BY Godson Azu
The aspirations and agitations of foremost indegenious nationalist during the colonial era, was to liberate and free the indegenious people of the territorial space, an artificial construct of the British colony coined from the phrase ‘Niger and Areas’ called Nigeria, from its imperial order, and by their persistent actions for almost fourth years, with an intellectual perspective the nationalist achieved one of the most peaceful post-colonial independence victory of social freedom and self-determination of a nation-state in Africa. Its worth mentioning the efforts of the following distinguished individuals, the independence heroes, Herbert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Ballo, Anthony Enahoro, these great men and many others, including women, such as Olufunmi Ramson-Kuti, Margaret Ekpo, engaged the British colonial masters, fought them both at home and abroad to gain independence in 1960, without any bloodshed , even though they failed to inspire true unity and freedom, within it own very indegenious ethnic nationality construct, unfortunately the artificial construct inherited by this indegenious ethnic nationalist heroes, has ended up over the past sixty years, with far more greater blood baths and deaths in the name of ethnic-nationalism and ethno-religious liberation movements. The modern strands of nationalism appear to converge, with the modernization viewed as a means of redefining colonisation in terms of Neo-indegenious colonization of a people by its own political/military elites power house.
We must, however, seek to understand both terms of freedom of purpose and indegenious rights to rule, as universal concepts of governance, and their meaning within the Nigerian context, further questions of much relevance to this discussion are: How might we understand an evolving Nigerian political history and its possible spatial expression of political states? How have the independent dream, and the unifying processes of the “Nigerian Dream” of modern state formation been formulated and actualized? How have the indegenious ethnic leaders and political elements shaped these somewhat abstract notions and forces of unity, so as to deconstruct the impact of nation-state structural defects and the political space?. It is prudent to state that the objective of this whole inquiry is to create an understanding of the successes and or failures of the Nigeria imperial construct, by its own indegenious ethnic-nationalities, with the inability of them coming to terms on a mutual constructive power sharing structure to accommodate all national stakeholder and interest groups.
This artificial nation-states construct was an amalgamation of large indegenious colonial territories, of Northern protectorate and Southern protectorate, constituting the three major ethnic-nationality inhabitants, of the Northern Hausa-Fulani , Eastern Igbo, and Western Yoruba regions. The structural defects came into existence with the emergence of military rule from Gowan, to Murital, and IBB, who unconstitutionally created states structures in their own wisdom for the benefit of the military governance, with the logical argument of bringing governance closer to the indegenious people and communities, sixty years after the impact of this defaults is proven to be of a greater danger, than good for the further integration and survival of good old Nigeria.
Nigeria Independence and the First Republic:
The nation-state of Nigeria formally achieved its independence from Britain and joined the Commonwealth of Nations, on October 1, 1960. The country began its self-rule political process and structure, on October 1, 1960, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, one of the founders of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC), was appointed as prime minister (head of government) of the new nation-state of Nigeria. Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe, the then leader of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC), was appointed as Governor-General (representative of Queen Elizabeth II, the Nigerian head of state) on November 16, 1960, this simply mean that during this period the Queen held the substantial role of Head of State.
But then that structure changed when the nation-state became a Federal Republic of Nigeria, as established on October 1, 1963, with Abubakar Tafawa Balewa as prime minister (head of government) and Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe as president, and substantial head of state. President Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe dissolved the House of Representatives on December 8, 1964. Parliamentary elections were held on December 30, 1964 and March 18, 1965, and the Northern People’s Congress (NPC) won 162 out of 312 seats in the House of Representatives. The National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) won 84 seats in the House of Representatives. The United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA) boycotted the parliamentary elections. Regional elections were held on October 11, 1965. Chief Samuel Akintola of the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) was re-elected as prime minister of the Western Region on October 11, 1965. This new era of party politics and elections brought about one of the first blood baths of indegenious crisis, 160 civilians and seven government policemen were killed in political violence in the Western Region following the regional elections. Some 20 individuals were killed in political violence in Ilesha on January 12, 1966.
