“2023 Presidency: A Litmus Test on the Affinity between the South and North for Future Dealings”


2023 Presidential Elections: A Litmus Test on the Affinity between the South and North for Future Dealings

By Sunday Omosule

Democracy has indeed come a long way in the history of our nation, Nigeria. Just like other forms of government, it has its own numerous disadvantages, one of which I termed ” survival of the luckiest and not the fittest” because in this setting, even the fittest may in the long run appear being unlucky. It is a game of interest and the lucky powers that be – the cabals, whose side, the political pendulum bob swings at the election period . Aside the common knowledge that politics is a game of numbers, I also see it as a game of coexistence because it determines the kind of affinity that exists between or among different nations that make a particular federation and the consequent derivatives.

Personally, I do not agree with the school of thought which claims that the transition of Nigerian Presidency is a product of electorate, rather, I see it as a game dependent on the lucky cabals who hail from the ethnic affiliation of the incumbent leaders. This is as a result of the fact that it is the interest of these surreptitious cabals that determines the available party options, out of which the electorate align themselves with, either wittingly or unwittingly. This corroborates the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari as the candidate of APC under the chairmanship of Chief Bisi Akande, a Southerner in 2015 and that of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, under the Chairmanship of PDP’s Prince Uche Secondus, another Southerner in the 2019 general elections. Before we see politics as a game of numbers and then blame the electorate for power shift, it is imperative we understand that the good or evil the political parties do passes through the electorate and then to the Presidency. We cannot continue to cast the blame of power shift on the electorate while our regional leaders paradoxically fan the embers of discord at the expense of our peaceful coexistence as a nation. Of course, a piper can only blame the sound of the trumpet in vain.

Though the idea of power rotation and zoning may seem antithetical as one could claim that there is freedom of expression of interest in our democratic culture. However, in 1999, when democratic governance was restored after a long period of military rule in Nigeria, there was a gentleman agreement among the regional leaders to limit the electoral choices for the Presidency to the Southern region in the interest of fairness, equity, peaceful coexistence and oneness of our dear nation Nigeria. In this atomic age of speed, one would expect that for an average person to merit the title of leadership, he or she must be willingly ready to let go of the bee after extracting its honey rather than turning oneself to a fly who prefers to be buried in the belly of palm-wine lovers. Recall that in 2007, after former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a Southerner spent the constitutionally-bound two terms in office, he as a matter of necessity ensured that power returned to the North and no notable political party or aspirant engaged the North in any such combat for the Nigerian Presidency. This is what I termed “the principle of peaceful coexistence in nation’s politics- “we don’t belong to the garden if we are not gardeners”

In conclusion, I strongly want the Northern power brokers, whether in the name of tradition, religion or politics to know that the principle of peaceful coexistence is the only premise on which Nigeria can coexist and this is why I speak as a responsible Citizen in the interest of one Nigeria lest the labour of our past heroes be thrown into the thrash can of greed. No region has monopoly of power broking just as no cabal is secretive beyond what the political electrons can x-ray. There were cabals from the South when former President Olusegun Obasanjo ceded the Presidency to the North in 2007. We had power brokers in the South when Prince Uche Secondus’ PDP led exco zoned the Presidency to the North in 2019 but they didn’t play to the gallery. There were cabals in the South when General Obasanjo handed over power to a democratic president Alhaji Shehu Shagari of National Party of Nigeria in 1979 and this he did without throwing the entire Northern region into a state of confusion thereby sending their aspirants on a wild goose mission. There were juntos, cliques and conspiracy theorists in the South when Chief Bisi Akande’s led APC exco overtly encouraged that power returns to North since the then outgoing President Jonathan was from the South. All these ones have had a taste of power before and could have loved to play the North and retain the position for their region but for the sake of our compatriots who sacrificed their lives on the altar of one Nigeria based on the principle of peaceful coexistence. It is high time the North reciprocated the good gestures they have received from the South by ceding power to the South. The 2023 election is going to be a final litmus test on our future dealings and hence, the fate of Nigeria. You do not belong to the class of heroes if we have to tell you that your antics are capable of troubling the peace of our dear nation. Remember, the amity that wisdom knits not, folly may easily untie.

Sunday Olusegun Omosule writes from Akure, Nigeria. He is currently the State Secretary of ONDO-NIPR and can be reached via awufungo@gmail.com and +2348037096637.