Atiku’s Emergence Formally Ends The So-Called Rotational Presidency Principle...

Former Nigeria Vice President Atiku Abubakar adresses the People's Democratic Party delegates during the Special convention in Abuja, Nigeria May 28, 2022 [Afolabi Sotunde/ Reuters]

Yesterday, at the PDP convention, a northerner in the person of Atiku, once again emerged as the presidential flag bearer. This is a party that once acceded to the principle of rotational presidency but still skimmed out other regions with interest in the top spot. Atiku has very strong odds of eventually becoming the president because depending on who the APC fields, the north will vote as a block. With this development, it is now official that Nigeria is a government of the people for the people by ONE region.

Unfortunately, the regions being marginalized lack the political cohesiveness that is necessary to break this hegemonic proclivity of the north. They bicker amongst themselves, gladly play the Brutus from within, readily accept crumbs in exchange for loyalty. But was it not honest Abe that said that a house divided never stands. If we keep doing what we have always done, we will keep getting the same result. Factionalization and infighting has made the south east unable to present a solid political block with a formidable common front.

In the end what is left in the south east? A people with no real say in affairs that govern every facet of their being for the past 50 years. Second Niger bridge, a project that is not only THE eastern gateway, but of national commercial import, is being done at the whims and caprices of those at the helm. The snail speed of work tells the story. Federal roads in the east are all but abandoned, only done at the whims of the helmsman. The people at the helm do projects in the south east with the mindset that they are doing them a favor, not that it is their right as part of the major tribe in Nigeria. Yet, the helmsmanship never gets to that part of Nigeria.

Now, my question is, since the idea of rotational presidency has been jettisoned, will Nigeria also do same to the quota systems in university admissions where candidates from certain regions are admitted with scores so low that one wonders how they will cope in the tertiary institutions? Will the quota system latently practiced in the employment of folks into the army, police and other parastatals now go away? No, it will not. The dominant region has become a master at having things both ways and they are not bashful about it.

While the south easterners spend most of their time pontificating in various outlets(nothing wrong with that); while we verbally joust on platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook; while we engage in the practice of “I can get to my potentials as an individual but will never get along with other south easterners for a better and bigger achievement”; while south easterners play the politics of self-immolation where those elected as governors fall our hand by leaving the states more desolate than they met them, the north has succeeded in perpetual rule of the so called giant of Africa. They have been doing it for 50 or more years and will continue. They know that he who holds power is like a piper that dictates the tune in an ensemble.

Ndi Igbo, as my mother’s people from Asaba would say, loanu ilolo – think deep. You can have all the commerce in Nigeria but without periodic political power and influence, those things that aid commerce like constant electricity to power industries, good roads to ferry goods, enabling environment like loans, etc, will continue to elude the southeast and we will never get to our full potential.

The beat goes on.