The Forgotten Agenda Of The South-East Governors

by Odimegwu Onwumere

Dr. Chris Ngige was the governor of Anambra State when the five South-East governors held a meeting on the 15th July, 2005 under the umbrella of South-East Governor’s Forum at the Executive Council chambers Umuahia, the Abia State capital six years after the establishment of the forum. The meeting which lasted till 11pm started at about 6.30 pm under a closed door that neither the secretaries to the governments of the five states, journalists who were anxious nor chief press secretaries were allowed in the meeting, they waited until the end of the meeting at the Executive Council chambers. Dr. Chris Ngige was the incumbent chairman of the forum.

Dr. Ngige who was applauded by his colleagues made it succinct that all the five governors of the Igbo-extraction would henceforth attend any meeting “in the spirit of the new South-East united spirit and agenda”. Dr. Ngige cried bitterly for the unification of the Igbos because the future of Igbo-man was paramount in their spirits.

But Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, governor of Abia State, who was the host, made it clear that why they had assembled was to, among many other problems facing Ndi-Igbo; map out ways for Ndi-Igbo aspiration to produce a Nigerian president 2007. Because, the 2007 presidency was a by-word across the shores of Nigeria. And “that there had never been a time that the opportunity for Igbo people to produce the president of this country is as bright as it is today”. The just concluded National Political Conference (NPRC) showed that the Igbos opinion was counted in Nigeria because of the attention the South-East delegates attracted. But Kalu still regretted why Ndi-Igbo were made to dance in the political scene as second class citizens whereas forefathers of Ndi-Igbo shed their blood and lost their valuables for the establishment of this nation called Nigeria. And, because of this, could be why Kalu had been in the forefront of the campaign for the Igbos liberation from humiliation and neglect so as to avert incoming generation from blaming the elders of today.

The Ndi-Igbo forefathers placed their personal enthusiasm less than the interest of Nigeria. Such elders were people like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Akanu Ibiam, amongst others. They chased the mouse while their house burnt.

Having touched on the various weaknesses of Ndi-Igbo Dr. Ngige assured the forum of unity of the five governors to fight for their vision.

But today, that ‘vision’ seems to have been dumped in the trash bin. Quite fortunate that the spirit that united the governors then was based on the fact that they all belonged to the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). But unfortunate indeed today that their spirit was pummeled to the soil before November 2006 when the PDP had its presidential primaries. All the five governors of South-East, except Dr. Ngige, because of issues surrounding his governorship position in Anambra State that led to his bow, flagged-off as presidential candidates. This was the way it happened in 2003.

However, political watchers saw how the PDP primaries was executed which produced the governor of Katsina State, Mr. Umar Yar’Adua as its presidential flag bearer. After that PDP’s primaries none of the South-East governors that were making noise to produce a Nigerian president of the Igbo extraction remembered the agenda of that meeting to produce a Nigeria president of Igbo extraction in 2007, except Kalu.

Dr. Kalu has shown enormous love he had for Ndi-Igbo, by decamping PDP to the Progressive People’s Alliance, PPA, which he flags its presidential flag. Others didn’t know but Kalu knew that “The agitation for the Igbo to produce the president in 2007 has assumed a global dimension because of the interest it has generated among Nigerians and non-Nigerians abroad. Even the world superpowers were in total agreement that Igbo people should be given greater latitude to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country”.

Ndi-Igbo has been crying marginalization from the State called Nigeria, but at home they have not shown peace and love among themselves. They antagonize each other so much that it looks as if they are running the political race individually.

They should know that a bunch of broom that is scattered couldn’t sweep. One could be born in an illegitimate home does not tantamount that, that person is illegitimate. That implies that even though the perception about Nigeria betrays hatred on Ndi-Igbo does not warrant the disunity perceived in the Igbo clime.

Ndi-Igbo should support one person out of her many aspirant sons and daughters to emerge the 2007 president. And taking a look at the unfolded events so far, it won’t need the help of a soothsayer to say such credible candidate Ndi-Igbo should support as their own is no other person than Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, the governor of Abia State.

Dr. Kalu is not only fighting for the cause of the Igbos alone but to see that democracy lives in Nigeria. Because of his doggedness not to compromise the tyrannical approaches of the man living in the bush, he has lost a lot in this dispensation. How many would we say and leave? At least it is no longer news that Dr. Kalu has had mishaps in his multiple businesses. Bad manners of the federal government.

Notwithstanding the enormous deeds of Dr. Kalu that won’t contain here Ndi- Igbo should not forget what Kalu said in that meeting:

“The whole world is watching, Nigerians are watching. Ndi-Igbo are watching to see what we can make out of this rare opportunity”. But it’s quite unfortunate that his colleagues are today yes men to the federal government, forgetting the agenda of the South-East governors.

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