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On June 12, 1993, the increasingly conscious people of the worlds most populous black nation, representing themselves

in their millions, converged in different parts of the country and held a national conference. With an uncommon spirit, later to resurrect in some distant lands in the form of the Arab Spring, a big, unambiguous, decisive and sweeping resolution was made. In one accord, the message was signed, sealed and delivered by the Ijaw, Fulani, Tiv, Kanuri, Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba and other compatriots of all religious, political and socio-cultural persuasions. Its expression came in the form of the election, freely made, of a Nigerian citizen, Bashorun MKO Abiola, as the leader of their common choice. Tributary statements were also, by implication, made: The ordinary and good people of the Giant of Africa, left alone to their free will, would not be swayed by tribe, tongue or religion on national issues. The leadership of the country would not necessarily be a turn-by-turn affair, but one of who the people believed in. The decision on who should get the mandate to preside over the nation, its constituent parts and institutions would be the peoples and not that of any group of self-appointed leaders, elders, cabal or mafia. Whether a serving helmsman should be obliged a further mandate or not would not be decided by any consultative forum, renewal group, regional peoples assembly or fire-spitting champions of violence. A national conference could hardly have been more sovereign and conclusive. What was neither sovereign nor inclusive was the criminal annulment of the sacred resolution of the peoples conference by those who were wont to gyrate, like palm wine drinkers, in the heavily-fortified political shrine of unrepentant power terrorists. The consequences of the grievous act, which former American ambassador to the country, Walter Carrington, berated in no ambiguous terms, was immediate, as nations which just spoke as one people, started relocating along tribal and religious lines, fears of war looming large in the atmosphere. Else, a people who had already dialogued successfully must dialogue again! The agitation for a sovereign national conference became intense over the years, not because the teeming people had not already settled the matter, but because dangerous and callously desperate political businessmen would always go mad again. Again and again, it has all been about power, absolute power and nothing but power. The political blood suckers, tragically always whipping up divisive sentiments in their selfish and inordinate quest for power, had succeeded in heating up the political environment such that a national anthem of intoxicating melody titled Sovereign National Conference assumed the status of a socio-political sine qua non. For that purpose, how long would a meaningful and result-oriented national conference last? Would any patriotism-inspired resolution of the conference, for instance, allocate the presidency to any group on a platter of gold just because it has been marginalized? In what garb would a peoples conference clad any group of power traffickers who insist that the presidency must, by fire and by force, remain in, rotate or return to their region forthwith? Do rampaging and ubiquitous power merchants disguised as leaders and elders speak for the people of their regions or for their power-greedy selves? In the words of the President, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) Yerima Shettima, the problem of the average northern man is not where the president comes from What they want is a government that will provide dividends of governance, give them free education, ensure that they have food on their table. It doesnt matter if the person is a Christian, Muslim, pagan or idol worshipper If we find a better alternative somewhere other than the North, we will mobilize and support the person. That was the spirit and resolution of the national dialogue of June 12! Abiola did not win the 1993 presidential election because it was the turn of the South West. Moshood did not win because it was, as a matter feasting over somebodys dead body, a must for Muslims. Kashimawo did not win because he otherwise would have made the country ungovernable. Olawale did not win because he would have deployed his wealth to cause his Yoruba nation to secede. The symbol of democracy won because he was MKO the man who millions who

believed in him knew him to be. In that gracious spirit, it would be soul-lifting to learn that Ndigbo have decided to actively participate in providing valuable and development-based leadership to the country by taking a shot at the presidency and will not look back on this mission. That is the traditional Igbo nzogbu, nzogbu Enyimba enyi spirit. Our sole purpose is to pursue and realize an Igbo presidency that would give us a sense of belonging in the Nigerian political sphere as critical stake-holders in corporate Nigeria as well as provide the needed leadership that would provide fillip to our national pride. That is the kind of leadership the country badly needs at the moment But it would be spirit-dampening to sniff that the only way we can ensure equity is to allow (?) an Igbo man to be president. Mba! The most desirable Igbo man for the Villa is not he who clinches the presidency goal from any such political offside position. Let we Igbo have our turn first, then we can begin to elect the president on merit. Mba! Mba! A people that have given the nation such brilliant minds and internationally acclaimed mortals of sterling attributes as Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, Alex Ekweme, Chinua Achebe, Emeka Anyaoku, Charles Soludo, Dora Akunyili and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala cannot be justifiably assumed to lack quality and merit. Indira Gandhi of India, Margaret Thatcher of Britain, Golda Meir of Israel, Isabel Martinez de Peron of Argentina, Sirimavo Bandaranaike and later, her daughter, Chandrika Kumaratunga of Sri Lanka, Corazon Aquino and Gloria Arroyo of The Philippines, Violeta Chamorro of Nicaragua, Megawati Sukarnoputri of Indonesia, Angela Merkel of Germany, Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, Helen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and Joyce Banda of Malawi! These are women who, at one time or the other have held or are holding the destiny of their respective countries in their tender feminine hands. Nigeria could boast of women of compelling attributes capable of rubbing shoulders with these global amazons and the most appealing examples at the moment are perhaps those of Igbo extraction! But what was it in Abiola, by no means an angel, that made him so acceptable to all Christians and Moslems, the North and the South, the East and the West, the young and old, the rich and the poor, the home-based and the ones in the Diaspora? The most qualified Igbo man or woman for the needed leadership that would provide fillip to our national pride is that in favour of whom this sniffing question is answered. In the hope that we reaffirm to go on with one Nigeria, as enthused by President Goodluck Jonathan and many of his optimistic patriots, the best Igbo citizen for the highest office in the land is the one who personifies the latest version of the MKO political Operating System software.

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