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2023: Southern Governors And The Clamour For Southern Presidency: Little Wisdom; Mostly Folly By Peter Awanrin

The clamour by the South governors for the South to produce the next President come 2023 is part of an age-long misconception about the people from Northern Nigeria.

The people from the Southern part of Nigeria see their counterparts from the North as less intelligent because of their level of education. This is less than half the truth. While education makes the people of the South only more knowledgeable, at best, the people from the North have proven to be more intelligent. Added to this is the salient fact that the people from the North are not as greedy as their Southern counterparts! Let me ask this obvious question: Why is it that since Independence in 1960, the North has always been victorious or on the victorious side, while the East and the West take turns to get humiliated? We can only blame this on the greed of the Southern politicians because, while the East and the West have always wanted different things, the North have long set their eyes on getting everything in the long run. As otherwise we ask: How did the Nnamdi Azikiwe and his NCNC end up flirting with NPC in 1959? How did Chief Obafemi Awolowo become the Finance Minister and Head of War Cabinet in 1967? This should be a talk for another day.

We have heard of the notion of the rotational presidency being an internal arrangement by political parties [initiated by the PDP in 1999]. This issue, however, took a severe turn when on July 5h, 2021, governors of the Southern states of Nigeria met in Lagos and agreed, among other things, that the next President of the FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA MUST come from the South! The rationale for this is that once upon a time, some politicians gathered together (in secret, as expected) to discuss, among others, the merits and demerits of the rotational presidency, and agreed among themselves that the presidency of my/our/your dear FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA should be rotational. In this sense, a Southern candidate (appointed at this obnoxious and evil gathering) MUST be President for the period of 8years, no matter his [UNDER]performance in the first term. At the end of this period, a Northern candidate would become the next President for another eight years irrespective of any election outcome!

Before we go further, I will state categorically that: THE NORTH WILL PRODUCE THE NEXT PRESIDENT COME 2023; ASSUMING PRESIDENT BUHARI DECIDES TO BE UNPRECEDENTEDLY MAGNANIMOUS AS TO LEAVE OFFICE [WHICH IS UNLIKELY]. Therefore, FOR NOW, THE ONLY THING THE SOUTHERN ELECTORATES SHOULD DO IS TO SUPPORT A NORTHERN CANDIDATE THAT IS FIRST AND FOREMOST A NIGERIAN BEFORE BEING A NORTHERNER, FROM AMONG THE LOTS THAT WOULD BE PARADING THEMSELVES AS PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANTS.

Unless this is done, the uncertainties ahead are too uncertain to risk. I hope we are accustomed to the phrase – Two Dragging Zero? I will explain this later.

SO MY THERE SOUTHERN GOVERNORS: WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO ENABLE YOU WRESTLE POWER FROM THE NORTH COME 2023?

The Agreement on Rotational Presidency!

The clamour by the Southern governors FOR THE PRESIDENCY come 2023 to be exclusive to the South is anchored on an agreement – a virtual agreement – reached at some time, providing for the rotational presidency in Nigeria! I do not know how such evil as the rotational presidency is compactable with Democracy or where such is provided for in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 [see, section 130], but this is of no moment here. Even worse, Democracy is gradually made to shed its essence, while constitutionalism is no longer in vogue in Nigeria. Interestingly, politicians from the North have decided NOT TO RECOGNISE this agreement of rotational presidency because it is against our Constitution ( -Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State). In such a situation, would the Southern governors take such obnoxious issue to court for justice, reminiscence of the hilarious case of Everet v Williams [1725].

In the case, two highwaymen had issues over their stolen loot, which the defendant refused to share with the plaintiff. The latter decided to enlist the court’s support to force his comrade-in-arms to give him his share of the loot. Somehow, both of them got legal counsel to argue their cases in a court of law. The judge did not just decline the case, following the maxim ex dolo malo non oritur actio. Instead, he sentenced both highwaymen to death by hanging and fined the counsel some amount for bringing such a case before a court.