The inflating impact of the political instability and civil unrest, resulted to military interventions and counter retaliations within the military rank-and-file, with then Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa being deposed and killed in the first ever military coup led by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna on January 15, 1966. Prime Samuel Akintola of the Western Region and Prime Ahmadu Bello of the Northern Region were also deposed and killed during the military coup on January 15, 1966.
The new coup brought in a Supreme Military Council (SMC) headed by General Johnson Aguyi-Ironsi, the most senior officer, and of the predominantly Christian Ibo ethnic group, took control of the government and suspended the constitution on January 16, 1966. Twenty-two individuals were killed during the military coup, and over 3,000 Nigerians fled as refugees to Dahomey Benin republic, while the Ghana government provided diplomatic diplomatic recognition to the military government on January 17, 1966.
The new military government abolished the four federal regions on May 24, 1966. The following counter military revolt instigated by some young junior military officers from the Hausa-Fulani extract of the North, resulted in 115 individuals, mostly of ethnic Ibos, being killed in political violence on May 28-June 2, 1966 in Kano and Kaduna. The then military head of state, Major General Aguyi-Ironsi was deposed and killed in a military coup led by Lt. Colonel Murtala Muhammed on July 29, 1966. Over 30 individuals were killed in political violence in Lagos on July 29-August 1, 1966, and more than 250,000 ethnic Ibos fled from the Northern Region to the Eastern Region following the military coup.
The successful bloody military coup led to the young Lt. Colonel Yakuba Gowon being sworn in as the head of the military government and he restored the four federal regions on August 31, 1966. In all over 2,000 ethnic Ibos were killed in civil/military violence in the Northern Region from September 29 to October 4, 1966.
Lt. Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu, military governor of the Eastern Region of Nigeria, declared that the region would no longer recognize Lt. Colonel Yakubu Gowon as head of the federal military government on March 2, 1967. Lt. Colonel Gowon assumed full powers as commander-in-chief of the armed forces and head of the military government on May 27, 1967. Lt. Colonel Gowon proclaimed a state-of-emergency on May 28, 1967. Lt. Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu, military governor of the Eastern Region, declared the independence of the Republic of Biafra in southern Nigeria on May 30, 1967.
Gowan government and the Civil War
The first form of indigenous ethnic-nationality self-determination and internal secessionist agitation, post-colonial era, resulting in the first civil war between the Col Ojukwu military led eastern regional government declaring the formation of Biafra Republic, leading to the war of secessionist. The Gowan led central government troops launched a military offensive against Biafran rebels on July 6, 1967. Biafra formally surrendered to government troops on January 15, 1970. Some 45,000 government troops, 45,000 Biafran rebels, and 30,000 civilians were killed, and some 500,000 individuals died as a result of starvation during the conflict. Some 3 million individuals were internally displaced during the conflict in the eastern region, food and economic embargoes were used as a psychological weapon to undermine the mental capacity and ability of the Igbo people during and after the civil war, but thereafter 50 years, the Ndigbo today have tremendously defeated food hunger, and economic stagnation, to become the economic power-house of the country.
