Presidency: Igbo need Nigeria, Nigeria does not need Igbo- Muhammed
By Jonathan Asikason
Erstwhile lawmaker in the Second Republic, Dr Junaid Muhammed, has urged Igbos to seek best strategy that would enable them to clinch the presidency in 2023 rather than seeing it as their turn.
Reacting to growing calls for the 2023 presidency to be zoned to Southeast, Muhammed, urged Igbos to pursue the agenda with caution and tact. According to him, “the only option to assume power is to persuade other people who have a stake in that power. Persuasion is the only way. But, you can’t think that killing of unfortunate northerners in Umuahia, attacking them in Port Harcourt using IPOB or hid under EndSARS protest to kill people who don’t have anything to do with shenanigans or who exercise the power of who gets what will give you power. No, it won’t. In a democracy, the only way is to persuade people to vote for you. But if you think you can do it by force we will wait and see how it goes.”
Asked whether it Would be fair for the North to continue after President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023, the controversial northern leader flip-flopped the question and dabbled into Nigeria’s colonial history after which he gibed: “People who are advancing this zoning don’t even look at the advantages of the economic reality of the country today. In the past, the country was depending on natural commodities where you needed to put in efforts – till the ground, get the cocoa to grow, get the hide and skin, get the groundnut and other commodities exported and earn foreign exchange which is good for whatever you would do in return.
“But, when you look at the economy from after the civil war particularly from 1970, you will see that it is oil dominated as against agriculture and mining. If those people making this demand have anything serious to offer, we can discuss it. But for those who produce nothing for the country to say it is their turn to govern the country, I found that very difficult to understand.
“Chief Osadebe once said that Biafra misadventure was a mistake. First and foremost, Igbo need Nigeria, but Nigeria does not need Igbo. Chief Osadebe was an Igbo man who came from present day Edo and Delta states.
“So, if they imagine that they can finance IPOB or Ohanaeze to insult and abuse whoever they want to insult, by so doing, by putting a gun on our head and say that it is now their turn to produce the next President of Nigeria, I tell them to go ahead. Let’s see who will blink first.”
Muhammed further argued that zoning and rotational presidency has inherent problems when juxtaposed with democracy and rule of law. “Democracy is at its finest when we talk about freedom of choice by the people. When you believe that power is just going to be rotational, then it means you also believe that power is going to be abused.”