So, would the Southern governors head to the court if the North decided to field-in presidential candidates? NO, because the governors know that, in pari delicto, porior est conditio possidentis. They may still try; after all, the Executive-led Supreme Court now has jurisdiction to make a candidate that came fourth in an election to be governor, or as we may see in the Anambra election, may make Andy Ubah, who could not win a local government to become a governor!

In any case, the talk about such an agreement has always been discarded as fiction, imaginary, like things we see in movies, not in real life, and definitely not in a Democracy. I mean, Democracy may have been assaulted in ways unimaginable. Still, it will remain Democracy, so long as it purports to use the ‘consent of the governed as a front to defraud the multitude. The fact is that a decisions reached in a gathering of a person of questionable characters cannot be binding on Nigerians. I mean, was there any decent person at that gathering where the issue of the rotational presidency was canvassed? That is, someone that has not stolen from Nigeria while in office? Nego!

Also, we know that a fact about politics is a dirty game – of deceit, betrayal, just name all the negatives, manned by unscrupulous elements. Therefore, though we agree with the Latin maxim, Pacta sunt servanda, the caveat here is that decent persons must make such. Agreements reached by criminals are not expected to be kept! In fact, according to Neville Townsend in The Blacklist, “deals [by criminals] are made to be broken” [S08E21]. Therefore, agreement reach by unscrupulous elements need not be adhered to. In fact, the first primary beneficiary of that nocturnal arrangement – former President Olusegun Obasanjo – did not even believe in the idea of a rotational presidency. In fact, if not for the effort of the likes of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, he would have remained in power probably till today.

Most of the criminals who negotiated the agreement are dead; others are about to die, yet others evade death. I mean, is it not decent that contracts are binding on those that affixed their signature to it. An agreement made in secret is not expected to bind Nigerians that were neither part of it nor had any knowledge of the existence of such contract.

Also, there is the (criminal) implication of this agreement. Assuming it is such, and that such is binding, and that African politicians have the slightest of traits of keeping to promises or agreements made, all the elections conducted between 1999 to date have been fixed to produce a particular candidate from a chosen region in Nigeria. No wonder the 1999 Presidential Election, which paraded the most sophisticated crop of candidates in the history of this country, only succeeded in producing the least intelligent of them all as President. Let me refresh our memories. The presidential election of 1999 paraded the likes of Odumegwu Ojukwu, Jim Nwobodo, Sarah Jubril, Ike Nwachukwu, M.D. Yusuf, Kalu Idika Kalu, Tunji Braithwaite, Gani Fawehimi, Olu Falae, etc. In fact, in the election, Lagos – the centre political consciousness in the country – with the most conscious electorates, voted for Olu Falae to the tune of 1.4m, but this was not enough to see him emerge. Instead, it was Kano that gave Obasanjo 1.2m votes, and in the end, he won the election. Such has been an election in Nigeria.

A very troubling part of this purported agreement is the insult to the Nigerian electorate. The talk of such an agreement is a reminder that Nigerian politicians believe so much in the power of rigging. Suppose the election is expected to be decided by the people. Would the Southern governors not be more concerned about fielding a most acceptable candidate by the people irrespective of the region? Then again, the days of the electorates being kings during elections are long gone. The electorates are no longer the deciders of elections in Nigeria and most parts of the world. Those that count the votes are now deciding elections the world over. Therefore, it will be difficult to still talk about Democracy when the demos – the people – have already been exorcised from the process.

Also, was the agreement reached by all the political parties present at the time? I doubt. I am sure the Peoples Democratic Party made it, or now by the APC, in which case, they alone are bound by the agreement. Other parties are not barred from fielding in presidential candidates from the North.

