Last week, a member of the House of Representatives, Obinna Ogba, harped on the need for the South-East region to produce the next President that will succeed President Muhammadu Buhari come 2023.
The lobby for a President of Igbo extraction is not new but has gained ascendancy lately.
For years, the region has yelled and cried for other regions to concede to them the opportunity to produce a chief occupant of the Aso Rock Villa.
This, and two other stories created conversations around the National Assembly (NASS), past week.
Clamour for ‘Igbo Presidency’
On April 21, Ogba stressed that having an Igbo President for Nigeria in 2023 was non-negotiable.
“It is the turn of the Southeast to produce the next President, nobody is contesting that. No ethnic nationality should hide under the guise of insecurity to deny the region its right,” he had said while speaking at a media briefing in Abuja.
He added: “Now all of a sudden because the idea of Presidency coming to Igbo land has come from probability to possibility, people want to turn Igbo land into a terrorists’ ground.”
Ogba’s statement reinforces the eagerness to have Ndigbo reassured of their place in the Nigerian project.
This impatience and agitation stem from the place of years of perceived marginalisation from the scheme of national affairs, especially after the Nigeria-Biafra civil war.
It remains a conjecture though whether having an Igbo man occupy the Presidency would be an automatic solution, and compensation for the years of perceived marginalization of the South-East.
Nonetheless, the alleged continuous deprivation of the South-East in the allocation of national appointments and federal infrastructure are held to be substantially responsible for the resurgence of secessionist movements in the region, and the intense call for restructuring.
This argument has been compounded by claims of injustice and inequity as illustrated in the seeming conspiratorial reluctance of other regions to allow power rotate towards the eastern region after others have had access to the presidency.
Will Ndigbo claw their way to the presidency through uncoordinated noise-making or through a more strategic but deliberate act of negotiations? This question will subsist even as thoughts of the South-East not being United in the common pursuit has been dismissed as frivolous as other regions have their fair share of internal squabbles.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“When you talk about herdsmen and farmers’ clash, it is a story going good-bye. Have you heard of farmers/herders clashes in Benue again? No. We know those who were behind that. I am talking about the State Government, through the livestock guards. They knew what was going on. So, it is now a thing of the past. Everything that is going there is fraudulent in Benue State and the people are simply tired on this misinformation that they have been receiving. The narrative has changed; it is not a question of herdsmen, we are not talking about religious and ethnic bigotry, we are talking about performance of government.?”
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
On firearms proliferation
Senator Uba Sani, on April 19, raised the alarm that the country is under siege from murderous non-state actors whose activities amount to a threat to the country’s existence.
In his submissions during a public hearing on Firearms Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill 2021 and Executive Economic Zones Act 2010 (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill 2021, Sani lamented the proliferation of illegal arms.
“We are under siege from murderous non-state actors. They have been acquiring arms illegally, maiming our people and threatening the continued existence of our dear nation. We either take measures to deny them of the oxygen that sustains their nefarious activities or we watch helplessly as they overrun us and our country,” he said.
It is no-brainer to state emphatically that the continuous killings, destruction of property, and all other forms of criminality by bandits, armed herdsmen, Boko Haram terrorists, and currently the so-called ‘unknown gunmen’ are all made easy through the acquisition of illegal arms in the country.
On this very touchy national challenge, many are of the opinion that the fault line lies with the betrayal of national interest by security agencies who aid and abet the acquisition of the illegal arms through smuggling.
If this argument is sustained, then it questions the capacity, sincerity and commitment of government in addressing the leadership gaps and punishing all those caught in the act.
The on-going efforts at amending the laws, as good as they may seem, would yield no value as long as the executive remains lackadaisical in managing or dealing with identified challenges.
Therefore, unless there is appropriate reward for transgressions of laid down rules, Nigeria may just continue to swim in the ocean of illegal arms.
Trading 7,200 penises
On April 22, the House of Representatives resolved to investigate alleged illicit trade on human organs between Nigeria and China.
The resolution of the House was sequel to an agreement on a motion by Hon. Rimamnde Kwewum and co-sponsored by Hon. Olajide Olatubosun at plenary.
While moving the motion, Kwewum disclosed that Chinese authorities had seized a cargo ship that sailed from Nigeria with 7,200 refrigerated penises. They were said to have been found in 36 boxes labelled as plantain on the ship that harboured at the Shanghai port called Red Market.
He had stated that the source of the illegal trade could have resulted from “the increasing cases of missing persons, ritual killings and trafficking of persons out of the country or
…increased banditry, kidnappings and spiralling violence in several parts of the country”
One thing is sure, the illicit trade is a hurtful fruit of the growing insecurity which has positioned the country as the third most terrorised nation in the world according to Global Terrorism Index (GTI).
And, the Red market is unfortunately bound to keep flourishing as long as banditry, insurgency, human trafficking, among other ills, are left to thrive.
Nevertheless, whether the discovery of the trade would have effect in stemming the tide of insecurity in the country would certainly remain a thing of guess.
Having to checkmate this illicit trade would demand an effective collaboration with the Federal Government and the Chinese government. This is a task that Kwewum and Olatubosun should champion for the safety of all innocent Nigerians.
Answer: George Akume
Akume made the statement on November 23, 2018, while speaking with State House correspondents at the Aso Rock Villa shortly after he led a delegation of All Progressives Congress (APC), members from Benue State on a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari. He represented Benue North-west Senatorial District at the Senate. He served as the Senate Minority Leader between June 2011 and June 2015.
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