Last week a powerful delegation of Igbo leaders made up of secretary to federal government, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, Senator Hope Uzodinma, Minister of Labour & Productivity, Emeka Wogu, National Publicity Secretary PDP, Mr Olisa Metuh, Mr Ifeanyi Ubah and former Governor Peter Obi stormed Dover Hotel at Lekki Phase 1 Lagos to woo Ndigbo Lagos for President Jonathan’s 2015 presidential bid. At Dover Hotel, they met eminent and prominent Igbo leaders namely President General Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Gary Enwo-Igariwey, President Ndigbo Lagos, Professor Anya. O. Anya, President Aka Ikenga, Chief Goddy Uwazurike, former Chairman Diamond Bank, Chief Pascal Dozie, former Governor of Lagos State, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu(rtd), former President of Nigerian Stock Exchange, Dr Raymond Obieri, Eze Ndigbo of Ikeja, Eze Uche Dimgba and President Ohaneze Ndigbo Lagos, Barr Fabian Onwughalu and many other eminent Igbos in Lagos. Like I said their mission is to persuade Ndigbo in Lagos to join the train in the campaign to make President Jonathan to continue in office even after 2015. The meeting was well attended and this mission was clear: It is President Jonathan or nothing!
The Lagos mission has indeed thrown up some big questions on what Igbo agenda is in Nigeria. What does Igbo want in Nigeria? What is their strategy? What is their mission? What is their plan for Nigeria? What is their strength? What is their thinking? What is wrong with Igbo politics?
Few weeks back an Igbo youth I cannot remember his name posted a question on his Facebook page. Hear him: “Why is it that Igbo are always in the forefront to work for other people to be Presidents in Nigeria? Is it that no Igbo is good to be president of Nigeria?” He traced the days of IBB and Abacha when Chief Arthur Nzeribe and one Daniel Kanu played prominent roles to extend their tenures in office. Nzeribe went to court to stop June 12 1993 election so that IBB will continue in office. It failed: Daniel Kanu, Chief Arthur Eze, Orji Uzor Kalu, Sam Mbakwe, Onyeka Onwenu and others staged a two million man march tagged Youths Earnestly Asking for Abacha, YEAA in Abuja to get an extension of tenure for Abacha. It failed also. Of all the men that have led Ohaneze only Professor Ben Nwabueze and Dr Dozie Ikedife gave good account of themselves. Professor Irukwu sold Ohaneze to President Obasanjo’s failed third term bid for a price. The late Chief Ralph Uwechue sold Ohaneze for cash to President Jonathan in 2011. Now the current President General Ohaneze Chief Gary Enwo-Igariwey has sold Ohaneze again to President Jonathan for 2015 elections. Today, like Daniel Kanu of YEAA, Ifeanyi Ubah is driving TAN for Jonathan. Now where does all this lead Igbo to? Is there anything they know that we do not know?
South East has the least number of States in Nigeria, the least number of Senators, the least number of House of Reps members, least number of State House of Assembly members, least number of Ministers at the federal level, least revenue allocation, least federal presence or Investment, least local governments, least wards and the least of everything in Nigeria. Can we conclude that Igbo worry about nothing except their stomach? Can we assume that an Igbo is not good to be president of Nigeria? Can we conclude that top Igbo Politicians lack strategy, tact and vision to think deep in matters of politics? Can we conclude that we are satisfied with the status-quo ante? Is there hope for Ndigbo in Nigeria’s Political equation? Igbo politics worries me to the marrows!
For eight years the former Governor of Anambra state, Mr Peter Obi ruled on the platform of APGA and according to him then, it was either APGA or nothing. To celebrate the late Ikemba Nnewi Chief Emeka Ojukwu, he wore his clothes everywhere he went, he erected billboards bearing his photo with Ikemba. Now few months after he left office, the bug has caught him up and he has moved to PDP, betraying the late Ikemba and APGA. Again what will you call this? Is it Politics of Ideas or what? Is it Politics of the stomach?
If Ndigbo help President Jonathan to remain in Power till 2019 where does this leave Ndigbo? By 2019 Southern Nigeria would have been in power for 18 years. Now do you think the North will just sit down to continue to be spectators in a democracy? Is this what we struggled for from 1985 to 1999? The South did not struggle for power shift to the South so as to keep it for 18 years. It will be a threat to democracy, a threat to national unity and a threat to the corporate existence of Nigeria as a political entity. This is a timely warning!
As 2015 draws near, our prominent and eminent Igbo leaders do not think about the state of the nation. They are not worried about insecurity in the land. They are not worried about the tragedy in the power sector, they are not worried about outrageous corruption, impunity and mediocrity at the federal level, they are not worried about the threat to national unity, they are not worried about colossal decay of infrastructure, they are not worried about the decay in our schools and hospitals, they are not worried about Nigeria’s monumental battered image and they are not worried about Nigeria’s threatened future. There is no strategic alliance with the major ethnic groups, the Hausa-Fulani and the Yoruba just for the sake of Nigeria. They abuse them and call them names forgetting that they need their votes to rule Nigeria. They allow their flanks to be infiltrated for a mess of porridge. It is money for hand back for ground. It is give me money and I kill myself (Inyem ego egbuom onwem). The truth is that Igbo has been left behind in matters of Nigerian politics. There is no strong presence in PDP and no strong presence in APC, the two major parties. Igbo politics worries me to the bones!
But it is not yet a hopeless case for Igbo. Things can get better if we sit down to discuss strategies and think properly. If you do not know where you are going, nobody can help you. If you do not stand for something, nobody will take you serious. If you do not love others, then they can never trust you. If you do not show some seriousness in anything you do, nobody will take you serious.
The truth is that South South and South East votes cannot make President Jonathan president again in 2015 if politics is still a game of numbers. Given the situations in the country, given the gamut of failures staring us in the face in every department in Nigerian and given the bloodshed we have recorded in the past 15 years of democracy, President Jonathan ambition to rule Nigeria for 10 years is a difficult pill to swallow.
Joe Igbokwe is the Publicity Secretary, All Progressives Congress, APC, Lagos State.
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