Then let us look at the thing referred to as the SOUTH. Is this a monolithic and harmonious group? Do not we have South-East, South-West and South-South? So then, where is the presidency going to come from among these three geopolitical zones? The agreement seems to point to the South-West to produce the presidency come 2023 since it currently has the Vice President. But what do we do with the East, who so desperately need to have the presidency – even if it is once in the country’s life? So what do we say to the people in the East – “support our presidential bid; and after eight years, you will have the presidency”! But would the presidency not revert to the North after eight years, as per the illicit doctrine of the rotational presidency? But were the Ibos part of this agreement that seems to exclude them from the presidency of Nigeria perpetually?

Let us take another scenario. Let the East be allowed to produce the President come 2023; have they really comport themselves in the manner worthy of bestowing such thing as President of Nigeria. THOUGH EVIDENTLY THE MOST INDUSTRIOUS AND PROGRESSIVE PEOPLE ON EARTH, THE EAST WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO RULE NIGERIA IN 2023. THE EAST HAVE THE TENDENCY TO BE OVERZEALOUS/AMBITIOUS. THE EAST ORCHESTRATED THE FIRST MILITARY COUP IN JANUARY 1966 THAT TRUNCATED THE FIRST REPUBLIC. IN THE END, DESPITE THE NARRATIVE, AN EASTERNER BECAME THE HEAD OF STATE. IT IS AN ESTABLISHED FACT THAT AGUIYI IRONSI WAS TOO EAST FOR NIGERIA, AND HE WAS ASSASSINATED FOR THIS. GOWON EMERGED NEXT AS A COMPROMISE, BUT OJUKWU WOULD NOT THE MAN ANY PEACE– FIGURES FROM OIL HAVE BEEN DIVULGED; IT WAS GOING TO BE A MAJOR FOREIGN EXCHANGE EARNER FOR THE COUNTRY. FOR THE SAKE OF ROYALTY FROM OIL, OJUKWU BROUGHT WAR ON HIS PEOPLE. THE WAR KEPT NIGERIA AS ONE, BUT IT DID NOT EXTINGUISH THE URGE FOR A BIAFRA REPUBLIC. THE QUESTION IS: IF AN EASTERNER BECOMES PRESIDENT, WHAT IS THE GUARANTEE THAT HE WOULD NOT, AS HIS FIRST AND LAST ACT [ONLY ACT] AS PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA, CAUSE FOR THE DISINTEGRATION OF THE COUNTRY?

Also, is the East also a monolithic group with one voice? For example, would the East not field more presidential candidates than the available political parties as they have always done or as we witnessed in the recently concluded elections in Anambra State?

Reality Check

In the June 12, 1993, presidential election that was ostensibly won by Chief MKO Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), MKO pulled over 8.3m votes, even beating Bashir Tofa in Kano State. In this election, the electorate came out in full and with the corresponding enthusiasm. The leading candidate, though a Southerner, was at the heights of his economic and political rating. He was also a close associate of the then Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida [or so he thought]. I do not know if the NEC had become a political arm of the ruling government then as we have it today. Still, the disparity of votes between the two candidates was responsible for the political suicide committed by General Babangida. He had to annul the election already won by MKO because of pressure from the northern oligarchy, thus ending his political career. Though he recently claimed that he did it to avoid bloodshed because a coup was imminent, I would instead go by the reasons supplied by Balarabe Musa on why the June 12 election was nullified:

First, June 12 means a change from them [the North] calling the shots to someone else calling the shots. This change is something they cannot accept. Second, these people live on favours, privileges, appointments, contracts. Now, they fear that they may not be doing as well as they were doing, and because of their quarrel with MKO in the Second Republic and since MKO is now being sponsored by another party, SDP, they are afraid they would be marginalised on the award of contracts, board appointments, all these bureaucratic privileges.

An interesting aspect of this annulment is that the NEC was not part of it. The issue did not get to the Tribunal or courts. It was a free and fair election accepted by Tofa and other strongmen of the National Republican Convention (NRC), including Adamu Ciroma and Umaru Shinkafi from the North. Yet, it was annulled, and the international community could not do anything about it at the heights if its influence.

