by Diana-Abasi Alphonsus Udoh
But it is appalling that a Presidential or Vice Presidential material can not be found in a region which has produced bright and competent minds like Professor Charles Soludo (former CBN Governor), Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Gov. Rochas Okorocha, Senator Chris Ngige, Chinua Achebe, Obiageli Ezekwesili, just to mention but a few.
The initial pronouncement by some political leaders on the platform of the major opposition party in Nigeria APC that it does not matter where their Presidential or Vice Presidential candidates are sourced from and also it is inconsequential of what faith they may observe might have dashed any hopes of the South East of having one of their own in Aso Rock as early as 2015. This was fuelled by rumors then that it was likely a joint Presidential ticket of Former Military Head of State General Muhammadu Buhari and the former governor of Lagos State Senator Bola Tinubu was on the cards. But a new twist to the equation was introduced a week ago when it was alleged that 16 governors on the platform of the party have hijacked the party structure from the claws of Tinubu and have gone ahead to instal their loyalist for the upcoming convention in the persons of Gov. Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State and Senator Chris Ngige of Anambra State as Chairman and Secretary respectively of the party National Convention Planning Committee thereby thwarting the initial choice of Alhaji Abubakar Baraje a former Acting National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and handpicked choice of Tinubu. This change of gameplan may have distorted and put to bed the much touted Muslim-Muslim Presidential ticket of the party.
However, with the party structures playing into the hands of the APC governors and with their loyalist in place for the upcoming convention, a new Govs Kwankwaso/Ameachi joint Presidential ticket is being discussed in hush tone. If the current political equation were to be true it will still mean that the South East will be further kept out of Aso Rock equation yet again since democratic structures returned to the country in 1999.
A look at the Presidential ticket since 1999 shows that if any position be it President or Vice President were to be zoned to any region in the south, equity and fair play demands that the South East shoud be considered in the scripts of the country’s major political party or it may further deepen the wounds of the region whose leaders have continuously cried that they were still suffering from wounds of waging the civil war. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had taken 8 years as President from the South West and by 2015 Goodluck Jonathan will have accumulated 8 years as a Vice President, Acting President and President while the South East will have had zero years in Aso Rock.
But it is appalling that a Presidential or Vice Presidential material cannot be found in a region which has produced bright and competent minds like Professor Charles Soludo (former CBN Governor), Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Gov. Rochas Okorocha, Senator Chris Ngige, Chinua Achebe, Obiageli Ezekwesili, just to mention but a few.
From the foregoing and squabbles currently heating up in the nation’s major opposition party, it is obvious that the initial idea of a Muslim-Muslim Presidential ticket was always a hard sell to present to the generality of Nigerians and also even after the governors on the platform of the party has appeared to snatch the party’s structures from the grip of Tinubu it may not yet be hurrah for them as the almost perennial question of a South East candidate in the Presidential race will surface again sooner or later as their convention closes in.
In broadly assessing the field for bright minds and competent candidates currently on the platform of the APC who will likely be acceptable to majority of Nigerians in a Presidential race, a stand out candidate that can address the double question of equity and religion is undoubtedly the Governor of Imo state, Anayo Rochas Okorocha. The Imo state governor’s candidature can kill the proverbial two birds with one stone as he is a Christian that will comfortably balance any Northern Muslim candidate that the party might present and also he is from the South East which has not had any candidate in Aso Rock since the return of democracy in 1999.
As 2015 closes in on the nation’s political destiny, time they say will tell if the country’s only major opposition party can pull their act together and present to Nigerians a formidable Presidential team that will be roundly acceptable to Nigerians across all religious and ethnic divides.
Diana-Abasi Alphonsus Udoh is a PhD Candidate/Researcher University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.