Post-Civil War and Military re-construct
Lt. Colonel Gowon was deposed in a military coup led by General Murtala Mohammed on July 29, 1975. The Libyan government provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the government of General Murtala Mohammed on July 30, 1975, and the British government provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the Nigerian government on August 1, 1975. The SMC appointed the 25-member Federal Executive Council (FEC) on August 6, 1975. General Murtala Mohammed appointed a 50-member committee to draft a new constitution, and the committee convened on October 18, 1975. Government troops and civilians clashed in Ugep on December 25, 1975, resulting in the deaths of nineteen individuals. General Murtala Mohammed and 24 other military personnel were killed during a military rebellion headed by Lt. Colonel Bukur Suka Dimka on February 13, 1976, and Lt. General Olusegun Obasanjo was appointed as head of the SMC on February 14, 1976. On March 11, 1976, more than 30 government soldiers, including Major-General Illya Bisalla and Lt. Colonel Dimka, were executed for their involvement in the military rebellion. On May 16, 1976, Lt. Colonel Dimka and six other individuals were executed for their involvement in the military rebellion and assassination of General Murtala Mohammed. The 50-member committee appointed in October 1975 submitted a draft constitution to the SMC on September 14, 1976. The SMC formally established a 230-member (mostly elected by local councils in December 1976) Constituent Assembly on August 31, 1977, and the Constituent Assembly held its first meeting on October 6, 1977. Nine individuals were killed during demonstrations in Lagos on April 20-28, 1978. General Obasanjo ended the state-of-emergency and lifted the ban on political parties on September 21, 1978. One the same day, the Constituent Assembly submitted a draft constitution, which created a presidential system of government in Nigeria. Three political parties – the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), the Nigerian People’s Party (NPP), and the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) – were organized on September 22, 1978. Legislative elections were held on July 14, 1979, and the NPN won 168 out of 449 seats in the House of Representatives. The UPN won 111 seats in the House of Representatives. Alhaji Shehu Shagari of the NPN was elected president with 34 percent of the vote on August 11, 1979, and he was inaugurated as president on October 1, 1979. The new constitution went into effect on October 1, 1979.
The Second Republic Era
This period of the second republic and the return to civil democratic government, with a presidential system, in replacement of the first republic unitary system, saw the a dimension of civil conflicts, between Government police and members of the Muslim fundamentalist (Yen Izala) sect headed by Malam Mohammadu Marwa clashed in Kano in northern Nigeria on December 18-31, 1980, resulting in the deaths of some 1,000 civilians and 50 government policemen. There were other related clashes between the police and the Yen Izala sects in Maiduguri, and Kaduna in 1982, which also claimed over 500 life’s both on the police and the Yen Izala sect, this age long conflict is most likely reflective of the present day clashes in Borno and Kaduna States. And then another form of political violence, following that of the first republic, this set of violences across many states in the North and West indeed claimed over 5,000 life’s between 1980 and 1981, this led to the government banning the Yen Izala sect on November 18, 1982. President Shehu Shagari was re-elected for a second term with 48 percent of the vote on August 6, 1983, and he was inaugurated on October 1, 1983, but his new government did not last long, before the military junta struck again, claiming the acts of political impunity and huge level of government corruptions
The End of Second Republic and Second Return of Military Intervention:
The second republic government of President Alhaji Shehu Shagari was deposed in a military coup led by IBB, and few other senior officers, which then brought in Major General Muhammadu Buhari on December 31, 1983, who headed the 19-member Supreme Military Council (SMC), as Military Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, took control of the government on January 3, 1984. One of the key incidents faced by the new military Government was the clashed with members of a Muslim fundamentalist sect headed by Musa Makaniki in Yola in then Gongola State, on February 27, 1984, resulting in the deaths of some 1,000 life’s, there were also police clashes with members of the Muslim Fundamentalist sect Yen Izala headed by Yusufu Adamu in Gombe on April 26, 1985, resulting in the deaths of 150 life’s. The Gen Buahri led military government at this time lacked socio-economic cohesion and strategic direction, as it was busy dealing with fighting political corruption, without dealing with the impending corruption within his own military leadership and structure, simlar to the present style of his presidency over 35 years after. The General Buhari led government was deposed in a military coup led by Major General Ibrahim Babangida once again, on August 27, 1985, setting up a 28-member Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC) headed by General Babangida himself as the new military Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, took control of the government on August 29, 1985. The IBB led government, saw the emergent of serious socio-economic measures , such as the Structural Adjustment Program, (SAP), the retribution of press freedom, social discontent, and various conspiracies of attempts to overthrow the government by some disenchanted military officers, such as; the government announcement of the discovery of a plot within the military to overthrow the government on December 20, 1985, leading to the arrest of several hundred military personnel claimed to be involved in the plot, after military trials Thirteen military personnel were convicted and sentenced to death on February 25, 1986, Ten of the military personnel, including Major-General Mamman Vatsa, a very intimate and course-mate of IBB, were executed in Lagos on March 5, 1986.