Let us skip the election of Olusegun Obasanjo being an orchestrated one [since he was about the least qualified of the candidates for that position in 1999]. Goodluck Jonathan did not have much opposition in 2011, and Obasanjo still had some influence then. By 2023, everything would have changed for the worse.

In the first place, in 1993, there was the SOUTH and a Southern candidate, supported by the entire South. Chief Abiola had almost all the available votes from the South. In 2020 [not even 2023 yet], the South-East [legitimately] wants to produce the President come 2023; the South West, as per the illicit agreement referred to, wants to have Ahmed Bola Tinubu as the next President. There is the wealthier South-South. What is the East and the West going to do with the South-South, especially Governor Nyesom Wike?

Again, the electorate in the South has already been frustrated to the point of disillusion. Voting in an election is the least of their worries since the more they try, the more they are duped. It has become so bad that even though voters’ registration is ongoing, Southerners are either not interested or are not aware of such process, no thanks to their state governors, whose new focus have become Covid-19 and the mandatory vaccines [because of the $200 accruing per person]. Conversely, in the North, enlightenment has been on, they are participating in the voters’ registration exercise, including, probably, those below 18 years. In the end, the North has the population, at least on paper [even though I do not know how many families do not have a relative in Lagos!], and worse, the North has the bulk of the electorate. In fact, the disparity between the numbers from the North and the South is increasing as we speak to the electoral detriment of the South.

So, in a free and fair election, just one Northern presidential candidate from a neutral party would get more votes [aside from the constitutional requirement of 2/3 of states]. But this defect of not having votes from the South can be taken care of by deploying more BULLION VANS across the Southern states, instead of just Lagos State alone like in 2019. And with the level of poverty, which would be much more severe by 2023 [recourse to the way the government is relying on borrowing, alone], the electorates would be just too willing to collect their election bonuses since it is the only thing they have been entitled to since 1999. In this case, can the greedy governors of the South put their money where their mouths are? The same governors who could not distribute palliatives bought public funds to their people even during the lengthy lockdown of 2020!

Also, even if these governors decide to invest stolen public funds to support a presidential candidate from the South, whatever they can contribute would still be in NAIRA. Yet, President Buhari is about to borrow almost five billion DOLLARS from external sources, with [Southern] Nigeria as the SURETY. Furthermore, he will probably borrow similar or more amounts, about six more times, between now and 2023. So, while the money in possession of the Southern governors are limited and are in our INCREASINGLY weak naira [I don’t know how legal it is for a state governor to have dollars], Mr President has access to billions of dollars worth of loan that he is never going to be held accountable for. I tell you that even blood money or the so-called Arab Money is far less than money from this unholy access to loans from corrupt international financial institutions AGAINST A WEALTHY COUNTRY SUCH AS NIGERIA.

Let us digress a little. How do these international financial institutions encourage governments to borrow with the intent of impoverishing their people? I mean, even before Commercial Banks or LAPO give loans to needy customers, they still make sure you will use the money for the economic purposes so stated and that such loans are given to individuals and businesses that are accountable. Yet, international financial institutions like the World Bank, French Development Agency, EXIM Bank, IFAD, with people like Okonjo Iweala [PhD, Harvard], will practically encourage governments, of evidently failing states, to continue to borrow, with the knowledge that such monies are being wasted or converted to private ends in Swiss accounts, and with nothing to show for it. In fact, as we have it today, the more money the government borrows, the poorer the people become – per conditionalities attached to an increase in fuel prices, gas, electricity and other taxes, to squeeze the life out of Nigerians! The Converse is the case. In 1973, Nigeria was able to loan the World Bank some millions in Dollars, and then the naira was more potent than the British pound. IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO SEE THAT THE DEVIL WHOSE BUSINESS IS MONEY LENDING DOESN’T WANT TO GO OUT OF BUSINESS? If you loan money and use it successfully, you will soon become a co-competitor with the Devil. Let me leave this and continue on the folly of the Southern governors.

