National publicity secretary of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, in the early hours of Monday, asked a former Lagos State governor, Senator Bola Tinubu, to shelve his touted 2023 presidential bid to preserve Nigeria’s corporate existence.
In an open letter to Tinubu, he counsel Tinubu to key into the Igbo presidency in 2023 cause, stressing that posterity would be kind of him if he toed the “path of reason, conscience and equity” on the matter.
Describing the All Progressives Congress (APC) leader as a strategic thinker with a formidable frontier spirit, Ogbonnia noted in the document titled: Open Letter to His Excellency, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu,” that his fear was that Tinubu would be embarking on a political adventure that lacks conscience and principle if he contests for the presidency.
His words: “In the past, Ahmed Bola Tinubu would have concerned himself with the cause of the agitation in the South-East and the solution thereof, but because of the obsession to become a president, it does appear that the more turbulent the South-East the better for the Jagaban. This is morally reprehensible. However, I have my fears that Tinubu is embarking on a political adventure that lacks both conscience and principle.
Ogbonnia made a copy of the letter available to the Nigerian Tribune in Ibadan.
He warned that the huge social capital and the profiling of Tinubu as the conscience of Nigeria may suffer irreversible damage if he contests the presidency in 2023, adding: “I am persuaded that such ambition will be ill-advised and would amount to the demystification of the cult-followership, which the Jagaban has built around himself.
The letter read in part: “Your Excellency, the major cause of the agitation in the South-East of Nigeria is the obvious alienation of the people from the various centres of power which has attained its crescendo under the present APC led government. The extreme form of the agitation is the yearnings for secession by groups such as Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“Evidently, the ongoing activities of IPOB in the South-East should be of great concern to every patriotic Nigerian. For the avoidance of doubt, the followers of IPOB insist on leaving Nigeria for a country of their own, if the injustice against them persists unabated. On the other hand, the more deprived the South-East, the more the crises in the region. Unfortunately, some Nigerians outside the South-East are playing the ostrich.
“When confronted with danger, the ostrich instinctively buries its head in the sand dunes in the hope that it is shielded from the enemy.
“The ostrich often forgets that the entire body is exposed to the danger. In other words, it is a foolhardiness to believe that the ripple effect of the South-East agitation and restiveness will not affect entire Nigeria.
“My fear is that to deny the South-East the very opportunity and in fact, the right to produce the next president of Nigeria will increase the agitation and ultimately spell disaster for the country.
“I am convinced that Your Excellency, in your typical manner of fighting for equity and justice should be in the vanguard for a Nigerian president from the South East of Nigeria, come 2023. This is the mark of a true statesman.
“One would also appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari and all the former Nigerian leaders, namely General Yakubu Gowon, General Olusegun Obasanjo, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Chief Ernest Shonekan, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and some others such as our only Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, Chief Edwin Clark, etc to speak up in defence of peace and unity of Nigeria by insisting on fairness to the South East of Nigeria. And they would have written their names in gold.
“I must quickly add that the difference between the progressive and retrogressive or backward societies is the presence or absence of men of courage, selflessness, justice and truth. Nigeria will forever remember Dr Alex Ekwueme and his group because of speaking truth to power and rising to the occasion when it matters most. This is a noble path that beckons.
“In the past, Ahmed Bola Tinubu would have concerned himself with the cause of the agitation in the South-East and the solution thereof, but because of the obsession to become a president, it does appear that the more turbulent the South-East the better for the Jagaban. This is morally reprehensible.
“However, I have my fears that Tinubu is embarking on a political adventure that lacks both conscience and principle. The immortal words of Othman Dan-Fodio that “conscience is an open wound and only the truth can heal it” should serve as a moral compass to Nigerian leaders. Noah Webster had admonished that all the miseries, afflictions and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the inner still voice of reason and conscience.
“It is also necessary to add that the solid foundation for a new Igbo-Yoruba relation that was laid with the blood of the likes of Col Adekunle Fajuyi will be improved upon by your large heart. I must admit that my request to Your Excellency is a very difficult pill to swallow but a more difficult pill awaits the likely post-2023 agitations, national crises, insecurity, instability and the collapse of the Nigerian economy if injustice against the South East of Nigeria prevails. On the other hand, a pyrrhic victory and calamity await those who intend to rejoice and dance for unjustly depriving the Igbo rights.
The author notes that BAT is a man whose immense political manoeuvres cannot be ignored. While interacting with the leaders of the North on Saturday, December 11, 2023, BAT is quoted as saying: I don’t need the South East and South-South to become Nigerian President. He added among others, that “the vote of the North West, North East, some largely Muslim states in the North Central as well as South West, were enough to make him president”.
“Many shortsighted Tinubu apologists will jump at the above calculation aimed at nailing the political coffin of the South-East and South-South. The question remains: Does the above political calculation promote national peace and unity?
“On the other hand, an ambition that will set Nigeria on a collision course, mutual mistrust, civil disobedience, political upheavals and violence is not only unscrupulous but morally reprehensible.
“Based on the foregoing, I most sincerely advise His Excellency, Senator Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to toe the path of reason, conscience and equity. It is important to add that posterity will be kind to Your Excellency if you reconsider your ambition in the interest of the corporate existence of Nigeria. Not only that, I wish to see Jagaban adding his voice to a Nigerian President of the South-East extraction.”