The second attempted coup by a military rebellion was led by Major Gideon Orkar on April 22, 1990, resulting in the deaths of some 200 individuals, it was failed bloody coup, which was eventually suppressed by the government troop led by Gen Abacha, Raji Rasaki, many of the coup actors were arrested and after a military trail Forty-two military personnel were executed for their involvement in the military rebellion on July 27, 1990, and twenty-seven individuals were executed for their involvement in the military rebellion on September 13, 1990.
In his quest to remain in power, through a democratic crafted agenda, IBB brought in a new constitution on May 3, 1989, and the ban on political parties was lifted, to usher in political activities, but on October 7 1989, President Babangida dissolved thirteen political parties that had applied for registration since May 1989, then went on to create his own vision of political party structure for the political class, what he termed a little bit to the ‘Right’ and ‘Left’, with the following party formations, Social Democratic Party, (SDP), ‘A little bit to the Left’, and the National Republican Convention, (NRC), ‘A little bit to the Right’, which both party governance structure and party offices established in all the states and LGA’s across the country at cost of the military government. The first Legislative elections were held on July 4, 1992, and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) won 314 out of 593 seats in the House of Representatives, while the National Republican Convention (NRC) won 275 seats in the House of Representatives.
IBB Third Republic and The Transitional Council (TC)
With the hidden conspiracy of the IBB led government, the military junta orchestrated the ‘Third Republic’ with the conduct of elections at the state levels, the national assembly and presidential election of 1993, which turned to be against their desired expectations, leading to Chief Moshood K. O. Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) emerged as the duly elected president-elect, with 58 percent of the vote counted on June 12, 1993. President Babangida in his imagination and wisdom nullified the results of the presidential election on July 4, 1993, citing irregularities, but in actual reality, the Kaduna Mafia, and certain kinsmen of MKO Abiola were head bent not to have him swore-in as Mr President of Nigeria, IBB only played out the card of his power-house conspirators, his actions resulted in the deaths of many people during rioting in Lagos on July 5, 1993. The European Community (EC) imposed military sanctions (arms embargo) against the government on July 13, 1993, following other key external and internal pressures on President Babangida, he eventually agreed to resign, step-aside, but with the condition of setting up a selective civilian led government, on August 26, 1993, bring in the Interim National Government (ING) headed by Ernest Adegunle Shonekan which formed a mixed military/civilian government, the first step to compensate the Yoruba;s, for MKO Abiola denial of the presidency, under the watchful eyes of General Sani Abacha , who eventually deposed the artificial constructed transitional government and dissolved the party politics and the sleepwalking third republic on November 17-18, 1993, to fulfill his personal hidden agenda of becoming the Head of State.
