An elder statesman recently spoke in confidence to a group of younger generation bon the state of the nation recently. He was said to have asked very patriotic rhetorical questions: “Do Nigerians want former President Goodluck Jonathan for nothing? The taste of pudding is it not in the eating?”
The worries of Nigerians on the current perilous state of the nation can never be emphasised enough on any platform. As a matter of fact, the level of national disillusionment from the North to South is being captured in the streets, at homes, in the markets, offices, farms, cities and rural areas.
Economically, the country has never been this hungry and thirsty since Nigeria’s Civil War. Politically, the country has never been more polarised or divided; in short, the level of regional sessionist agitation has reached a near brwaking point for the fragile peace and unity of the country.
In terms of security, the country has never known peace since 2015. Granted that the present administration inherited national security problems, but the government has fallen far short of the promise it made regarding securing the country and it’s over 200 million population.
The state of national security has been going from bad to worse and to worst. There is unending insurgency in the North-East, banditry and kidnapping in the North-West, farmers versus herders clashes in the North-Central, kidnapping and highway robberies in the Southern parts of the country.
It is a fact that many Nigerians now do not feel safe travelling from state to state, even in intra-city travels. These are indeed not the best of times for the country. The biggest of these is the grave general concern that, how can the country go into a crusial transition with all these excess baggages?
That is why the coming 2023 Presidential Election is most crucial for the survival of our country’s democracy. Most importantly, that is why the choice of who becomes the next president to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari comes in.
The answer(s) to the above questions, as many ethnic nationalities in the country have rightly noted, is President Jonathan. The country needs to rebuild it’s national confidence and pride which only GEJ has the credentials to deliver.
There is however a recent development which indicates thatt the North is not ready to allow the presidency to rotate back to the south after President Muhammadu Buhari completes his second tenure in 2023. This should not be taken as the truest feelings in the North. The truth is that we on the North are tired of the crop of leaders the region has produced in recent times, in fact more than the perception in other parts of the country.
It is very obvious that the way an average Northerner feels about the present governance system is that of exclusion. The fact that President Buhari is from the North has not made the region fared better or given the region any socio-economic advantage in any way. All the economic and social development indices are there for all to see.
In other words, the North actually benefits more from the president of Southern extraction than from the North and it is a historical fact.
It is very obvious that since democracy returned to Nigeria in 1999, the North has been playing wrong politics by default and the most unfortunate thing is that it has made the region look like a public enemy to the rest of Nigeria. Obviously, the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has given the rest of Nigeria and the global audience watching the events going in the country reasons to believe that we the core North are the problems of Nigeria.
From economic, political and religious perspectives, we have wrongly projected ourselves, defaced our values because we corrupted it with greed, arrogance and inordinate quest for power at all cost. The value that is currently being advanced by the new leaders of the region is disruptive, haughty and does not encourage any fair union among multi-cultural and social structures like Nigeria.
It is an established fact that under the Buhari administration, the North has squandered its good will that Nigerians overwhelmingly gave it and it needs urgent remedy. This has resulted in inestimable collateral damage to its political fortunes in the Nigerian project.
Under the present circumstance, it is important to buttress the fact that the North – and indeed the entire country – will benefit more from a Nigerian President of Southern descent if it takes a deep reflection on the current cracks as a result of deep-seated mistrust in its hyped monolithic “United North”.
Besides, there are several other minority groups within the far Northern states whose voices are scarcely heard. There is a growing mass awareness among these marginalised ethnic groups in the region that they understand that the time they are referred to as a United North is during elections where their votes are needed after which they are forgotten again. In other words, they are only good at being used during elections and any time the Hausa-Fulanis need the support of the ethnic groups within its monolithic structure where regional interest is at stake; they are not invited to partake in the spoil of war.
In the North, we have been rather selfish, proud, arrogant and pretentious. We didn’t manage Obasanjo politics well when he opted for President Umaru Yar’adua. We ought to have allowed President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to continue by having his second tenure but we played bad politics and ended in the Buhari fiasco. Now, we are thinking of returning to GEJ because he is presently our best option in the mess we have created in the present Nigeria.
This – and many more – is why 2023 matters to the North, and the reason why GEJ matters even more above other considerations.