Ogbonnaya Onovo is now a star. He’s one of the few Nigerians who have had the privilege of enjoying national support, sympathy and yes, having the entire nation fight for him to get to the position he wanted, and deserved too. It was wrong for some to say that Onovo used the press to fight for the position of the IGP, as he didn’t on his own accord and initiative, take the issue the press, but rather, the press took the issue to the highest authorities in response to the yearnings of the people and on behalf of truth and fairness. For the amicable officer to occupy the apex position in the Nigerian Police Force is a thing worthy of commendation. Even more worthy is the fact that he is the first South Easterner to occupy this position since the Nigeria Civil War ended.
However, a lot of misconception has trailed the appointment of Onovo as IGP. Many headlines wrongly caption him as the first Igbo man to be appointed IGP, rather than the first South easterner. Onovo is not the first Igbo man to occupy this position, but rather the second one, after his predecessor, Mike Okiro.
This observation is a very important one, as all traces of double standards must be avoided by the Igbos. You know, it’s always easy for one to bend the rules a little bit when a thing is badly desired. As such, it looked and indeed, was a more convenient pressure point for Ndigbo cry foul for the appointment of no one other than Onovo to that position, on the platform that no Igbo man, rather than no South easterner has ever been considered fit for that honour. This underscores the non-secret that tribal sentiment is one of the most potent tool, if not the most potent in Nigeria’s social and political circles, especially in political circles.
Of course, the same Ndigbo have proudly hugged Okiro in the past, as the first Igbo man to become IGP, even as initial controversy first trailed his appointment after his ethnic background was mistaken for Ijaw-based rather than Igbo-based. That Okiro is from Rivers State doesn’t make him any less Igbo than Onovo. Perhaps, if the boundaries of Abia/Imo State were shifted a bit further backwards, Okiro would have easily fallen into any of these states and become un-eclipsed in the identity dilemma.
Without too much opinionating and the avoidance of a delve into ancestral lineage, origins and tribal dispersion that led to the modern day fragmented Igbo society, I say a big congrats once again to Mike Okiro for achieving the feat of being the first Igbo man to be appointed IGP, and another big congrats to Ogbonnaya Onovo for achieving the feat of being the first South easterner to be appointed IGP, both in the post-war era and both coming one after the other.