A new Provisional Ruling Council (PRC) headed by General Abacha took over control of the government on November 24, 1993, this government oversaw one of the worst eras socio-economic repressions, human rights abuses and civil disturbance in modern Nigeria history, with the arrest of Chief Moshood Abiola charged with treason on June 23, 1994, for declaring himself president, he was eventually incarcerated by the state machineries, the likes of Gen Shehu Yar’ Adua were killed in prison, and after lifting the ban on political activity on June 27, 1995, the Abacha government arrested, convicted and executed Ken Saro-Wiwa a civil rights activist, and eight other members of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) on November 10, 1995, these led to several condemnations from international communities, including ; The British-based NGO, Amnesty International (AI), condemned the Abacha government for the executions on November 10, 1995, The European Union (EU) condemned the government for the executions on November 10, 1995, The Commonwealth of Nations imposed diplomatic sanctions (suspension of membership) against the government on November 11, 1995, The European Union (EU) imposed economic sanctions (suspension of economic assistance and travel ban) and military sanctions (arms embargo) against the Nigerian government on November 20, 1995, then on December 22, 1995, the UN General Assembly approved a resolution condemning the Nigerian government for the executions of MOSOP members. At this point the government and the people of Nigeria, one of the most humiliating global sanctions and embargoes of all source
The government still went on to conduct a Legislative election held on April 25, 1998, and the United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP) won 229 out of 282 seats in the House of Representatives, while the Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN) won 39 seats in the House of Representatives, following the foot-step of his military predecessor, Abacha planned to install himself through a kangaroo electoral process, using the two political parties a sailing ship, with many of the opposition political parties banned from participating in the legislative elections, but ended up calling for a boycott of the legislative elections, which still went ahead, and then came another conspiracy theory of statecraft, General Sani Abacha died on June 8, 1998,in certain mysterious manner, and through the powers the Kaduna Mafia, IBB, David Mark and others, the military rule continued with the replacement of Gen Abacha, with General Abdulsalami Abubakar, who was used to end military rule and dictatorship in Nigeria, he released Chief Moshood Abiola, as a political prisoner for peace reconciliations, but was also killed through statecraft, on July 7, 1998, Gen Obasanjo was equally released as a political prisoner, through a collective efforts and agenda by the Kaduna Mafia, some of us still remember the rumor rounds at the time, to find a trusted Yoruba Man, by the Kaduna Mafia’s to compensate the Yoruba nation, for the loss of Chief MKO Abiola, someone close to the military cabal, and Gen Obasanjo came first on the list, but to get him on the ballot paper, the Mafia’s got Gen Abdulsalami to pardon and release Obasanjo from prison.
The End of Military rule, and the Fourth Republic Compensatory Politics
With the return to party politics in late 1998, through the lifting of ban on political activities by the Abdulsalami led government, the first act of political conspiracy theory and compensatory politics, began to re-enact itself with the powers that be, ensuring that the two major political party ended up presenting two presidential candidates from the same ethnic nationality, the first time such combination is ever seen in Nigeria democratic history, the All People’s Party, (APP), presented Chief Olu Falae, and the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP), presented Gen Olusegun Obasanjo, this was logically orchestrated by the Kaduna Mafias, who in their own wisdom, believe it’s the best way to achieve relative democratic peace, in the country at the time, with the conformed arrangement to compensate the Yoruba’s of western region, for June 12, 1993 atrocities.
The first legislative elections were held on February 20, 1999, and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won 206 out of 360 seats in the House of Representatives. The All People’s Party (APP) won 74 seats in the House of Representatives, and the Alliance for Democracy (AFD) won 68 seats in the House of Representatives.
Then Olusegun Obasanjo of the PDP defeated Olu Falae of the APP, at the presidential election by a margin of 63 percent to 37 percent to win the presidential election on February 27, 1999, the military juntas had their way, the Yoruba nation had their way to the presidency for the emerged fourth republic democratic transition, Gen Obasanjo became the benefactor of this compensatory politics conspiracy, he then became Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and was inaugurated and swore-in as the elected president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, on the 25th of May 1999, the fourth republic began, with a compensatory agenda.
The first civilian conducted democratic election into the National Assembly, were held on April 12, 2003, and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won 76 out of 109 seats in the House of Representatives, and the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) won 27 seats in the House of Representatives. The presidential election, with President Olusegun Obasanjo being re-elected with 62 percent of the vote on April 19, 2003, defeating Gen Buhari on his first attempt of contesting a presidential election. The second term of president Obasanjo saw him dealing with various ethnic/political violence in the Niger- Delta region, Jos, Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) holding “secessionist rally” in southeastern Nigeria, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) militancy, legislative crisis and his third term agenda.
