The Nagging Sycophancy of the Igbo Elite

by SOC Okenwa

The Igbos in Eastern Nigeria (of which I, wholly, am part) are a dynamic people. The boisterous ethnic nationality has refused to be taken down even against indirect side-kicks, marginalisation wise, from the federal establishments. The Igbos have suffered more than any other tribe in Nigeria from the fraudulent federalism we purportedly operate as a system of governance. Since the end of the Biafran seccession bid the Igbo nation has continued to be treated as ‘a conquered territory’ whose birthright has been surrendered by the failure of the Biafran project.

Undaunted however the average Igboman does whatever is humanly possible, sometimes the seeming incredible nay impossible, to eke out a living. He is to be seen almost everywhere in the global village no matter how remote doing one thing or the other to fend for himself. A great proud people with the uncommon will to survive whatever storm the Igbos contribute immensely to the continuing survival of Nigeria as a nation — socially, politically, economically, and militarily.

Like every other big ethnic group in Nigeria the Igbos have amongst us professional blackmailers and sychophants. In politics they are more to be found. In Yorubaland you have people like Alex Akinyele, in the middle belt Jerry Gana, in the north late Wada Nas. That is why some Yorubas accuse their ruling elite of ‘too much education’ and little service delivery to the people. The area boys in Lagos out of frustration and unemployment engage in nefarious activities that make Lagos one hell of a mega-city. In the north the ‘talakawas’ see majority of their ruling elite — militocrats and politicians — as self-serving. Ibrahim Babangida was once ‘molested’ and stoned by these ‘northern area boys’ in Kano.

In Igboland our political elite are completely detached from the suffering of the people. Based in Abuja, Enugu, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Awka or Owerri they partake in the national dispossession without qualms playing along (even in second fiddle levels) to take a cut of their share of the national cake. As far as their welfares are taken good care of by the deeply corrupt system then everything is correct and right!

The majority of the Igbo ruling elite are cannon fodders who are always available for any subversive service. Remember during the Babangida years of pestilence the Attorney General and Minister of Justice late Clement Akpamgbo operated a ‘decree manufacturing factory’ in Abuja churning out one obnoxious decree or another to give legal backing to IBB’s desperate search for dominion. During Obasanjo’s recent era Bayo Ojo almost beat the record of Akpamgbo (not in decree rolling mill) but in playing one-man Supreme Court interpreting rulings and verdicts to suit his lawless boss’s whims.

Arthur Francis Nzeribe used his Association of Better Nigeria and late Justice Bassey Ikpeme to scuttle the June 12 presidential election won by the late benevolent billionaire Chief MKO Abiola. During the Abiola saga the beast in the Nigerian ruling elite was thoroughly exposed. From Kingibe to Anenih; high-profile traditional rulers in the West to the monarchs in the North morality was compromised while sycophancy took over.

When Abacha (in his dark goggles) bulldozed his way to power the Locust used many sycophants from different ethnic colourations to undo conventional governance. But one name stood out: Daniel Kanu. The Youth Earnestly Ask for Abacha (YEAA) cheer leader insulted elders and assaulted our intelligence as he went about earnestly asking for Abacha to become an emperor. In the end when Abacha ate his last apple on the lap of a foreign prostitute Kanu and his YEAA mob disappeared into obscurity. I wonder if Kanu attended Abacha’s hurried burial in Kano!

And when OBJ was playing his power somersaults the Igbo elite were there helping him to achieve his bungled TTA project. Even though it is agreed that Obasanjo hates Igbos Andy Uba found his favour assisting him domestically in matters that went beyond domestic affairs to include money smuggling. It is now clear that Uba used blackmail, sycophancy and subtle fraudulent exploits to win the heart of ‘Baba’. He served him diligently and studiously that he ‘rewarded’ him with governorship of Anambra State on a platter, something that came crashing down as the Judges of the Supreme Court told the law as it was. Between Uba and Obasanjo there is a veritable secret which only God is in the know!

Just take the case of the MASSOB leader Chief Ralph Uwazuruike. Gani Adams and Frederick Fasheun of OPC fame were detained for subversive activities. And Uwazuruike and Asari Dokubo were added to the list of the detained. Today the Ijaw leaders had succeeded in pleading the case of Dokubo and he has been released. And before him the OPC pair of Fasheun and Adams were released by the Obasanjo government on health grounds. But the MASSOB leader is still perishing in Abuja with no one in high places pleading or protesting his years of incarceration. The Igbo elite are playing the ostrich distancing themselves from MASSOB and the plight of its leader lest the ruling party considered them MASSOB activists or supporters.

Yet the truth is that if Fasheun and Adams who had used the OPC to terrorise Yorubas and non-Yorubas in the West could be freed; if Dokubo whose violent activities in the Niger Delta (that has now given birth to escalation of militancy and kidnapping cases) could be released one is at a loss as to why Uwazuruike whose pacific struggle for the actualisation of the sovereign state of Biafra is less dangerous than say the Niger Delta militants’ open war with the establishment should not breathe the air of freedom.

The nagging sycophancy of the Igbo elite is more visible in the Uwazuruike saga. Yet the MASSOB leader has recently lost his mother. If no other time is auspicious enough to release him this season of melancholy is apt. President Yar’Adua should do the right thing now if only on humanitarian grounds by freeing the MASSOB leader so that he can pay the last respect to his departed loved mother.

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1 comment

Prince Kennedy Iyoha August 9, 2007 - 4:56 pm

Mr SOC Okenwa. Your article fall in line in style of many Ibo writers, except for a very few that have been exposed to other culture. Most Ibos write as if the Ibo race is the centre of the world, and they refer to the Ibo tribe as the most sidelined, discriminated, and excluded in the Nigerian society. This author used the following to describe the Ibo people. “Undaunted however the average Igbo man does whatever is humanly possible, sometimes the seeming incredible nay impossible, to eke out a living. He is to be seen almost everywhere in the global village no matter how remote doing one thing or the other to fend for himself. A great proud people with the uncommon will to survive whatever storm” He should remember that almost all the tribes in Nigeria fall under this description, and particularly people from minority areas like the Edo’s, Delta, etc.. I agree with this author when he informed about the political prostitute found in all the tribes in Nigeria. Like the Ibo race, every other tribe in Nigeria has it’s political opportunist that is ready to betray his people, for a piece of the National cake. And in regards to the trouble shooters, you mentioned, nether of the mentioned organizations in Nigeria have a similar programs armed at separate the political entity called Nigeria. The Niger delta group wants to draw the intention of the federal government to the plight of its people, while Gani Adams and Frederick Fasheun of OPC, were in trouble for subversive activities. However your man Mr Uwazuruike is campaigning for the actualization of an entity through which an untold bloodbath and pains was inflicted on the citizens of this country. Why not let the sleeping dog rest.


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