Ekweremadu Is Right: The Igbos Must Negotiate With The North To Realize 2023 Igbo Presidency

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By Dr. Johnson Greg

I read the following statement attributed to Senator Ike Ekweremmadu and I smiled in acknowledgement. It says:

“A former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, on Wednesday, said the South-East geo-political zone could realise its quest for producing the Nigerian President if it negotiated with northern Nigeria.” ……. Punch Newspaper.

Given the situation of things in Nigeria, the only thing the Igbos can do in Nigeria without an agreement with the North is war. Everything else requires their agreement and to have an agreement, you need to negotiate. You can now understand why I told Nnamdi Kanu that there is nothing like peaceful secession. The idea that all you needed to secede into Biafra was a referendum is a joke. Rather, what you need is first, a negotiation with the North and confirmation of the Biafrans through a referendum. That is if ever one were to go in that direction at all.

By the way, did you remember when I told you that the South-South would not vote for Biafra in any such referendum? Do you remember how some IPOB members here then almost cut off my head for saying that? I was right. It took Wike and Oyigbo massacre for them to realize that Rambo was right. Anyway, I think many of you now finally understand that the minority ethnic groups of South-south do not trust the Igbos. They fear that the Igbos will dominate them in any sovereign state of Biafran. And they are right. Don’t take it personal. They are right to think that.

Why must the Igbos negotiate with the North? The answer was provided by Ojukwu himself in an interview where he spoke of the preponderance of the North. Many people failed to understand what Ojukwu was driving at when he spoke of the preponderance of the North. The consent of the North is indispensable in any direction we move except war. Indeed, war is the result of the failure to get the consent of the North, which in turn is the result of failure to negotiate.

But the Igbos should not be worried that they have to negotiate with the North. Negotiation is a good thing. It gives you the opportunity to design and shape the outcome of your destiny in an environment of conflict. To negotiate, you have to study and know the strength and weakness of the party you’re negotiating with and negotiate around that strength and weakness. The main thing the Igbos need to negotiate now is restructuring, making the Igbo presidency 2023 a first step in the agenda.

The North is not as powerful as you may think. Indeed, I can tell you that religion is stronger than ethnicity. The greatest source of social cohesion in the North is the Islamic faith, and not their ethnicity. If anything, the North is as ethnically diverse as the South. And coming to religion, the North is not as cohesive as many assume. It has a significant Christian population. And the dichotomy between the Sunni Muslims and Shi’ites is a significant factor of weakness. Also, the widening discontent between the core North and the middle belt region is a factor that weakens the North. And finally, the Northern region is actually in a war-grade level of instability due to insurgency and organized crimes of banditry and kidnappings for ransom. The point I’m making is that the North needs restructuring to save itself more than the Igbos need restructuring. So, we must not see restructuring as a favor the North does to the Igbos.

What kind of negotiation do we expect between the Igbos and the North? Don’t think of the negotiation only in the formal sense of a meeting in a conference hall on an agreed date. It may take that form at some point. But for now, at the initial stage, the negotiation will take the informal form of the existing network of interactions between the Igbo leaders and their Northern counterpart. Who among the Igbo leaders do the Northern elites trust? And who among the Northern elites do the Igbo leaders trust? I have studied this question very closely. It is the interaction of Igbo leaders trusted by the North and Northern leaders trusted by the Igbos that will open that negotiation.

I am leading you back to a subject of previous posts from me. When I look at a list of Igbo leaders and test each of them in terms of whether the North can trust him to negotiate meaningfully, I find Orji Uzor Kalu on top of the least, way ahead of Okorocha, Peter Obi, Ken Nnamani, etc. It is this test that led me to conclude that Orji Uzor Kalu will be the Igbo President once presidency is conceded to the Igbos (as a product of negotiation).

Some have said: well it means that the Igbo president will be a stooge to the North. That is neither fair no correct. As any Igbo or Yoruba presidency must be a negotiated deal with the preponderant North, no such president can rule Nigeria to the detriment of the North. But the fact that an Igbo president rules Nigeria in the interest of all Nigerians, and not just in the interest of the Igbos, does not make him the stooge of any other ethnic group.

I know as a fact that the informal negotiation between the Igbos and the North is already underway and that the Northern elites are rallying behind Orji Uzor Kalu as one Igbo man they can trust and negotiate further with. I know that some of my readers have accused me of campaigning for Orji Uzor Kalu. They are entitled to their opinions. However, I know that we haven’t gotten to the point of campaigning and to the best of my knowledge, Orji Uzor Kalu has not declared any intention to run for the presidency. You will be jumping the gun to assume that this article is an act of campaigning for any future candidate.