The new democratic transitional government of Chief Obasanjo, was able to conduct its second civilian for civilian electoral process, for the first ever, civilian to civilian transition and handover of power, with the Legislative elections held on April 21, 2007, and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won 260 out of 360 seats in the House of Representatives, while the opposition party the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) won 62 seats in the House of Representatives. This second civilian for civilian presidential election saw another form of political conspiracy and compensatory politics, orchestrated by Obasanjo, what I now call “ Return of Favour” a way of returning favour to the Northern powerhouse, by aiding the candidacy and presentation of late Umaru Yar’Adua as the PDP presidential candidate, against another Northern, again Gen Buhari of the CPC, both candidates hails from the same state, Katsina, Late Umaru Yar’Adua was elected president under controversial circumstances, with 70 percent of the vote on April 21, 2007, and he was inaugurated as president on May 29, 2007, though not without a legal challenge by defeated Gen Buhari, but then once again the supreme under another controversial judgment ruled in favour of president Yar’Adua, but then the reality here is that political has shifted to the core North, by an act of political compensation, he was inaugurated as president on May 29th,2007, his government continue to face the challenges posed by the Niger-Delta MEND militants, on June 26, 2009, President Umaru Yar ‘Adua announced an amnesty plan for militants fighting against the government in the Niger Delta region, he encountered a new emerging threat from a reformed group called Boko Haram Islamic Fundamentalist in northeastern Nigeria on July 26-30, 2009, with clashes resulting in the deaths of more than 1,000 people. Boko Haram, a Sunni Muslim group established by Mohammed Yusuf in Maiduguri in the state of Borno in 2002, supported the establishment of Sharia in Nigeria. Government troops captured and killed Mohammed Yusuf, founder and leader of Boko Haram, in Maiduguri in the state of Borno on July 30, 2009. The Nigerian Government granted amnesty to Niger Delta militants who agreed to lay down their arms between August 6 and October 4, 2009. MEND militants ended their 90-day ceasefire with the government on October 16, 2009, but announced a unilateral ceasefire with the government on October 25, 2009. The doctrine of necessity was introduced, as a result of in-house power game between certain cabals and the state, after the sudden death of President Yar’Adua on the 5th of May 2010, with the efforts of some legislators, Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan was approved as Acting-President by the National Assembly on February 10, 2010, and subsequently as Interim President on May 6, 2010.
The president Goodluck led government conducted the third successful civilian electoral process, with the Legislative elections held on April 9, 2011, and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won 199 out of 360 seats in the House of Representatives, while the standing opposition party, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) won 69 seats in the House of Representatives. Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP, who stood in under the same doctrine of necessity to complete the two terms of his late principal, was elected president with 59 percent of the vote on April 16, 2011, defeating the Gen Buhari of the ACN on his third attempt to the presidency. The second term in office of president Goodluck witnessed some of the various militancy attacks and conflicts most especially by the Boko Haram terrorist and the few pockets of MEND activities in the Niger-Delta, but then there were also some head-up with the countries economic growth and foreign reserves.
Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on his fourth consecutive attempt was elected president with 54 percent of the vote on March 28-29, 2015, by defeating the incumbent for the first time, though this was as a result of intra-party crisis, as president Goodluck failed to honour a gentleman’s agreement, that would have allowed the PDP present a Northern candidate, the party became fractionalised and bound to defeat, as many of its power brokers decamped to the APC, in effort to destroy president Goodluck ambition and hand over power back to the Northern powerhouse, once again, the their political conspiracy, which was supported by Chief Obasanjo too and then Mr Buhari was sworn in as president of Nigeria on May 29, 2015, the APC won 225 out of 360 seats in the House of Representatives. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won 125 seats in the House of Representatives.
The Fourth Republic Compensatory Politics and Ndigbo Presidency 2023
Then in 2019, came the fourth form of political conspiracy, and another compensatory politics, all along with the holding on to power, in the North with the logical argument of amending the accidental presidency of President Goodluck, and completing the short-leaved presidential term of late President Yar’Adua, whereby the PDP, in its wisdom to compensate its Northern followers/supporters, zoned the presidency to the North, and thereby presenting Alh. Abubakar Atiku as its candidate against President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC, being the incumbent, and both political party presidential candidates signing a National Peace Accord agreement in Abuja on February 13, 2019, promising to call on their supporters “to refrain from violence or any acts that may in any way jeopardise the collective vision of a free, fair and credible election”. But then the reality is that President Muhammadu Buhari was re-elected with 56 percent of the vote on February 23, 2019, under some complicated electoral actions, which were partially contested by the opposition party, and with the help of a politically engineered judiciary, political power was retained in the North. The All Progressives Congress (APC) won 217 out of 360 seats in the House of Representatives, and the People’s Democratic Party won 115 seats in the House of Representatives. This whole process now makes it obvious that the North would now be able to complete its full circle of 8years term in power.