Again, are these Southern governors aware that elections in Nigeria have been influenced by the ruling class controlling all state organs and institutions? In the age where elections are determined by the people that count the votes, and not necessarily by the voters, I would remind the Southern politicians that the ‘N’ in INEC more or less refers to the NORTH. So my dear Southern governors, what are you going to do with INEC and its newfound formula – INCONCLUSIVE ELECTION? Is the Chairman of INEC a Southerner? In other words, is it possible for the INEC, headed by a Northerner, to conduct a presidential election devoid of a Northern candidate and produce a Southern candidate as President? In fact, it would appear that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers is the saner of them. He recently made a scary revelation about Buhari’s unholy relationship with Lawmakers, Judges. But, unfortunately, he did not add the influence that Mr President has over INEC.

Let us assume that the presidential election does not become inconclusive like that of Anambra State but tainted with fraud and other illegalities; where would the governors go for redress? Is it the Tribunal and the courts, the way former Vice President Atiku Abubakar did, that despite his overwhelming evidence [so he was made to believe], in the end, there was no Server? Common Server!

Let us also assume that INEC denies having an available server as it did in 2019. What would the Southern governors do? Would the youth be encouraged or enticed to march out in protest, like the #ENDSARS PROTEST? I hope we know that the Nigerian Military has become part and parcel of elections in Nigeria, keeping the peace during elections, but only in areas where the ruling class wants to be peaceful! Maybe the protests could also be exported to the United Nations in New York. Recently, while President Buhari was being given a standing ovation inside, Nigerians were outside the UN building protesting. IN FACT, THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY WAS SO IMPRESSED WITH THE LIES PRESENTED BY PRESIDENT BUHARI OF NIGERIA THAT THEY ENCOURAGED HIM TO EXTEND HIS LEADERSHIP STYLE TO THE WEST AFRICAN SUB-REGION! Very reminiscent of the 2001 Grammy Award that witnessed protesters outside over Eminem’s shade of lyrics while having his best performers inside the venue! Protests are things associated with sane and democratic societies and not what we have today. In fact, I felt pity for the conveners of the protest, for associating much morality to the International Community. The International Community is already morally bankrupt to the point that evil is now rewarded while good is currently being ignored.

Conclusion

The clamour by the Southern governors for the Southern presidency come 2023 is more of an exercise in futility. It is unlawful, against reason, and also impossible to attain. The so-called agreement for a rotational presidency was a fraud ab initio, and it was not surprising that its primary beneficiary did everything within his power to bend the Constitution to perpetuate his rule like other African dictators. The truth is that for the South to produce the next President in 2023 is more complex than for the head of a camel to pass through the hole of the needle. In the first place, say all things being equal, and the North decide to play fair, they will have one candidate. The South will produce not less than two – at least one from the South-East and South West. What do we have? Even if the South provides just one candidate, he will emerge second. The North has the population. In fact, this whole gist about the South Presidency would more certainly have wiped up sentiments for the Northern presidential candidate.

Aside from the figure, the ruling class determines who produces the next President of Nigeria. This is a fact that has not changed since 1959. Only Abiola attempted to defile this, and he paid the ultimate prize. It has become almost a trademark since particularly in 2003 under the then President Olusegun Obasanjo. The only thing is that the current dispensation now does it with total disregard.

Even if the governors argued that the North had been in power for eight years, so EQUITY demands a Southern president, this would be fair, but this must not be hinged on the need for development in the South. The present administration has not improved the lots of the North since its inception in 2015. We have more rich politicians from a particular ethnic group emerging at the expense of the entire country, which has witnessed only an increasing debt burden. This is not too different from the immediate past administration, only that Goodluck Jonathan made a visible effort to develop the North (for political reasons, though), and did not restrict those that could access the country’s capital resources to a particular ethnic group. So the fact that a president is from a region does not guarantee development for that region. As otherwise, the North would have become the more developed of the two areas in Nigeria.

Aside from the above, Nigerians are neck-deep into the issue of zoning of the presidency, failing to read the signs/fillers coming from the BOSS himself. WHAT IF BUHARI NOR GREE COMOT FOR OFFICE IN 2023?

