OPINION: 2019: Why the Southeast must make a political choice rather than emotional – By Kingsley Chukwuemeka Ubani

2019: Why the Southeast must make a political choice rather than emotional By Kingsley Chukwuemeka Ubani
Southeast APC stakeholders in a meeting with President Buhari

The best synonym for the word politics is interest. Political decisions are naturally driven by interest – personal or collective.

Any student of leadership, power and politics, would naturally agree that political or leadership decisions driven by emotions usually does not deliver the best end result. Emotions such as anger, excitement, hate and despite has proven detrimental when placed above the real issues in matters of interest.

2019 presents another opportunity for alignment and realignment of political interests. Another opportunity for the southeast to renegotiate itself into power, having lost out in the last conquest. To achieve this, the southeast must approach 2019 with a strategic and logical mindset.

The Igbos must take a leaf from the Yoruba’s. Recall that in 2011, after Goodluck Jonathan won the election, the Yoruba’s lost out from holding any key position in government, such that the southwest region failed to produce either the President, Vice President, Senate President or Speaker for the first time in the fourth republic – this ultimately forced them into negotiating with the north to unseat Jonathan in 2015.

In 2019, the Igbos must keep their eyes on the ball and the ball only. Southeasterners must not remake the mistake of being the last to arrive at the negotiating table.

Just recently the President met with southeast APC stakeholders, further highlighting his intentions to renew his contract with Nigerians in 2019. While I am not privy to the veracity of the outcome of the meeting as reported in the media. I want to believe that stakeholders who were in attendance were not there to tell Mr President that southeast is a done deal, that they will deliver one millions votes for Mr President in 2019.

An Igbo Presidency in 2023 and a Senate Presidency in 2019 should be our WIIFM – a term defined by a popular non-fiction American writer Brian Tracy as ‘Whats In It For Me’.

Having said that, there is no gain reiterating the sentiment of an average south easterner about APC and the Buhari led government.

Here, one of the easiest ways to earn instant enemies is to say you support APC or worse off Buhari. However, I believe that the southeast remains a virgin market for the APC brand, because the unacceptability of APC in the southeast is not cast in stone – it is, like every other feeling amenable to change.

A victory for the APC and the inclusion of the Igbos into key aspects of governance will, in my opinion, put the southeast closer to power than any other outcome.

Having seen the outcome of the last PDP convention and the non-existing part the Igbos played in it. It has become clear that the Igbos have made no political investment in the party, making it dificult for us to be part of the harvest. The idea of an Igbo Vice presidency is still one to consider, but then, is it enough bargain?

The APC in my opinion remains the best chance for the Igbos to gain firm political relevance beyond 2019. However, to achieve such relevance the Igbos must align and align early. We must put our emotions aside and arrive the negotiating table with a clear resolve on our WIIFM.