“Political contestation is as much about cultural identity and recognition, as it is about allocating material resources” Christina Boswell
Now the obvious concern and question in the mind or lips of many patriotic Igbo people that still believes in the survival of this fragile nation-state, called Nigeria, of this ongoing political conspiracy, and compensatory politics, that has seen two of the three largest ethnic regions produce presidents, and an accidental minority south president. After 60 years of independence, and 50 years post-civil war, have the Igbo’s of eastern region, not paid enough price so-far, have the Igbo’s not be sub-servants enough in the national political structure, of the fourth republic to be considered at the altar of political justice, fairness of justice with an open logical agreement for this democratic conspiracy and compensatory politics. Is it not time in Nigeria modern political history of the 21st century, for the two majority ethnic-nationalities, of the West and North extract, persuade the major contending political parties to be morally fair, politically considerate and permissive, by allowing the Igbo’s and or all members of their political parties to present Igbo candidates through the party internal electoral consideration, come 2023.
Nigeria ethnic diversity can be traced to 1940s, nationalist linking it to struggles between Yoruba and Igbo educated bourgeoisie that ended up splitting the nationalist movement along ethnic lines, and till date, Nigerian society is still considered as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-dimensional country; and ethnicity sentiment plays a major role in the affairs and politics of the Nigerian society. The very later part of this fourth republic has been leveraged on forging deeper divides, which further influence Nigeria’s present fragile domestic politics and democratic stability.
It is a common knowledge among many political observers in Nigeria, of an informal agreement within the PDP at inception to alternate the presidency between north and south known as “power shift,” rotate offices to different parts of the country through “zoning,” and an understanding that its first presidential candidate had to be a Yoruba, the dominant ethnic group in the southwest, in the person of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the Yorubas harbored lingering resentment from the annulled 1993 Election, of Chief MKO Abiola, and from a 1979 Presidential Election narrowly decided by the Supreme Court, against Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Though the rotation or power shift of the presidency would have gone to Ndigbo, the dominant ethnic group in the southeast, from among the two largest parties, having been at wit and foxed out of the contest in 1999, then for the role played by then president Obasanjo, of his pay-back agenda, which he acted by pushing through the candidacy of late Muse Yar’Adua, in the PDP, which eventual paved the way for the conspiracy Northern power shift, with the two large parties presenting Northern candidates, a second time of such ethnic-nationality combination for a presidential election, but unfortunately the sudden death of late president Yar’Adua, in 2010, and the following outcome of events distorted the moral or political zoning arrangement, with the accidental presidency of president GoodLuck, who is from the ethnic minority group of the south -south, depriving the north to complete there time in office, but then the North on a second combination presented two Northern candidates at the 2019, making it possible for the North to fully complete an 8 years in office by 2023. What then in the political calculation stops, the idea or demand for an Igbo presidency come 2023, having been loyal and subservient to these other ethnic regions being in power for over 20 years of the present fourth republic and democratic transition.
As Nigeria and Nigerians reflect on the strides and pains of 60 years, with ranging agitations, voices of a crack and disconnection within the formation and structure, but then the ever loyal submissive, forward thinking, political rebuplician and socio-economic power-house, Ndigbo people of eastern region, both at home and abroad are seriously demanding for their justified political rights of this ongoing formation, or artificial construct of the “Niger, and Areas”, called #Nigeria’, for the Presidency and Governance of the Nation-States, while it still exists as a territorial entity, because as a hard-working economic mindful citizens have paid a huge price in human and material resources to keep this ever fragile Nation-states surviving.