After the completion of Obasanjo’s two disastrous terms, taking into consideration the fact that since independence, either through the ballot box or the gun, Nigeria has been ruled for good(?) 47 years mainly by the North, out of justice, fairness, equality, unity and sense of belonging, it would have been fair for the North not to field in candidates for the 2007 presidential election. It would have not only be fair but politically correct to slot it to either the S.E. or S.S. This good will gesture, in the opinion of the writer, is even more imminent taking into consideration the political tension in the country most especially in these two regions. MASSOB and MEND are fighting a just war in the South East and South South for resource control and self-determination respectively. Undoubtedly, slotting the posts of the President and Vice-President respectively to these two regions would have not only gone a long way in cooling down tension, but would have as well demonstrated the sincerity of our northern “brothers” in building a united and just nation. Unfortunately, that’s not to be. The descendants of Othman Dan Fodio were taught by their ancestors to take care of themselves alone and leave others to fend for themselves; provided they have the might.
Towards the end of the satanic rule of “Omoale” Olusegun Obasanjo the Northerners were already gearing up to take over. They started their campaign to return to Aso rock with a demagogue propaganda that since a Southerner had been in power for eight years, it would be fair and appropriate to let the North have its turn. Buhari, of all people, before winning his party’s nomination was blowing hot and cold. He based his faulty argument to return power to the north on a “gentleman’s agreement” made by PDP – which of course, he was not a party to – that after two terms, the “national cake” will go back to the north. And before you could say Father Xmas, the whole of the north from all parties, from all arms of the government were demanding (not asking or begging) power back. They wrongly but intentionally interpreted the intra-party unofficial agreement within PDP to mean a solemn, official and binding agreement between the whole of the North and South. This interpretation was made irrespective of the fact that in the south, there are two major tribes; the Yorubas and Ndi-Igbo, and the poor minorities that lay Nigeria’s “golden eggs” which are of very high demand all over the world, even in America.
While demanding power back, it never bothered the ‘Sharia sympathisers” that apart from the Yorubas, the other two regions have never had the privilege to occupy the no.1 position before. The whole of the North in their quest for power return all of a sudden developed
amnesia, they purposely forgot to put into consideration the fact that Buhari contested against Obasanjo in 2003, and that fact alone has neutralised any agreement – if at all there was any. Definitely, if Buhari had won the 2003 election, the north would have been singing a different tune by now.
What happened eventually in the struggle for power? Sadly, the South East and the South South gave in (or you can say caved in) to the pressure of the North to return power back to them. They allowed themselves to be eventually maneuvered by Obj – a man already in his 70’s – and the North in the power tussle. Out of about 24 contenders, all the 3 major contenders were from the north! In fact, 2 out of the 3 northern contestants are from the same state! What an interesting but unbelievable outcome. The North has never had it so good before. This is an unprecedented development in the political history of the country. We witnessed not only a total domination of the north but a total capitulation of the South East especially in the political arena and structure of Nigeria.
The South South at least got a consolation price of Vice President, although they never fought for it but was handed over to them on a platter of gold by Obj. What did the Ndi-Igbos get for their loyalty to PDP?. They were rewarded only with the post of Senate Vice-President, a post that in actual fact carries no political influence. It is more of a decoration post.
However can the descendants of Othman Dan Fodio be blamed for fending for themselves? The sad truth, in the opinion of the writer, is that the Ndi-Igbos are to be blamed for their political calamity. In politics, as we all know, anywhere in the world, nobody hands over power to you on a platter of gold; even if you are entitled to it. If you want power, then you should be ready to fight, and if necessary, die for it. The north wanted power (though they did not deserve it,) fought for it and got it. Simple. There was practically no serious challenge. It was an easy ride back to power for the north because there was virtually no serious resistance on their way back to power.
Do the Ndi-Igbos have the moral right to complain about marginalisation? In the humble but objective opinion of the writer, the answer to this question is NO. To be fair, the Ndi-Igbos blew a very good chance of producing Nigeria’s President in 2007. Such a chance may not offer itself for a very long time to come, if at all it will ever come. They sold their birth right for peanuts. In fact, I am totally disappointed in the Ndi-Igbos as regards to their shoddy preparation for the 2007 presidential election. Based on the outcome of the 2007 presidential election, they are yet to prove that they are indeed the “Jews of Africa.”
