BY PASCHAL EGERUE— A man must stand for something. I stand resolutely for and will campaign that all political parties bring out their best candidates to contest for the position of President of Nigeria, come 2023. The year 2023 is a crucial year to decide whether Nigeria will survive or die.  This is why I whole heartedly endorse Hon Emeka Nwajiuba to emerge from the APC convention as the party’s Presidential candidate for the 2023 Presidential election. In doing this, I also acknowledge other capable persons in the race within APC. We have for instance, Prof Osibanjo who is a very cerebral Professor of law and the incumbent Vice President. We also have his boss of all times – Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Jagaban of Borgu who will have the distinguished honor of having over six of his boys vying with him for same position in APC. The horse trading gets more interesting with the said entry to the race on APC platform of Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor and Akin Adesina, the African Development Bank President. I can’t begin to mention the names of others because the deluge of expression of interest by purchase of application forms at homongous sum of N100 million per form is not only mind bugging but has reduced the very serious exercise of expression of interest to vie to be nominated a Presidential candidate of a party to a circus show.

I have no doubt in my mind that at the right time, the leader of the ruling party – the incumbent President will call for sanity and give a progressive direction. As we approach this stage, it is important that we continue to remind ourselves that with all the imperfections of the 1999 constitution, one clear thing is that this constitution provided a good template for national integration and cohesion.  Section 15(1) of this constitution specified that national integration shall be actively encouraged, whilst discrimination on grounds of place of origin, sex, religion, status, ethnic or linguistic association or ties shall be prohibited. The key word here is ‘prohibited’. This clear provision of the Constitution together with other similar provisions is the rationale for zoning arrangement of parties. These provisions of the Constitution also make the Emeka Nwajiuba presidential project very compelling.  Hon(Dr) Emeka Nwajiuba is easily  the best candidate from South Eastern Nigeria in APC. Emeka’s genius and competence is beyond reproach. His nationalist credential is overwhelming. In a country that is bedeviled by ethnic suspicions, profiling and rejection, Nwajiuba has worked most perfectly well with the Senior Minister of Education; a northerner. The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu, a man of high intellect himself has continued to demonstrate high confidence in the Minister of State, Hon (Dr) Emeka Nwajiuba and infact virtually made him the face of the Education Ministry. This is a rare development in Nigeria. It takes a secure man of wisdom and foresight to do what Mallam Adamu is doing. The crowning glory of Mallam Adamu will come shortly as the awaited Nwajiuba phenomenon berths.

This series is not about foretelling the manifesto of Hon(Dr) Emeka Nwajiuba. There is no point revealing his dazzling intentions before the convention date and Presidential campaigns. It is however important to inform Nigerians that a manifesto of the people, integrative of the people and to be executed by the people is what is in the offing.

We can only at this juncture be asking APC as the political party in power  to show the way to national integration and cohesion by electing Hon(Dr) Emeka Nwajiuba as their flag bearer in the 2023 Presidential election.  This is the time to engage our consciences as Nigerians. In the 61 years of Nigerian independence, no South Easterner has been elected Prime Minister or Executive President of Nigeria. Major General Ironsi became a head of state by default. He was in the position for six months before he was killed in subsequent coup.  Shortly after, an unfortunate civil war erupted and lasted for three years and cost the South Eastern Nigeria over three million lives. In the words of the Federal Government of Nigeria, this war ended on a note of no victor, no vanquished. The south easterners accepted this mantra and got themselves reintegrated holistically into the Nigerian nation. The 2023 Presidential election presents an opportunity for Nigeria to show in real terms  that, the three year civil war was a sacrifice to Integrate and not to disintegrate Nigeria. Those who are still fanning embers of discrimination of the South Easterners in national affairs, 52 years after the end of this war are getting things wrong and may indeed be the real enemies of the country Nigeria. Nigeria at independence stood solidly on a tripod.  The country is wobbling today and defying all economic prescriptions because the third leg of the tripod appears being pushed away with out a consideration of the enormous talents and contribution to national growth from this South East geopolitical zone. History beckons on all members of APC to seize the emerging opportunity to enthrone equity and meritocracy in Nigeria. APC as a political party should live up to her name as All People’s Congress. Four or eight years in the life of a nation is nothing very significant. Nigeria should pause and heal the wound that is festering agitations and self determination struggles in the South East. This is the time when the major political parties in Nigeria should live up to the provision in section 15(1)(4) of the Constitution which states – “The State shall foster a feeling of belonging and of involvement among the various peoples of the Federation, to the end that loyalty to the nation shall override sectional loyalties”. This incontrovertible provision is the fulcrum of the Constitution of all political parties in Nigeria. The Presidency of Hon(Dr) Emeka Nwajiuba at this point in Nigeria history should be welcomed by every Nigerian as it provides a win win in all ramifications. I therefore urge all the delegates at the forthcoming APC convention to have an eye on history and vote for Hon(Dr) Emeka Nwajiuba as APC Presidential candidate in the 2023 Nigerian Presidential election. He is young, Intelligent, tasted , humble, educated, knowledgeable and a detribalised Nigerian. Let us taste his genuis and jointly activate a revolutionary groundswell of all round development of Nigeria in our lifetime.

Paschal Egerue is a Lagos based Insurance and Management Consultant.