2023: Igbos must hold on to Yorubas or Hausas not to miss out – Clarke

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A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Robert Clarke, has said that the South East geopolitical zone would miss out on power in the 2023 general election unless they entered into a political alliance with the South West or the North.

He said that none of the three major tribes – Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa – could produce the president of the country without teaming up with either of the remaining two.

The 81-year-old senior lawyer made this known in an interview published by Saturday Sun.

He said:

The problem in Nigeria is that the politician has created for themselves a situation where if two of them gather against the third one, they will want political power to be rotating among themselves. Unfortunately for the Igbo, they have never had a partnership with either the Hausa or the Yoruba in any election. But they have found themselves in the situation because in Nigeria, there are three major tribes. The Igbo, Yoruba and the Hausa. Where two of these major tribes gang up, that is where the power is going. In 1999, when the constitution came in, Obasanjo wasn’t sponsored by the Yoruba, even though he was a Yoruba man; the Yoruba rejected him, and sponsored Falae. But the Northerners and the Igbo voted for him; the Yoruba never voted for him and he still won because the Northern Hausa and the Eastern Igbo decided to support him. In 2003, Obasanjo came for the second term; again, he was not sponsored by the Yoruba; the Yoruba put up another candidate but still he won. In 2007, Yar’Adua was not supported by the Yoruba but the Igbo supported the Northerners and he won. In 2011, Jonathan came in, he’s not a Northerner but he was supported by the North and the Igbo, and he won. Having realised that power is between two of these sects, the Yoruba and the Hausa merged in 2015 and they produced Buhari. In 2023, if the Igbo don’t find themselves holding onto  the Yoruba  as a friend  or the Hausa  as a friend and allow the Hausa  and the Yoruba  to hold themselves together as in 2015, then that ticket will produce the president. That means  the Yoruba will produce the president, the Northerners will produce the vice president because that is the reality of the number. Politics is in number.  Then in 2028, the Yoruba again will  say let us support the North. Since the demise of Zik, the Igbo had never had a leader and that is the fault of the Igbo race today. If tomorrow, the Igbo bring out a young vibrant Igbo leader who can now  find his way either  to go with the Northern Hausa and form alliance or the Yoruba and form alliance, then the hope of an Igbo president in Nigeria will come up.

But I as Robert Clarke seeing the terrain of politics in Nigerians do not see any hope for an Igbo presidency except they change their attitude in aligning themselves with one of the two tribes. I’m looking at Nigeria consisting of three ethnic groups; between two of these three groups, there the power lies. So, if the Igbo can fix themselves in any of the two alliances, then there’s hope for them.


John is a University of Lagos-trained journalist. His views are always the end products of a deliberate search for information and knowledge. He has read almost every novel written by Chinua Achebe, Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown. He is an expert Scrabble and draughts player who is also excellent at swimming. If you know the capitals of 45 African countries by heart, then you are exactly like him.

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