*WHEN IT ALL BEGAN*
The power tussle between the North and the South didn’t begin in 1959 election held in the preparation of Independence, when the Nigeria Peoples Congress (NPC), a party predominated by Northerners, captured 134 seats in the 312 seats of the parliament. The power tussle didn’t begin in 1960 neither did it begin in 1963 when Nigeria became a republic. It will be wrong also to think that the struggle for power domination between these two regions began on 15th January 1966, a day that saw the end of the first republic, when a coup was staged by “young officers”. The coup which resulted in the death of top Politicians mostly from the North and few from the south west, and which saw the emergence of Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, an Igbo man as head of state, does not define the genesis of the power tussle. The counter-coup of July 1966, six months after the first and which saw the emergence of Yakubu Gowon as head of state, only shows that the showcase of power can be traced further back. Of course, it would be inappropriate and utterly wrong to begin the study of the power tussle on 30th May 1967, a day that Lt. Col. Ojukwu declared Biafra. The resultant war caused the lives of nearly 2.5million people from the Biafran side, more from starvation as a weapon of war. The war was dominated by utter ego, pride or maybe a little irrationality from both Gowon and Ojukwu. Again the 2years, 6months, 1week and 2days old war only reaffirmed the fact that there has been a political struggle, and unhealthy rivalry between the North and South, which of course dates beyond the 1950s and 60s.
For this article to have a scope and a well-defined boundary, it is best to start the history of the power tussle in 1914, when Lord Laggard decided to amalgamate the southern and Northern protectorate. A new nation was born. A nation immiscible diverse in culture, language, religion, and sense of livelihood were born and indeed the power tussle began on that very day. 1914.
*A FAST FORWARD TO MODERN NIGERIA*
In a bid to curtail the increasingly Political tussle between the North and South, a system of rotation of Presidency between the six geopolitical zones was adopted. This sort to stabilize the political skepticism that erupts when one ethnic group is ruling. To balance the equation, when a candidate for Presidency is chosen, his running mate is usually hand-picked from that region which seems more likely to from fierce disobedience. It comes naturally that the VP is always from that part of the country whose cry for marginalization or Political neglect is high. This was the case of the 2007 election where Johnathan was chosen as running mate to Yaradua because of the increasing disturbance of the Niger Delta. 2019 saw a likely method when Atiku chose Peter Obi because of the agitation of the Igbos.
*A DIVIDED SOUTH*
The south as it is known comprises of the Southwest, South-South, and Southeast. Although South is used to generalize these three Political regions, it is vital to note that in the dispensation of Political interest and distribution of high profile Political positions, one region of this “South” has gained a lesser cake. It appears that after the war, which was majorly a Southeastern war against “Nigeria”, a kind of pressurized obedience and Political “unfavoritism” has erupted. This questions the *NO VICTOR, NO VANQUISH* post-war sweet slogan. Let start from 1999 when power returned once again to civilians
• Obasanjo won in the polls in what was regarded as an unfair and corrupt election. Maybe it was to compensate the Yorubas for the happenings of June 12. His deputy would be a Northerner.
• In 2007, Yaradua won the polls. His Vice would be Jonathan from South-South. His tenure was short-lived and Jonathan was acting President for two years after Yaradua’s death.
• In 2011, Jonathan won. His Vice would be a Northerner.
• 2015 Buhari ran and won. His Vice would be a Southwestern.
It appears with this review that one region of the South, who happened to be a driving force before the war, suddenly ran out of luck or maybe intentionally neglected or perhaps forcefully subdued. It is at this point that I will openly say that the power tussle that began in 1914 has been and still is a tussle between the Igbos and the entire North.
*A SKIP TO THE FUTURE*
The warm-up for the 2023 presidential election has begun. Tinubu, Oshomole, billboards have been spotted in some locations around the country. Although this two top Politicians and Southwest influencers had denied their involvement in that development, yet it seems to affirm the general notion that the presidency would(or at least should) be rotated towards the south. But we must not fell to realize that “towards the south” utterly exclude the southeast. This is understandable owing to the fact that no top political party (PDP and APC to be precise) would make the grave mistake of chosen an easterner as a flag bearer. The North will fall out of love with APC if they happen to choose an igloo man as a candidate. The option of these two Political parties is as follows.
• Neglect the power rotation and chose once again a Northerner. VP is more likely to be a southeaster.
• Rotate the power to the Southwest. In this case, the VP would be a Northerner.
*POWER IS TAKEN, NOT GIVEN.*
This is a popular saying. But the deepness of the meaning is not popularly practiced. The Igbos had failed to practice these words. The aftermath of the civil war seems to have pressed the Igbos into a psychological dreadfulness. They had become servitudes, ever ready to please their Masters who conquered them. This is best noticed among the Igbo elected politicians. NO VICTOR, NO VANQUISH? It looks as if the conquered is still afraid of the conqueror. But the war has come and gone. Though the tragedy of that war cannot be undone and would probably be fresh forever, the healing is necessary for a better forge ahead. The healing is necessary for a better understanding that power is taken and not given. The usual whining of Ndi Igbo, the cry for pity and apology, the cry for recognition and better opportunity, should be replaced with bravery and more wisely participation. The Igbos should understand that what is taken, is often time better and larger than what is given. Thus, the Igbos should not seek to be given what is theirs, they should seek to take what’s theirs. How united are the Igbos for Presidency? How prepared are the Igbos to man the leadership of this country? Are the Igbos ready to replace emotions with practicality? Are the Igbos ready to fearlessly take the bull by the horn? And if these questions are sincerely answered, it paves the way for my conclusion;
THE PROBLEM OF THE IGBOS, IS THE IGBOS. And unless they realize this, they will always be given a piece of their own fish.
Written By Emmanuel AC
*WHEN IT ALL BEGAN*