Sometime last year or earlier, Mr President mentioned for the first time that no amount of pressure from his supporters would make him go for a Third Term! I noted this comment, knowing that such would come up again. Let us agree that I am unnecessarily paranoia and that Mr President is a democrat and does not want to stay longer than 2023 in office, but then again, what we heard recently from Mr President is disturbing – In October 2021, we saw headlines reading – “Buhari Vows to Leave Office in 2023, Warns Presidency Cabal Against Campaigning for Tenure Extension” – Saharaeporters Oct 29, 2021. It quoted Mr President thus: “I swore by the Holy Qur’an that I would serve in accordance with the Constitution and leave when my time is up. No ‘Tazarce’ (tenure extension). I don’t want anybody to start talking about and campaigning for an unconstitutional extension. I will not accept that”. “I Know Nigerians Love Me, They Don’t Want Me To Leave Office Because Of My Hardwork, But Please Stop Campaigning For Me For Third Term – Buhari begs supporters as reactions pop?” Ecocitytvnews Oct 30, 2021.

Troubling times ahead for Nigerians. The caption by Saharareporters shows that the CABAL is seriously at work to make sure Mr President remains in office beyond 2023 [albeit, irrespective of Mr President’s wishes]. Whether he actually swore by the Holy Qur’an and that he can abide by such is another thing. But the second post by Ecocitytvnews is somewhat. As of 2021, with inflation hitting the country like an orphan, with prices of such things as food going up daily, Mr President cannot boost any supporter outside of those under his payroll directly or indirectly. You cannot talk about having a supporter when the price of common cooking gas is now selling for N800/Kg. I mean, we thought that gas was being flared unnecessarily and that by using it for cooking, we were contributing our share to reducing the effect of global warming! How can 1 kg of cooking gas sell for $1 in an oil-producing country like Nigeria, and Mr President talks about HIS supporters! I am sure they must be like the type that LL Cool J ascribed to Cannibus!

However, logic and practicability support that the North needs to produce the next President, so long as such a person is first and foremost NIGERIANS, that must-see Nigeria from a perspective different from what we have today. THAT IS THAT IT IS THE SOUTH THAT HAS THE RESOURCES THAT IS OILING THE EXISTENCE OF THIS NATION, AND AS SUCH, SHOULD BE CARRIED ALONG IN RELIGIOUS, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC MATTERS.

You may fault my arguments and conclusion, but you must agree that insecurity has become a significant problem in Nigeria, and it is in the North that this problem is being propagated. So long as the North remains backwards and a breeding ground for all sorts, the development will continue to elude the entire nation. If the Northern presidency will help the North solve their problem, then the other parts can cope. In this way, we should pray/support a decent and enlightened candidate from the North that will not be sectional or factional; that will see the South as the main component of this thing referred to as Nigeria. Also, there has to be a period of political seasoning for something to become standard before the South can even hope to have a president of Nigeria.

So, my dear Southern politicians, the truth is bitter, but it must be told. If there was such an agreement on the rotational presidency, then you have been swindled, though not without some financial benefit accruing. The Southern politicians have been the primary enablers of the nature of politics that we have in Nigeria today. Rotimi Amaechi, Adams Oshomohle, etc., have made billions selling the birthright of the South to the North. So, do we now eat our cake and still have it with us?

This great country NIGERIA has no problem at all. Nigeria has more than what it takes to be great. God is with the country, recourse to the abundance of human and material resources and its uncommon ability to survive in the face of hellish hardship that they never bargained for. It has the most intelligent and hardworking young people on earth. All we need is just one decent leader that would have the CONSCIOUSNESS that Nigerians deserve better. I used the word consciousness because the present administration does not even know that Nigerians are suffering.

So, while we should hope for better days ahead, we should also remember that 2023 is about two years from now. Would there be a country called Nigeria by then?

Dedicated to Nigerian nationalists

 

 

 

 

 

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