable allies while colonialism lasted.
The desire to retain power in the north after the departure of colonial Britain, when Nigeria attained flag independence but remained mere geographical expression, led the coalition government to continue with the manipulations, which left much frustration in the trail and further divided the country, inspiring the nation’s first coup d’état by the five young majors.
Ostensibly to cure this wrong, the January 1966 military coup took place in Nigeria but was badly mismanaged and pitted the Igbos against the North. It ultimately led to the nation’s civil war in which three million were believed to have died. Fifty years after, an Igbo man was unexpectedly elected president of Nigeria, ending the animosity caused by the first military coup and the civil war in the country and put the giant of Africa back on the path progressive development.
Yes a dream that came true and through, like all great projects started and ended.
– Dr. Law Mefor is an Abuja based Forensic/Social Psychologist and Journalist; email: email@example.com; Tel.: +234-905 642 4375; tweet: @LawMefor1.