On 2019 Igbo presidency: who shall we send? – By Sheyi Babaeko

The Nigerian ex-president, a life senior fellow cum elder stateman, Olusegun Obasanjo during this year’s thanksgiving service in his palatial mansion, Ottah Ogun State called for an Igbo President in 2019.

Though this has generated mixed reactions among Nigerians, the call for Igbo presidency according to the elder statesman is in the “interest of Justice and Fairness”. I quite agree with the position of Obasanjo, and I would like to add that the high “Egba Chief” has right to voice his personal opinion whether anyone agrees or not. It will be unfair to attack Obasanjo over his opinion.

While Obasanjo remains a controversial figure in the political history of our dear country, providence have always laid on him the responsibility of navigating the ‘ship’ of Nigerian state away from predictable collisions with “political icebergs” that would have pushed us ashore or sink this country totally and finally. We may not always agree with him but there are credentials we cannot just take away from him.

Baba came back into lime light when he became the Nigeria civilian president in 1999 and many of his achievements are noticeable. I peculiarly respect him for keeping his promise of “reinstatement” of student union activists. Prominent among these was the reinstatement of Anthony Fasayo (Dr Anthony Fashayo was the student union activist who spent 21 years in the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife before graduating. He sacrificed all his energy and ambitions to fight for Nigerian students).

Now that Baba has lent his voice to those calling for Igbo presidency in 2019 general election, who shall we send? The issue of Igbo presidency is expected to generate questions and tensions and we all know that Igbo presidency is long overdue, but the question again is “who will go for us?” These are questions begging for answers.

Igbo race lack unity, and this lack of unity has caused a bi-polar trend within them. Some have opted for “self-determination” while the other extreme believes that “Igbo presidency” in the future is a better option that will address their yearnings and aspirations. Nigeria needs a visionary leader to reposition this country and redirect the sinking ship to its serene watercourse.

The south eastern part of Nigeria is the most marginalized, underdeveloped and neglected region. Hence, the clamor for an Igbo presidency cannot be said to be an inappropriate call. If opting for an Igbo President in 2019 can right the wrong, calm secessionist movements, satisfy their yearnings and re-unite this country, so be it. This call is understandable and I support it without being immodest.

In my own personal opinion I urge the Igbo people particularly the youths to unite and quickly call for a summit of Igbo sons and daughters with the view of producing a credible candidate for this noble task ahead before it’s too late (Perhaps If providence will offer them this golden opportunity). We should go beyond “sermony” of peace and Justice when we are not ready to entrench them on the altar. Peace and Justice are like the South Pole and the North Pole of two ‘lodestones’. They attract and embrace each other; there is therefore no peace without justice. Justice MUST prevail for peace to reign.

I am committed and resolute towards Igbo presidency in 2019. It is in view of this that I am joining Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo, well meaning Nigerians at home and abroad and the Igbo race in particular for an Igbo president come 2019. May God continue to bless the federal Republic of Nigeria.


Babaeko, a policy analyst and security adviser, is based in the UK.

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