2023: Let’s Look To The North East, by Hassan Gimba
If I were to be as sentimental as people are, I would say the North East, my zone, must produce the president in 2023.
Reasons may range from the fact that a president attracts some goodies to his area. Ministers and other chief executives fall over themselves to site projects where the president comes from. Captains of industry, too, are not left behind in the jostle to provide for where the president hails from.
People from the president’s locality also have a false sense of being first-class citizens, oblivious to the fact that those from other areas may end up benefiting more from the administration. Those that would never have been heard of in their lifetime were it not for their association with the president’s roots can become overnight celebrities and points of reference.
Perhaps these reasons are why many seek political offices and the majority push others to political seats, hoping to reap where they have sowed.
This struggle to get “our share” from the national cake has seen brothers fighting one another, sometimes to the death. Our politics has become a do-or-die affair as buttressed by a one-time president when he was seeking re-election. The smart alecs among our political elite have pitched us against ourselves, using our two major fault-lines – religion and region.
Many of the political elite, as we earlier said, thrive in deceit because if the citizenry knew the truth, their unworthiness would be glaring. They have ensnared and enslaved their people with falsehood even as they think they are thinking freely. They are those who Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749–22 March 1832), the German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, theatre director, and critic talked about.
“None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. Masters who rule them with lies have kept from the depth of their minds the truth. They feed them falsehoods till something wrong looks right in their eyes.”
One may assume someone of his caliber – and age - will be more circumspect in his utterances, having reached a level to be regarded as an elder statesman. Unfortunately, he unashamedly said, “The insecurity we are experiencing in Benue and Nigeria today is not an accident. It is a planned program. Boko Haram does not consist of miscreants. They are intelligent people; they are highly connected in Nigeria and other countries in the world and the mission is simple: they want to conquer and Islamise the nation. The Jihadists that you hear about in the North-West are also not miscreants. They are highly connected, highly motivated, and highly experienced in their own (sic) ideas and what they want. They want to spread the caliphate throughout Nigeria.
“The armed Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram insurgents have contacts that extend to the Middle East, Asia, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia, among others. They are funded in billions of naira to execute the conquest agenda of the caliphate in the country.”
Nigeria will know peace and rapid development, the moment a citizen realizes he does not have to fight or follow a shortcut to get his normal entitlements.
As the 2023 race gathers momentum, it becomes incumbent upon us all to scout for, and draft into the race, a man with such qualities. The consideration should not be whether the president is from the North or South, Hausa, Yoruba or Igbo, or that Nigeria now deserves a Northern or Southern president, Hausa, Yoruba, or Igbo President. We do not also need a Muslim or Christian president. What Nigeria needs now is a Nigerian president - one that will put Nigeria first above lucre, region, religion, and all other affiliations.
If that is the case, we can safely assume that our next
president may come from the current crop of governors, irrespective of
whether that person has served just a term or two. There are some among
the current crop of governors that have done well. While fulfilling
their mandates at state levels, they are also contributing towards
national peace and harmony, calming frayed nerves all over the nation,
giving everyone and all parts of the country some sense of belonging, and
thus stabilizing the government at the center. While we have such
governors in all the zones, the North East can claim to have the doyen
of them all.
However, I do not want to be trapped in the sentiment of promoting a North Easterner for president in 2023 just because it is my region. Rather, I will support the North Easterner because I know he can do it, because I know he is an excellent material, because I know he is competent and can take us out of the woods, not primarily because he is a North Easterner. After all, it is fate that conspired to bring him out of there. I would still have gone for him was he from the South, East or West, Muslim or Christian.