Whatever happens, the intrigues surrounding the 2011 presidential elections specially as it concerns the PDP ticket for that election, will go down in history as the shame of our nation. Personalities who have long embodied themselves as nationalists and guiding lights of our nationhood have now shown they are just mere pretenders and are actually ethnic jingoists; they are only Nigerian when they are gaining undue advantage over others.
Mallam Adamu Ciroma had a long foray in national leadership. He, at various periods in our country's history have been governor of Central Bank, Minister both in military and civilian settings, Managing director of a federal parastatal, and chairman, of various governing councils. His case, is the case of someone who had benefitted enormously from his country; while leaving the question whether he has truly given back to the country half of what the country gave him.
2011 presidential election will come and go, but the damage those fanning the emblems of ethnicity would cause the nation might be irredeemable. These ethnic leaders are obviously not aware of the fragile nature of our nationhood. That ours is a country that is highly suspicious and embitter. We may not want to admit it, but quite a number of ethnic nationalities in this country see their amalgamation as Nigerians to be enslavement. We cannot afford to take their silence to be acceptance of fates. Presently there are different youthful militant groups springing up, either under the cover of ethnicity or religion. These youths are questioning their ÔÇśNigerianess' and perceived marginalisation of their tribes or religion in either their local councils, states or the federation.
The increasing demands for states are as a result of perceived marginalisation by dominant tribes in the affected states. Everyone wants to be accorded a sense of belonging and purpose in the society. And society can only strive when the generality of the people believed there is justice and equity.
The so called Northern political wise men are nothing but secessionists. Asking Nigerians of Northern extraction to vote for only candidates from the north is to declare another sovereignty in our nation. They are overheating the thin line of nationhood that binds us together by their unguarded inflammatory statements.
Alhaji Ciroma was alleged to have said the North will leave the Peoples Democratic Party enmass, if President Jonathan get the party ticket for 2011 presidential election. No one bothered to ask him which north he is talking about. Is it the north of late Joseph Tarka, who resisted the powerful Northern People Congress of late Ahmadu Bello, through the Tiv riots of the 50's and early 60's? Is it the north of minorities in the plateau, southern Kaduna, Taraba, Kogi, Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Narassawa etc, who no longer share common harmony with the likes of Ciroma? Or is it Yorubas in Kwara and Kogi states who were entangled in Ciroma's North by Lord Lugard's evil separation from their kinsmen in the south-west? Just which north is he talking about?
And when they talk about the south, one is force to ask which south? Is it the south, with the perpetual political mistrust between the Yorubas and the Igbos? Is it the south of the bitter battles of Ishekeris, Urhobos, and Ijaws for lands? Is it the south of Efiks, Ibibios, Anans, Ogojas, Binis, Isokos, Ishans, Ikweres etc and their endless bloody battles for political power and relevance? Just which south are they talking about?
This deceit is taking us nowhere. Looking at Nigeria from the angle of north and south divide is just making a mockery of ourselves. Our nationhood as its presently stand is a charade; that's why we need to have a 2011 presidential election devoid of ethnic and religion sentiments, so that a true nation can emerge in spite of our glaring differences. We cannot continue to deceive ourselves that we are one, when we have sinister feelings about each other; and still see ourselves as ÔÇśwe' and the others as ÔÇśthem'. Most times we genuinely do not feel compassion for one another when in distress. How long are we going to live with these lies?
Adamu Ciroma stance is only deepening the gulf that separate us as a people. His search for a consensus candidate from his self defined north to struggle the PDP's presidential ticket with President Goodluck Jonathan will only lead him and his group to their eternal damnation. Though Ciroma and most members of his group are already old and might not live long enough to witness the aftermath of their destructive actions, they should remember they will surely be answerable to their creator, who gave them this life and the opportunities that come with it.
The steps taken so far by Ciroma's group have only polarised the political space with ethnic sentiments rather than rational and pragmatic political manifestoes. And if Ciroma continued in his refusal to heed to wise counsel, grave religious interplay might just crop in, and worsen our pathetic political situation. This would certainly not be good omen for Nigeria.
Those who know Alhaji Ciroma close enough should please tell him, to take the path of dialogue and not confrontation to reach out to his political opponents. There are various options before him; one of which is to deploy his political sagacity and mobilise his supporters to call PDP's bluff by forming their own party or joining one of the existing parties, if he believes PDP's acceptance of Jonathan's eligibility to contest 2011 election is against his political belief.
Having a consensus ÔÇśnorthern' candidate against a ÔÇśsouthern' candidate will lead to anarchy in the PDP and by extension Nigeria. If Goodluck Jonathan wins the contest, the humiliation would be difficult for Ciroma's interest group to bear and they might resort to more undemocratic actions. And if the consensus candidate from the north wins, then the minorities will see it as a gang up by a majority tribe against them; we all know what an organisation like MEND is capable of. Whichever way, Nigeria and Nigerians would be worst off.
Let the people, who have signified their interest to rule Nigeria via the PDP platform come before their party's delegates and sell themselves. Ciroma and his likes should please stop creating divisions within the polity with their consensus strategy. Nigerians need a leader who can deliver, and if Ciroma thinks he also have what it takes then he should come on board and contest.
Ciroma's consensus candidacy formula for the north portends danger for our nascent democracy. This obvious ethnic politics is not ideal for our integration and development as a people. Adamu Ciroma should not destroy what is left of his goodwill across the country, he should please be an elder statesman to all Nigerians.
At this time and age when we should be romancing only those things that unite us, some persons because of political expediency want to drown us with divisive political analyses and permutations. If Ciroma consensus candidacy works, we can as well kiss goodbye to our nascent democracy; because things would surely fall apart.
By Olurotimi Adeola