Naija Notes: Will an Igbo man ever rule Nigeria?

by Toni Kan Onwordi

Will an Igbo man ever rule Nigeria? I think not. And before you crucify me, you better find out my reasons.

So long as Igbo politicians continue to bicker at home and look to the North for validation, they will never get to grab the top spot. I make these comments based on certain observations I had made in the past and which have been further strengthened by recent events.

I recall when Abiola emerged as the SDP candidate in Jos. I remember that Jim Nwobodo was there and when he came out to seek votes, despite the huge Igbo presence in the crowd, the first language the man spoke was Hausa. I am still waiting for someone to tell me what moved Jim Nwobodo to address the crowd in Hausa instead of Igbo?

Recently Alex Ekwueme, architect and former Veepee under Shagari, well educated and experienced announced that he is running against OBJ in 2003. Cool!

The man has just turned 70 and a lavish birthday party was thrown for him in the east. Every one that mattered was present.

Weeks after the party Ekwueme went to Minna and picked the PDP’s nomination form, then he paid a courtesy call on Governor Kure of Niger state to inform him that he was running for president.

What I am still trying to figure out is why Ekwueme had to go to Minna to pick the form and why did he have to go to Kure to seek validation for his bid? Kure as far as I am concerned is nobody when compared to Ekwueme. If Ekwueme had called on an emir or somebody of consequence, I would have understood, but Kure?

Those who know better say Ekwueme is playing out a script written by former dictator Ibrahim Babangida who had encouraged him in 1999 and then left him in the lurch for OBJ.

Ekwueme’s action has demonstrated again the underlying argument behind my assertion. Until Igbo politicians stop acting funny and trusting the North much more than they have to, that which they seek will continue to elude them.


Okadigbo is running for president. I suppose that is no longer news. What is making headlines is his declaration that he will halt the Naira’s slide in forty days if he is elected.

For those who want to know what I think, it’s pretty simple: the man is talking nonsense. OBJ said he would make NEPA work. Almost four years after we are still groping in the dark.

I would have paid attention to Okadigbo if he had said that his first act would be the abolition of Ghana Must Go bags in Abuja.

At least he must have some experience in that sector.


Talking about the naira and Ghana Must Go bags, Professor Anya O. Anya, head honcho at Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) has warned that Nigeria may go bankrupt next year if fiscal excesses are not checked.

According to Prof. Anya inflation is galloping and the foreign reserve is declining. What he forgot to mention is that the girths of Pius Anyim and his ilk in Abuja are expanding disproportionately to the declining economy.

Look around you, Prof.


This man makes no claims to prescience Thank you.

But when I was writing my piece for last week I had no inkling of what was in the offing.

Referring to the unseen puppeteer controlling OBJ’s actions from the background, I had fingered IBB. Alas I was mistaken. The forces aligned in battle against OBJ are much more than we can see.

Last week after the Northern elite group led by the Emir of Kano asked the FG not to sign the On shore, Off Shore bill sent to him for his assent, the chicken farmer from Otta chickened out.

His lame excuse was that the lawmakers had substituted “contiguous zone” with “continental shelf” in the final draft that was sent to him.

Taking out time to think about this, I have come to realize that ObJ must be a very sad man indeed. A puppet at the mercy of unseen forces making terrible demands.

The South South is screaming blue murder and threatening to withhold their votes from OBJ and I suppose the North too is making their own demands.

Why can’t the man just go back to his farm?


Gani’s party has finally been registered. Cheering news, eh?

Well, I am not too happy. I mean, what’s the use in rejoicing over a stillborn? As far as things go, Gani has had his day in the sun and will do us all a world of good by going back to his chambers.

Gani win an election in Nigeria? Give me a break.

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1 comment

Sabidde Ogbobode Abidde March 1, 2005 - 4:23 am

To grasp the import of why Dr. Ekwueme went to Minna, you must understand the words of Hedrick Smith in The Power Game (1988): “Power is the ability to make something happen or to keep from happening…a person’s title does not necessarily reflect the power that he or she has.” Don’t underestimate Kure!

Ekwueme, Obasanjo, et al all understand that. Sooner or later, they’ll all find their way to Minna to pay homage – as sad as that might sound.

Sabella Abidde

Minnesota, USA


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