A The Igbo saying says that a child who dances a melodious “surugede” does not know that the “surugede” is a song of the spirits. The road to the 2023 general election is filled with many “sururgede” dancers. But, in an effort to outdo each other, they fail to realize that those who beat the drums for them in the bush are possessed by the spirit of greed and disaster.
Take the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), for example. Here is a party that has ruled Nigeria for 16 years. During these 16 years, the Southeast was firmly behind him. In fact, the region played a major role in the formation of the party. Someone like the former vice-president, the late Dr Alex Ekwueme, even had to give up his ambition to be president so that the South West could be appeased for the injustice done to the region with the cancellation of the June 12, 1993 presidential election presumably won by late MKO leader Abiola.
Even in the last general election, the people of the Southeast stood behind the PDP despite all odds. For this reason, they faced different types of marginalization and exclusion.
Today, when the PDP is supposed to repay, he started playing Russian roulette with the area. Last Wednesday, May 11, the party dropped zoning and opened its presidential race. According to the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC), it took this action on the recommendation of its National Zoning Committee. The committee, led by Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom, had recommended that the presidential race be left open.
The position of the PDP has annoyed many individuals and groups. The Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) said the PDP had dug its own grave. The socio-cultural organization Apex Igbo, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, noted that the action of the opposition party was the height of deception and betrayal.
The party had maintained the principle of zoning to give each section of the country a sense of belonging. It is even enshrined in its constitution. This is why the late President Umaru Yar’Adua of the North West took over from former President Olusegun Obasanjo of the South West when the latter completed his term in 2007. When Yar’Adua died in 2010, his deputy, Goodluck Jonathan, from South-South, succeeds him. After Jonathan, the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari, also from the North West, assumed leadership. All of this was in line with the principle of zoning in practice both in the PDP and in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party.
The year 2023 is supposed to be the year of the Southeast, having not produced a president since the advent of this democratic dispensation in 1999. Even before 1999, the Southeast suffered from marginalization in ruling circles. The North has always dominated the leadership at the center.
Based on this fact, some patriotic and honest statesmen have advised that the South East be allowed to produce the president in 2023 for the sake of fairness, fairness and justice. Among them, the leader of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo; the leader of PANDEF, Chief Edwin Clark; and veteran statesman, Tanko Yakassai, among others.
Pa Adebanjo put it this way: “While it is now the turn of the South and the Southeast, they are now proposing a new theory – the question of merit. If it was based on merit, until today, until your kingdom come, the east alone will produce the president.
Warning that there may not be a Nigeria without zoning in 2023, Chief Clark recently said on Arise Television: “Nigeria stood on three legs, and it has never been stable since the one of the legs was destroyed during the civil war. If the zoning, which will heal the wounds, is not done, there will be no Nigeria. No one will stay in this country as a second class citizen. The North believes its people can be used to oppress other Nigerians. This is unacceptable. The era of that is over. There are many good northerners but the Fulani want to dominate everywhere.
The president of the Middle Belt Forum, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, spoke in the same direction. According to him, “Nigeria cannot be a stable and prosperous country, if some of its constituent parts behave as if they are the natural masters of everyone and everyone exists at their will and to serve them.”
Unfortunately, these voices of reason and altruism have been drowned in the ocean of selfishness. Some northerners who had taken advantage of the zoning arrangement and threatened fire and brimstone when there were attempts to compromise this principle turned 360 degrees against the zoning. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar warned in 2010 that the PDP should abandon zoning at its peril. Now people like him have been lobbying the opposition party to open up their presidential contest so they too can participate.
Even within the ruling party, some selfish northern interests are plotting to impose Jonathan as their candidate. Unbeknownst to him, as he claimed, some herders bought the 100 million naira presidential nomination and APC expressions of interest forms for him. Here’s someone the North seriously opposed in the run-up to the 2015 presidential election and variously portrayed him as ignorant, weak and incompetent. The interest of those who push him today to run for the presidency is mainly to use it to prevent the Southeast from getting closer to the seat of power. They know that Jonathan can only rule for one term, if he wins. If that happens, the North will return to power for another eight years.
Who’s fooling who? The framers of our Constitution were not stupid when they included Article 14(3), which is on the principle of federal character in the 1999 Constitution. In doing so, they realized that Nigeria is a heterogeneous society where fairness, equity and justice must be anchored to engender peace and unity. The quota system in our school system is part of this conscious effort to accompany each section of the country on our development journey. The rotation or sharing of political mandates is part of this principle.
Today, this system is in danger. If the Southeast is denied the opportunity to produce the president in 2023, it will be the collapse of zoning as we know it. The consequences will be catastrophic.
First, unrest in the Southeast will intensify. The government has only succeeded in banning the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on paper. In reality, the organization is still a powerful force in the region. There are other motley groups who claim to fight for the emancipation of the peoples of the Southeast. Unknown gunmen are among them. They killed security guards in the area without much challenge from anyone.
Second, there may be no elections in the region if there is no candidate from the Southeast as a presidential candidate in any of the major parties. Ohanaeze Ndigbo hinted at this possibility. Those who think this poses no threat to the country should think twice. If a significant part of the country boycotts the elections, it will send a very bad signal to the international community. Investors will never come in such a situation and the country risks becoming ungovernable.
Two legal luminaries, Afe Babalola and Robert Clarke, may have anticipated this scenario when they advocated a caretaker government and extending the current administration’s term by six months, respectively. While Babalola proposed setting up an interim national government to resolve some issues affecting Nigeria, Clarke proposed that Buhari’s term be extended to allow him to tackle insecurity before holding elections in 2023. if their proposals are distasteful, they are a sign that all is not well with our country and its transition program.
2023 will be a defining year for Nigeria. I have said it before and it is worth repeating that the presidential slot of 2023 should be ceded to the Southeast. It is the only major region that does not yet occupy the seat of power in the center. The Southwest has served two eight-year terms and is currently serving two additional eight-year terms as Vice President. Anyone from this area who aspires to be president in 2023 does not like this country. Any northerner who wants to be president after Buhari in 2023 does not want peace in Nigeria. These people are the sururgede dancers. And their dance steps portend a grave danger to the survival of this country.
Re: Fly to paradise at a reduced price
Kasmir“the ignorant” are obviously looking for shortcuts to heaven despite the scriptures which state that all we need is to be “truly born again” and to wait for “the hope of our calling” – Jesus. No one knows the hour when the rapture would occur, in which the saints would be “taken up into the air with Christ” and the dead would rise from their sleep. Only the father knows the time! We are certainly at the end time. The Bible states that people like Pastor Abraham would manifest and exploit “the mugus” among us. Disaster awaits those who take the words of these so-called hook, line and sinker men of God. Pastor Abraham wants to satisfy his stomach and get rich. They look to him rather than ‘looking at the word and at Jesus’ – who is ‘the author and finisher of our faith’. The wrath of God awaits him on the day of judgment when the sheep will be separated from the goats like him. I mourn Abba father over all reprobate souls like him who refuse to sincerely repent IJN!
– Mike, Mushin, Lagos, +2348161114572
Bible made us realize that judgment will come from the pulpit because of so much evil that our so-called pastors always do to make money. I believe that the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria have a role to play in purifying our Christianity before the so-called pastors destroy it. How can a pastor ask members to pay money for their trip to heaven? Where did God tell him to charge members?
– Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535