Wednesday, 21 July 2021 04:50

[OPINION] The challenge of a Southern presidency - Sunny Ikhioya

OBSERVING activities in the National Assembly these past few weeks, one is left with the simple conclusion that the South will find it difficult to get the presidency, come 2023, unless they change their ways of playing politics. Why will a representative from either the South West of South East kick against the electronic transmission of election results?

When it comes to taking decisions, our representatives will vote in the interest of the party, even in matters that are unfavourable to their constituents, whereas their counterparts from the North do not see it that way.

After deciding in their various caucuses that host communities should get five percent in the PIB (Petroleum Industry Bill), Northerners still find ways to communicate amongst themselves to bring it down to three percent and our distinguished members of the National Assembly nodded along with them like the Agama lizard.

When it concerns matters of common interests, the North will unite, but in the South,   we never think like that. We are suffused with idealists, the literati and republicans whose moral and enlightened disposition will not allow them to be bandwagon followers.

That is why, for instance, people say, the university system is the most difficult to govern. Too many ‘book people’; and so, you see, for any idea proposed,   there are several oppositions and equally plausible ideas standing against it. In the South, directives do not naturally flow from the top to bottom, you will have to carry the people along, do advocacy and persuade them on why your ideas must be implemented.

Theirs is not mainly based on religious and ethnic sentiments, rather more on personal convictions. That is why majority of human rights campaigners are from the South: Gani Fawehinmi, Mrs Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and her children, Beko and Fela; Ovie Kokori, Clement Nwankwo, Tony Ubani, Femi Falana and many too numerous to mention here.

Our own Gani was the only one who constituted a stumbling block to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a Yoruba brother. Such things are rare in other parts of the country. That is why, no matter how you look at it, the Lagos press, together with the human rights campaigners, have been the conscience of the nation.

You cannot take that credit away from them no matter how hard you try to change history. Politicians from the South must, therefore,   begin to rejig their strategies if they are to dislodge the hegemony that the core North has instituted in the country.   Unless the South unite and speak with one voice, they will not be able to achieve their goal; they must be ready to subsume their individual interests and ambitions in favour of the collective.

They must also be ready to present credible and non-controversial candidates, irrespective of political party; that is the only way to go. Also, they must be able to do away with the black sheep   – traitors and betrayers- among them.

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