New Telegraph

Nigeria 2023: A case for an inclusive country

As the 2023 general election approaches in Nigeria, the Socratic maxim which holds that “The unexamined life is not worth living” readily comes to mind. Every period of election should be preceded by frank examinations of the state of the nation by the electorate.

It is the findings of this stock-taking that should guide the thumbs of the electorate on the ballot papers. For years, there has been consensus that the greatest challenge to the Nigerian nation is failure of leadership. According to Prof. Chinua Achebe of blessed memories in his book: ‘The Trouble With Nigeria’: “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership”.

In fact, Nigeria’s leadership problem climaxed as from 2015 with the election of President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR), a man who seemingly had good intentions and visions for Nigeria but whose health conditions obviously robbed of the energy and vigour necessary to prosecute the manifesto of his presidency. This situation was further compounded by the selfish exploitation of this leadership’s indisposition to hijack the presidency by friends and associates of the president who were positioned to run with the manifesto and visions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidency.

The consequences of this were unprecedented administrative lethargy, politicization of the anticorruption war, rise in corruption, marginalization of sections of the country as well as disunity among the federating units of the Nigeria nation. Disunity has, in turn, birthed the monster of insecurity; while the quartet of leadership failure, corruption, disunity and insecurity combined to retard the development of the country and give rise to myriads of agitations and restiveness which have continued to threaten the corporate existence of the Nigerian nation at all fronts.

The 2023 presidential election offers the Nigerian nation a one-all opportunity to re-invent herself. Yes, it is an opportunity to elect a credible, viable and visionary president of the country. For our purpose, a credible and viable president of Nigeria is a detribalised president who understands the problems of the country, knows how to solve the problems of the country and has both the capacity and the political will to solve the problems.

A credible president must also be healthy enough to coordinate and be in charge of his presidency. Given the experiences of Nigeria since the inception of the Buhari-led APC presidency, this is so important that it deserves to be unambiguously captured in the Nigerian constitution. In the same vein, the 2023 general elections equally offers the electorate the opportunity to positively confront our history and solve the intractable problem of disunity and the marginalization of a section of the country; and heal the Nigerian nation of the deadly malaise.

In fact, it is an opportunity to give comprehensive and ultimate vent to the last of the 52-year old Reconciliation, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation (3Rs) policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria which arose from the civil war between 1967 and 1970. To a large extent, the first two Rs – Reconciliation and Reconstruction have been implemented to reasonable extents that relics of the Nigerian civil war have been assembled at war museums; and that Ndi Igbo now live and ply their businesses at all nooks and crannies of Nigeria.

Ndi Igbo have more than any other ethnic group demonstrated radical patriotism and belief in the Nigerian project by investing their resources and lives in the development of all parts of Nigeria where they live. With the zoning of the 2023 Nigerian presidency to Southern Nigeria by most of the major political parties, Nigerians are expected to utilize the opportunity of the 2023 presidential election to re-invent an all-inclusive Nigeria by micro-zoning the 2023 presidency to Ndi Igbo of the Southeast given the impressive array of presidential materials who understand the challenges of Nigeria and are disposed to tackling them headlong if given the opportunity of the presidency in the Southeast. That these people have declared interest in the 2023 presidential contest is heart-warming.

The fact that the South South through Dr. Goodluck Jonathan served the country in the capacity of president for six years (2009 – 2015) and in the capacity of vice president for two years (2007 – 2009); while the Southwest through Chief Olusegun Obasanjo served the country in the capacity of president for eight years between 1999 and 2007, while Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, another South westerner, would be rounding off his eight years as Nigeria’s second citizen in 2023 reinforcing this request for a Nigerian president of Southeast extraction in 2023.

It is on record that only Ndi Igbo of the Southeast have neither served in the capacity of the president of Nigeria since 52 years ago when the civil war ended, nor in the capacity of vice president of Nigeria since the present republic. If the requests of several patriotic and wellmeaning Nigerians for a Nigerian president of Southeast extraction is heeded in the 2023 presidential election, the country must have fully utilized the opportunity to solve the challenges of leadership and, by extension, those of corruption and insecurity; thereby re-inventing an all-inclusive Nigeria.

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