The origin of rotational leadership and management of political institutions predates democracy as a social system for inclusion and stability in any heterogeneous political arrangement. The political theory for rotating Nigerian presidency finds its fulcrum on balancing the wheel of social justice, equity and inclusiveness in the management and governance of the Nigerian enterprise.
It is a social theory that lacks constitutional bearing but beckons as a constant dominant factor in every general election in Nigeria since the 1995 Constitutional Conference. If the presidency must be achieved based on rotational arrangements, it must primarily be to advance a candidate that would give us a premium threshold of development results, leadership excellence and commitment to Nigeria’s oneness. Since Nigeria attained independence in 1960, virtually all ethnic groups in the country have devised unifying ethnic organizations for the advancement and actualization of their collective economic and socio-political aspirations and interests, thereby creating an uneasy political relations among Nigeria’s more than 250 ethnic nationalities.
The quest to mobilize the Igbo race started in the first two decades of the 20th century, as part of Igbo resistance to foreign invasion and colonial domination. But Ndi Igbo has carried on the exclusionary politics for too long and almost in all major elections in Nigeria. As episodes of the game of the 2023 presidential throne unfold, Ndi Igbo must not demand for the presidency on the sentiment of social exclusion but on the strength of their leaders’ competence, visions for an inclusively developed Nigeria, ability to govern Nigeria like a public company where the interest of all shareholders and stakeholders are protected and commitment to sustaining Nigeria’s oneness.
To win the presidency, Ndi Igbo must play strategic politics of interest and policies. Negotiating a balanced political deal that promises hope for Nigeria; one that opens wider window of opportunities for subsequent generations of Igbo politicians to emerge; a deal that would give them a chance to rewrite the plethora of wrong notions about Ndi Igbo; a deal that would industrialize Nigeria; a deal that would leverage on Nigeria’s development comparative and competitive edges; a deal that would make Nigeria function efficiently; a deal for Nigeria and Nigerians.
Politics is a game of complex interests, strategy, tactics, collaboration and bridge building, and effective communications. When a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction emerges, he or she has a responsibility to make a clear difference in servant leadership, credible and visionary leadership, in building a creative and smart nation for all, in setting a new standard in governance and in uniting Nigeria.
If the Igbo agenda for the 2023 presidency fails, the leaders of the region have a duty to organize Ndi Igbo for inclusionary relevance within the prevailing polity. They must continue to show leadership in providing and cementing the building blocks of Nigeria, and the South East as the industrial base of Nigeria. Nigeria’s federal system, though weak, gives the southeastern, governors the latitude to leverage their states for local development.
The solutions to the complaints of social injustice and marginalization of Ndi Igbo cannot be solved by the politics of winning the presidency alone; it would be manifestly resolved the moment the leaders within the region begin to take responsibility for the desired development results in their states.
Ekpa Stanley Ekpa, Esq.,