A chieftain of the All Prrpgessives Congress (APC) and Director General, Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu, on Sunday, appealed to the two dominant political parties to adopt Falae/Obasanjo model by fielding Igbo presidential candidates come 2023.
Okechukwu made this appeal while reacting to raging issues threatening the country’s democracy which may mar the 2023 presidential election.
The issues include the violence which rocked the recently held Kogi State election, palpable recession of democracy, the general tension in the land, hot debate on rotation of presidency, and the new wave of IPOB attack on Nigerians abroad.
While advocating for a national consensus on Igbo presidency as recipe to create sense of belonging and save Nigeria’s threatened democracy, the VON DG said the only pragmatic answer to peaceful 2023 presidential election “is the Falae/Obasanjo Model.”
Okechukwu who spoke with journalists in Enugu, assured that if APC and PDP, produce Igbo presidential candidates in 2023, it will remedy currently prevalent gun-box democracy and return ballot box democracy in Nigeria.
According to him, “in a multi-ethnic society like ours, where politics is a do or die affair the only pragmatic answer to the palpable threat facing 2023 presidential election is the Falae/Obasanjo 199 Model. Rotation of president is the ligament holding our fledgling democracy.”
Asked to explain what he means by Falae/Obasanjo Model, when there are discordant tunes to such model from many quarters, especially from the Atiku Abubakar and Bola Tinubu axis, Okechukwu said: “I have tremendous respect for His Excellency Atiku Abubakar, our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, especially Tinubu, who more than anybody contributed the critical supplement to President Buhari’s 12 million Vote-Bank in 2015 which led us to victory. I also salute other prominent Nigerians who are angling to be president in 2023; however Nigeria, our fatherland is bigger than any of us and her unity is of paramount importance.
“The Falae/Obasanjo Model was founded in 1999, on equity, natural justice, and good conscience, with the sole objective of a harmonious and peaceful country. We may recall that in 1999 two Yorubas were fielded by national consensus under PDP and AD/APP alliance. That was the genesis of rotation of president between north and south. The destination was peace, unity, equity and good conscience. We need that now more than ever, especially now that Mr President had denounced those fifth columnists who bandied 3rd Term.”
On how he reckons the Northerners who flaunt their huge votes and the huge war chest of Atiku and Tinubu, Okechukwu said: “Yes the North over history has huge votes and Atiku and Tinubu have huge war chests; but don’t forget that the huge votes of the North was there in 1999 and eminent people with huge war chest were also there in 1999 – when Dr Alex Ekwueme, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, Dr Olusola Saraki, Dr Ogbonnia Onu, Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi and Alhaji Abubakar Rimi of blessed memory – were persuaded to allow the Falae/Obasanjo Model because of national unity. The truism is that 2023 is the turn of Ndigbo to preside over Nigeria.” Okechukwu quipped.
Reminded that time has changed and we have over 90 political parties, making it a herculean task to railroad all into Falae/Obasanjo model, he explained that in liberal democracy, there comes a time of maturity when two political parties dominate the political environment and Nigeria has arrived at that point, with APC and PDP, pointing out that other political parties were mostly missionary, not winning machines.
“In effect it is a patriotic duty for APC and PDP to nominate two candidates from Ndigbo. This will be the remedy to Igbo marginalisation and Gun-Box democracy and the return of Ballot-Box democracy which is in recession. One cannot locate anybody in Yorubaland or Hausaland who will die because of two Igbos running for president?”
“Most importantly a national consensus that produces a Nigeria president of Igbo extraction will be the ultimate healing of the wound of the civil war. The old maxim says that it is better to use the solution which works.” Okechukwu said,
He was of the strong view that a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction will equally demobilise IPOB and other pro Biafran groups and create a lasting impression that any tribe can preside over Nigeria and guarantee a real time sense of belonging, a vital ingredient for cohesion and unity of our dear fatherland.