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What does ‘an Igbo president’ mean in Nigeria?

 By MC Asuzu 21 July 2022  

On February 15, 2019 in The Guardian Newspaper, I published an article titled “Who needs an Igbo president in Nigeria?” Naturally and as would be expected, some people wrote rejoinders rather very rapidly to tell anybody who would care to listen to them, that I was talking nonsense and that they, or at least some people in Nigeria, needed “an Igbo president.” Some Nigerians thought that I would write another article soon enough to further explain to such people that they did not understand the article and so to better re-iterate what I was saying in the article. But I did not think that such a response was needed.


 As Simon and Garfunkel sang in one of their songs of my more youthful years and as wisdom informs anyone whosoever desired to listen to it in his heart, “all lies and jests, still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest!” And so continues the lives of men, once we (or such persons) refuse to examine those lives under the light of God’s grace – whether they belong to the Nigerian or even modern man’s league of the “holy men and women of God”; or like me, do not!

 Since that 2019 of that said article, many things have happened or rather worsened so badly in Nigeria that one may jolly well return to that old theme of “an Igbo President”; or indeed, of a Tiv, Efik, Hausa, Yoruba, Christian, Muslim, etc, president, for Nigeria! Such languages, full of the corruptions from ethnicity, tribalism and religious fanaticisms that has brought our country so low in the comity of nations is exactly what those expressions mean, and that is what all those using such expressions represent, surely! Obviously, none of that is a need for Nigeria; now or ever! Unless one is very unintelligent or a sheer mischief maker, he would know that for the 8th year going now, Nigeria has had what will without any iota of doubt be properly referred to as a Fulani and a Muslim president for itself!


And again, unless one is very unintelligent or sheer mischief maker, all would agree that such is not the type of president that Nigeria needs or should have ever, in our life time and even till the end of time! Such a president is one in which all ministers holding the key such offices in Nigeria must be such Fulanis and/or jihadist Muslims; or those who hold unalloyed allegiances to them! Same with the commanders of all our security forces, state governors, directors or chief executives of all important ministries, departments and agencies – customs, immigration, finance, education, “anti-corruption agencies”, you just name it! These may even be installed by all sorts of internationally nullifiable court processes; for the sheer stupidities and injustices that they are!

 The counterpart of that, and so what “an Igbo president” means, is one who will ensure that only Igbo hold all these offices in the country or some silly stooges to such tribalistic ideologies in their favour; as the Fulani, Islamic president has done in the last 7 years and going! Of course, the meaning of that, of all the armed forces and security agencies being in the hands of such people, is that our most dear president who did such a thing can go on doing all politically unacceptable things and “be sure” or believe that nothing will happen to him! If those armed forces do not go openly under whatever code names to suppress or kill such people, that may do so as all types of the untouchable “unknown gunmen”, “terrorists from Libya”, Fulani herdsmen, Boko Haram, ISIS, ISWAP, etc, as has become our acceptable political culture now – with armed forces that are never able to fish out such “unknown gunmen”, etc; even with all the intelligence and electronic surveillance systems known to the modern world today!

 Even internal court marshals may be used to eliminate them! What a country! What a way to live! And in a country where all these performers are such “holy people”, praying publicly to the applause of obviously very unreasoning and unintelligent people, many times in every day of the week! Otherwise, how can such politicians be doing what they do and pretend to anybody that they are praying to the God of social justice and universal love and equity, that even the smallest child knows so very well? There were people like that in ancient history that were called “Scribes and Pharisees”; and what was said of them by the Jesus Christ of Nazareth may jolly well be said of these politicians of today; and even more! – “brood of vipers”, “whited sepulchers”, “destroyers of men, of destinies, the will of God (attempted), and of nations” etc. But such discussions will be for another day, obviously!


Now, to bring this discussion to its necessary end, one must again say as one had said in that February 15, 2019 article, that Nigeria does not need an Igbo, Tiv, Fulani, Christian, Muslim, Yoruba, Berom, Southern Kaduna, Zango Kataf, another Fulani, jihadist Muslim, or such other persons as her president! When we finish with the present president that we all universally know us to be having now, it should be the last of such people who will ever come out for such an office and we, by any deception whatsoever, allow such a person to assume that office! That is, if Nigeria must continue as one country and especially begin to develop into a progressive nation of human beings made in the image and likeness of God and willing to live as such; as the reformed country that we must now have!

 What Nigeria needs for her president, is a non-kleptomaniac, genuinely detribalized, non-fanatic and truly God-fearing man (or woman for that matter!); an intelligent, governance-tested and courageous person. On the general note, the so-called national character-North-Central, South-Eastern, South-Western, North-Eastern, South-Southern and North-Western geographical spreads – of all offices and national middle and top level employments and leadership, including the presidency in such a just and equitous manner (but not by tribe or fanatical religiousities) will become the case by an innermost core feeling and culture of the people!

 All the re-cycled, brain-dead, nearly dead or sick to the point of death, barely managing health, Ghana-must-go-money-sharing, arrogant, business as usual, “everybody has a bribe prize”, and similar brands of politicians that Nigeria has become the storehouse of, must be advised to go home and rest from the loot that they have gathered over these long gone years – whether banked abroad and/or additionally carried around in bullion vans in Nigeria, or not! They should just be praying that Nigerians do not call for their financial and economic scrutiny beyond just a healthy recovery of those stolen monies, whether still kept in their custodies, in traceable self-investments anywhere or those of their many agents.

 It is also time for Nigerians to begin to form new political parties based on very clear and healthy political ideologies, very clearly documented. The other erstwhile very small parties, not as humongously corrupted and with no ideologies whatsoever, should also begin to talk to one another, to provide for us, some two, three and no more than 4 such truly national political parties. Only in that way shall we be able to fully get rid of the two political and economic and tribal/religious corruption parties that have ruined us in the last 23 years.

 In doing so, these to-emerge parties, must learn not to refer to any of these past evil parties so that their lips will be and remain clean; and so, be blessed by the one true God whom the down trodden masses of Nigeria had been calling upon in the last 60 years or so, to save them. May this happen rapidly also; not only in 2023 but continuingly to its utmost perfection as God lives! Amen.

 Asuzu is a retired professor of public health and community medicine, currently at the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo.

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