By Emeka Obasi
What we all feared is facing everyone at the moment. The country is not at war with itself, the people are just not comfortable with themselves. This is Balance of Terror in the real sense of it. The Biafrans are bombing with their agitation, there is the Arewa red card and Oduduwa is sleeping with both eyes open.
The coming of President Muhammadu Buhari has opened more eyes to the evil machinations of imperialism. The British boast of hundreds of statesmen across their shores. In Nigeria and many more of their colonies, what they left was confusion. The attainment of Independence has raised more questions than solutions.
Nigeria remains what the British expected: A country divided across ethno-religious and Regional lines. The Southern divide believes there is structural imbalance in favour of the North. Population figures are debatable and one half of the nation continues to cling on to power with the North bearing the brunt of poverty, a sorry picture that says much about their control of power.
I want to tell a story that of course will rattle some personalities. I am sure some of the young uninformed Internet rats will use this opportunity to abuse me. However, I must tell my story, those who want to read me are at liberty to form their opinion. In this atmosphere of freedom of speech, even the dumb have their say.
My grandfather died about three decades before I was born. My father barely knew him having being orphaned as a little boy. The much I know about my granny came from uncles. Early this week, the man I never met appeared to me in a dream. I knew because I have a photograph in my Bible. That is him.
It was a brief meeting. He talked about the country, our problems and the British. Then he passed a message: Dankwambo will be the President in 2019. I did not get that. He repeated the message. As I tried to ask questions, he walked away. My eyes opened.
Strange, it sounds. My grandfather did not travel beyond the Upper Niger and I am not sure he had friends from Northern Nigeria. I am sure the first time he saw Hausa men was in 1905 when Capt. H.M.Douglas led soldiers, possibly the Glover Hausa, to deceive my people into colonial rule.
Douglas, who later became the District Commissioner for Owerri, had sent a message earlier asking my kinsmen to come out to display the guns which they had purchased from the Portuguese . When the people gathered at the Market Square, the troops emerged from the back, sorrounded and asked them to drop the weapons.
Douglas later destroyed the guns and placed his helmet on the heap. The Imo State Government House is named after him. Douglas Road, the only tarred road in Owerri by 1973, is also named after the colonial officer.
My grandfather played politics with the British thereafter and was made a Warrant Chief. He did not so much trust the white man. Diplomacy, the white man’s tool was what he employed. He was said to be a wise man. The man brought Christianity to his community but refused to go to church, charging his subjects to follow Christianity as it could lead to understanding the power of the British.
So when my granddad talked about Dankwambo in the dream, I tried to decipher the message. The Warrant Chief saw ahead of his time. He also tried to study the British even without formal education. He got so close to a District Officer, Kenneth A.B. Cochrane. This was the same man who presided over Bende during the Aba Women’s riot of 1929.
After the dream, I had to do some research on Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, the governor of Gombe State. Something struck me. By our funny unwritten agreement, the Presidency is supposed to rotate between the North and South. I observed that for justice to reign, the country needs leaders who have spent time mingling with people from both divides.
That is part of the problem of the present regime. The President was expected to unite the country even if certain sections did not vote for him. Compatriots wanted a new Nigeria where indeed tribe and tongue would not differ. Today, there is tension all over the land. To cap it all, there is no substantive President.
Dr. Dankwambo is a highly detribalised Nigerian and is equally educated. With a first degree in Accounting from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, he proceeded to the University of Lagos for a postgraduate degree in Economics. From the North to the South, we can all see that.
He veered from the South-West to the South-South. A postgraduate diploma in Computer Science from Delta State University, Abraka and a doctorate from Igbinedion University, Okada followed.
Dankwambo began with the private sector, joined the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), moved to the Gombe State Government as Accountant General before proceeding to the Federal Civil Service as Accountant General of the Federation. From there he joined politics in 2011 and became governor in May of the same year.
You can always pick Dankwambo from the pack. He is the only governor in the North who belongs to a different political party. That should interest Nigerians. At a time everyone was chanting change and it became like a sin not to shout Sai Baba, this man stood on his own and was returned by his people in 2015.
Most of the governors in the North relied on the name Buhari to win elections in 2015. Left on their own, they would have found it difficult to win even in their local governments. The only exception remains the man in Gombe.
I am not going to campaign for Dankwambo, I am telling compatriots the much l have been able to read. He was born on April 4, 1962. That means, the governor is 55. We should stop going for leaders who are struggling with age. The world is going for active men not gerontocrats.
He shares birthdates with American Civil Rights activist and first black woman director in Hollywood, Maya Angelou. She was honoured with the presidential medal in 2010 by Barack Obama. The same as Anglo-Aussie actor, Hugo Weaving, who was born at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan in 1960.
Weaving is known for his role as Agent Smith in the film Matrix. His father, Wallace, was a seismologist while mother, Anne, was a tour guide. Brazilian footballer, Emerson also shares same birthdate with Dankwambo.
The Gombe State governor is indeed, a man to watch. He is a bridge builder, a politician who preaches unity and equity. Visible at the Lagos at 50 celebrations, Dankwambo associates with events in other states of the Federation, from Akwa Ibom to Ekiti.
It is time to do away with the cabal, those who have held down Nigeria for long. All the Generals who were combatants during the Civil War, must be retired before 2019. They are still living in the past and continue to toy with the future of the younger generation.
These men who gained so much from the country and became relevant in their early 30s still want to be dominant even as senility cries before them. Many of them want us to forget their past but we must think of the future. Elders do deserve some rest especially when they have become part of the problem.
We need a solution. If the North must rule in 2019, a man like Dankwambo deserves a shot at the Presidency. Party background does not matter. He could contest as an independent candidate. He is young and dynamic. I had a dream. The words of our elders are words of wisdom.