My Ibo brothers, please don’t crucify me for revealing the bitter truth. However, before you crucify me, let me expatiate. As far as I am concerned, you never had any plan of capturing Aso rock “at all cost” at all. And if at all, you had any, based on my objective analysis, it was very weak. The outcome of the election is more than enough evidence; rigging aside.
The outcome of the election and subsequent appointments of Yar’adua is a total political tragedy for the Ndi-Ibos. They have been relegated not even to the third position but the fourth position in Nigerian politics. They are no more reckoned with in Naija’s politics.
If the Ndi-Igbos were really serious about producing Nigeria’s President in 2007, they should had consolidated all their efforts and resources behind a “united candidate,” at most 3 months to the April election, and sell their candidate to Nigerians. In addition , they should had returned fire for fire with the north, and say boldly, loudly and steadfastly that it’s their turn.
I am a bit confused about the kind of strategy the Ndi-Igbos adopted in their quest to occupy Aso rock. For example, what point was Odumegwu Ojukwu – the Nkemba of Nnewi – trying to make by putting in his candidacy? Was he really serious about it or it was just a PR move? A desperate move to be relevant in Nigerian politics? Or was the Nkemba of Nnewi just joking? Please, don’t misunderstand me. I have nothing personal against the father or hero of the Ndi-Igbos. In fact, I respect him for his erudity and boldness. However, my Ndi-Igbo brothers, with all respect to the father of the Ndi-Igbos, he should at least be wise enough to understand that because of his controversial past, or to be more precise, the major role he played in Nigeria’s civil war that claimed the lives of more than a million Nigerians, his chances of winning is zero. Who did Ojukwu expect to vote for him in the presidential election? The north? That is totally out of it. He doesn’t need a political analyst to understand that. The Yorubas? Some might. The South southerners? Some might? So whose votes was he relying on to take him to Aso rock? Did he think that the fractioned votes of his kinsmen would be more than enough to make him the first elected Igbo president?
Ojukwu should be wise enough to understand that the memory of the civil war is still fresh in the mind of millions of Nigerians. Many of the major actors are still alive and kicking. One of them has just served a disastrous 8 years in office.
I don’t want to dabble into the civil war now. It’s not the topic of this article. Moreover, I was born towards the end of the war in Lagos – thousands of miles away from the battleground. Therefore, practically, I don’t know anything about the war, except what I was told or read from books. However, if I may be allowed a little digression, based on what I have read and told about the circumstances that led to the civil war, most especially taking into consideration events in Nigeria’s political arena today, I strongly believe that the Ndi-Igbos were more than justified in going to war. Unfortunately, events unfolding today have proved beyond reasonable doubts that we have not learnt anything from the war. The country is much more divided today than before the war. And with the way events are unfolding, if drastic and acceptable measures are not taken to address the injustice in the country, another war may be inevitable.
Going back to Ojukwu, let us even hypothetically assume that Ojukwu won the presidential election, did he expect Obasanjo to hand over to him? Ojukwu should be wise enough to also understand that Obasanjo is the last person that will hand over power to him. He would rather prefer being assassinated through a coup de’tat than handing over to him. This, unfortunately is the bitter truth. Ojukwu should be wise enough to also understand that at his age and at this stage of Nigeria’s politics, the best and most befitting role for him should be that of a “King Maker,” “Strategist,” and “Facilitator” who will plan, co-ordinate and bring everybody on board in realizing the Ndi-Igbo presidential project. His candidacy, as far as I am concerned, is an unnecessary distraction, a waste of energy, time and scarce human and financial resources that could had been channeled into the realisation of the Ndi-Igbo presidential project. What a pity. How come the Nkemba of Nnewi did not understand these basic things? Could it be due to old age? We will come back Ojukwu later in the second part of this article.
