Quick one on the real election

Cheta Nwanze
2 min readJan 6, 2023

There has been a lot of recrimination on Twitter due to the musician, Brymo’s misguided tweets. I won’t join issues with Mr Brymo except to mention that as a Tinubu supporter, he is simply doing what I have said, so many times, would be done by Tinubu supporters, which is ethnicise the elections.

What I want to talk about very briefly before returning to the book I’m reading is the tendency for Nigerians, in general, to keep behaving like our country’s civil war did not end 52 years ago.

Igbo people in Nigeria are generally treated like we are all fifth columnists who secretly support Biafra. This ahistorical view completely ignores that even during the war, there were Igbo people, Ukpabi Asika and Ike Nwachukwu as examples, that fought for Nigeria. It ignores the fact that many contemporary Igbo like myself have very loudly been pan-Nigerian. For the record (again), here is my view re Biafra: I am Igbo. I am fully aware of the history of my people, but I know that we are better off in Nigeria for geopolitical reasons that have not changed. Heck, I’d rather be from the same country as Tunde Leye and Rufai Ahmed, than as Oscar.

Having said all of that, we must tell ourselves some hard truths. The function of a Westphalian nation-state is to better the lives of the majority of the people within its borders.

Has Nigeria achieved that? Not at all.

Can Nigeria achieve that? Not as it is presently constituted, which is why except for my opposition to the APC, I’m not invested in the outcome of next month’s elections.

Simply putting a new lick of paint over a rotten structure changes nothing. Nigeria has to change.

This brings me back to Brymo and the APC’s apparent divide-and-conquer electoral strategy. Is it any surprise that the cleric who made a very incendiary sermon a few days ago supports the APC?

For the record, and briefly, people are focusing on his comments about the presidential elections, and it must be said that some Northern Muslims have called him out. But the man’s comments about Gombe, Kaduna and Plateau are more dangerous, which brings me to the key issue in these elections: Nigeria cannot change without a long, hard, bitter and honest discussion.

And yes, part of that discussion must include whether we want to remain together in this union thrust upon us in 1914.

If we do not want to remain, then it is better we go our separate ways. However, if we agree to remain, it has to be on terms that are satisfactory to everyone within the geographical space. By default, this would mean weakening Abuja so the various constituent parts of the country can breathe without stepping on one another’s toes. That is the only way we’ll have peace and progress. There is no other way forward.

Happy new year.

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Cheta Nwanze

Using big data to understand West Africa one country (or is it region?) at a time.