By Femi Fani Kayode
In light of the fact that Rivers State Governor Nyseom Wike, a leading G5 member, has claimed that some APC governors are meeting with Waziri Atiku Abubakar, the DPP presidential candidate, in Dubai and elsewhere (a accusation that I cannot possibly confirm or deny), I am forced to make the following presentation.
For those who are able to attend such meetings or are considering doing so, please consider the following.
A violation of the sacred pact and the betrayal of the honorable commitment of a change of power towards the South in 2023 will take us back to the crisis of June 12, 1993 and will have serious consequences for democracy and our national unity. Nigerians were NOT born slaves and will NEVER be slaves.
An Atiku Presidency would represent a violation of that sacred covenant and would be grossly unfair to the people of the South. There can be no peace where there is no justice and there can be no unity where there is no peace.
If Waziri Atiku Abubakar, a northern Fulani man from Adamawa state, emerges as president in February, southerners would be forced to question whether we are equal partners in Nigeria and really have a place and stake in the nation. Nothing would confirm the notion that we are nothing more than second class citizens and slaves than an Atiku presidency given the fact that we have just finished eight years of Northern Fulani rule under President Muhammadu Buhari.
Had it been a non-Fulani from the north running on the DPP platform, it would have been easier to accept, but having a succession from Fulani to Fulani is unacceptable, just as it would have been unacceptable for President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is a Yoruba, to have been succeeded by another Yoruba man or for President Goodluck Jonathan, an Ijaw, to be succeeded by another Ijaw man.
In any case, this whole ugly and unfolding scenario begs for an answer to a larger question, namely, whether the South should be denied the Presidency for the next eight years after not having it for the last eight simply because we came from the “wrong” part of the country? Whether you are with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as I am, or with Mr. Peter Obi, as is my friend and brother Bashorun Akin Osuntokun, it is neither here nor there because for either one to win there must be a change of power. the North must be ready to step down and an Atiku presidency must not be allowed to see the light of day.
They say that politics and democracy is a numbers game and it is true but it must also be guided by justice, decency, principles and honor.
We are free to make our decisions about who to support, but we allow those decisions to be tied to fairness, fairness, and fairness. The tyranny and injustice of the supposed majority cannot affect the supposed minority without consequences. History proves it and posterity will confirm it.
In light of this, I say, in the name of God and for the sake of our collective future, may power shift from North to South next year; let us avoid the ugly enigma of the perpetual domination of the North and, in peace, love and unity, let us rebuild the bridges of trust between our people and heal our land. Whether Northern or Southern Nigerians are ONE, but to confirm that we must pass the baton of leadership between North and South in an equitable, reasonable and fair manner.
As we enter the New Year, kindly give some thought to this matter. The consequences of doing it wrong would be dangerous, dire, too hard to bear, and too disturbing to spell out. Let us hope and pray that sanity prevails.
Happy New Year!
• Fani-Kayode is a former Minister of Aviation.