“Southeast can benefit significantly from any government in power, if its politics are right”
The Southeast Nigeria is virtually at a political cross road ahead of the 2023 General Election. Win or lose, the zone must be confronted by questions of power sharing. For instance, if the project for Nigeria’s president of Igbo extraction fails, what would be the fate of the zone in the next four or eight years? What would be its stake in the coming new government? If it wins, how does it intend to manage its victory in the Southeast with a unique situation of having three different parties holding power across the states of the zone? Politics largely is a give and take venture. Hence, what a people get is usually commensurate with what they give. While this may not be ideal, it is real and any serious person who is keen about self preservation, must be conversant with the ideal, but must play along with the real. It is realistic and consistent with the nature of politics to reward support and this could pose serious problems at both ends..
Having supported the PDP nearly exclusively since 1999, the Southeast would have be granted the Presidential ticket of the party, which Peter Obi might have comfortably rode on to a most likely victory, given what we have seen ahead of the coming Presidential Election. The PDP’s inability to reward arguably its most loyal political ally by geo political zone, is what has now created a Third Force in the race to Aso Rock. Today, Peter Obi’s Labour Party is a factor in the election, putting particularly the PDP in a bad position, with its chances of a victorious outing getting more blurry, after its southern strong holds are snatched by the LP.
In 2015 after President Buhari won the election without support from the Southeast, the differences were so pronounced.
Yet, there is more for Southeast to learn from the development than there is for the PDP. Southeast despite supporting the PDP since the inception of this democracy in 1999, has practically not benefitted anything tangible in terms of infrastructure development or national political power. In 2015 after President Buhari won the election without support from the Southeast, the differences were so pronounced. Yet, this repeated in 2019 which hints that the APC can win without Southeast support. Although President Buhari has grossly mismanaged the psychology of the Southeast which further widened the gap in worldview, real or imagined. However, President Buhari has contributed immensely to the Southeast’s infrastructure, arguably more than any other Nigeria’s president.
The seasonal promise of second Niger Bridge repeated by former PDP Presidents including former President Goodluck Jonathan, has been ended by President Buhari, who was not supported by the Southeast to become President. The lesson really, is that politics can bring strange results. How can a loved and supported President not fulfill the promise of a major infrastructure to his major support base, but a president not loved and not supported has fulfilled that promise. Therefore, what this tells is that the Southeast can benefit significantly from any government in power, if its politics are right. If President Buhari can undertake the second Niger Bridge and complete it on record time, despite the gap in political support, then, going forward, the Southeast must do well to arrange its eggs better in different baskets.
Although a credible son of the Southeast is now one of the top contenders to the country’s highest office, the experience of the past should guide the political behavior of the zone. The collective interest of the zone is bigger than it’s political aspiration, including the agitation for president of Nigeria of Igbo extraction. With this in mind, the Southeast can afford to eschew fanatic posturing of any form in 2023 politics. While it is expected that the LP and its candidate Peter Obi, should do well in the Southeast because of support base, there has to be an understanding among the general Southeast public that other political parties still have their membership and would still garner votes in the zone and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. In fact, just like the parable of the tares and the wheat, the Southeast must position strategically in a way that people should go on happily with their support for their preferred candidates and at the end, whoever wins the presidency in 2023 would court its interests and attend to its demands. The collective interests of the zone are superior to who actually wins the 2023 Presidential Election. Therefore, it must not be approached from a singular agenda of wining with Labour Party, at any cost simply because this is politics and there are uncertainties.
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