Let us shift our analysis to another Ndi-Igbo presidential candidate, Orji Kalu, former governor of Aba. Firstly, I believe that the Ndi-Igbo committed a big political blunder by fielding the candidacy of Kalu. But before I explain the reason for holding this view, could somebody please explain to me why was he shuttling Washington D.C. like a puppy dog when the election was a couple of months away? What kind of help did he seek from George Bush in realising his presidential ambition? Did he expect Bush to call Obasanjo and threaten to send missiles to him (Obasanjo)if he failed to hand over to him (Kalu)? Or is this man selling state secrets to the Americans? Otherwise, I can’t understand his itinerary trips to the U.S.
If I may digress a bit again, I wrote in one of my articles titled “A battle cry to reverse the poor state of the nation” (nigeriansinamerica.com)that if at all I was going to vote for an Igbo presidential candidate, obviously, Kalu is the last person I would ever cast my vote for. It is obvious that somebody like Kanu will sell the interest of Nigeria – and the Ndi-Igbos within a blink of an eye without any guilty conscience. Present political situation in the country has proved me right. I believe that the man is very corrupt in actual fact. His indictment by the EFCC’s has nothing to do with Obasanjo witch hunting him. Is it a coincidence too that Kalu has stopped making noise after the election?
The Ndi-Igbos, as intelligent as they are should understand that of all countries, America is the last country that would want an Igbo man to become Nigeria’s president. Why? Because they know that you are too smart and you may most likely give them serious problems if somebody of Igbo extraction becomes Nigeria’s president. They know that you will not allow them to get away with all the atrocities that they have committed in the past and are still perpetuating in the Niger delta. And do you know America’s greatest fear? Not that you may break up Nigeria when your kinsman get to Aso rock. Their greatest fear is that you will re-negotiate all the terms of the fraudulent and lopsided oil agreements that they had reached with our semi-illiterate northern military and civilian brothers!
America and the west in general are completely satisfied with the status quo. They are much more comfortable with a northern military or civilian president so far as their oil companies continue to lift the Niger delta oil under the present terms that are completely unfavourable to Nigeria. So, why will they rock the boat? As far as I am concerned, America, Britain, France, Israel and a host of other countries pose a serious threat to the economic and political stability of Nigeria. I am making this assertion, without any exaggeration and prejudice, based on my observation and analysis of America’s foreign policy towards Russia for the past 20 years. America says one thing to the world but does exactly the opposite behind the curtains. Perhaps, most of us must have heard the saying that “America does not have permanent friends but permanent interests.” Subsequently, its foreign, economic, political and military policies are designed with its selfish interests alone in mind. The genocide, the west, led by America are committing in Iraq because of oil is more than enough evidence to prove my point.
To quote Femi Falana, the reknowned lawyer and civil rights activist: “As far as they (America) are concerned, even a dog can rule Nigeria so far as he allows them to drill our oil on their terms, pollute our land, water and air without any repercussion or punishment. This topic will be discussed in details another time. Meanwhile, you are all implored to search Nigeriavillagesquare.com archives and listen carefully to Femi Falana’s radio interview. It’s really very enlightening. The radio interview was just a confirmation of my conviction.
Going back to Kalu’s candidacy, as intelligent as the Ndi Igbo are, they should had understood that due to Kalu’s imbroglio with Obasanjo, his chances too of relocating to Aso rock, like Ojukwu was practically zero. Why couldn’t the Ndi-Igbos read between the lines, and come to the conclusion that backing Kalu was another unnecessary distraction, total waste of time, energy and scarce financial and human resources?. Why did they back the wrong horse? Was it out of ignorance or nonchalant attitudes to the presidential election? I will be obliged if anybody could provide the answers to these questions.
Indeed, it is a big shame that Kalu who is facing serious corruption allegations got most of the votes of the Ndi-Igbos. The big gap between him and the Nkemba of Nnewi – who recorded zero percent – was enormous. That should be a serious food for thought among the Ndi-Igbos where Odimegwu Ojukwu is not only held in the highest esteem, but is supposed to have his strongest base and regarded as the “Father of the Ndi-Igbos,” after the demise of Pa Zik.
TO BE CONTINUED …