Writing about a different ethnic stock other than your own may turn out to be an arduous task especially when you do not belong to the group. But it gives one the advantage of looking at issues dispassionately without being biased to any particular group within the ethnic formation. In preparing this piece, my thoughts were shaped by the plight of the Igbo nation in the last three decades of our political history and more importantly the events of the last eight years. The events of the last eight years in particular also provide a study in understanding the character of the Igbo man or woman and the traits inherent in the entire Igbo race.
Reading a piece written by one Chris Obasi titled “Breaking the Igbo Curse” in The Guardian Newspaper of Wednesday August 27th 2007 makes an interesting reading and provides a deep insight into how the Ohaneze Ndigbo have single handedly brought the “curse” of irrelevance upon their people through rudderless leadership in the last eight years. I have also followed closely the jamboree going on in the name of World Igbo Congress 2007 taking place in
Unfortunately, the Pan Igbo organization that claims to represent the interest of the hardworking, illustrious Igbo sons and daughters in
But that is the sad tale of the Igbo nation today. I have followed with keen interest the activities of the Ohaneze Ndigbo in the last eight years of civilian administration. My submission is that the pan Igbo socio-political group have failed to provide the needed leadership that will bring the Igbo’s into the mainstream of
The third term saga which saw Obasanjo clandestinely scheme to prolong his wasted years much to the consternation of ordinary Nigerians brought out the true characters of the Ohaneze Ndigbo group. Led by Professor Joe Irukwu, The then President found a ready tool in the Group under the leadership of the Professor. He came out to support the macabre scheming of those hell-bent on perpetuating Obasanjo’s stay in power. It was annoying to hear Igbo leaders that make up this group speak with discordant tunes. When the plot to elongate Obasanjo term was shot down by the House of Assemblies under the leadership of Ken Nnamani, the Ohaneze group lost face and Joe Irukwu and his cohorts made a belated effort to endorse former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu. A move they did not make for Alex Ekwueme in 2003. No wonder the man was hugely disappointed in his kinsmen.
But the endorsement of the former Governor of Abia state to me was intriguing and surprising. Considering the pedigree of the Igbo race, it can be safely said that they do not lack individuals that can occupy the high office of the President and Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces of the
What I find strange is the lack of unity of purpose by the Ohaneze Ndigbo anytime decisions that affect the socio-political life of their people is being taken. When it is time to pick a presidential candidate, you see a dozen candidates jostling for the slot. That is not a problem in itself as every qualified person can vie for elective position to serve the people. But when these jostling are beginning to affect your chances, there is the need to compromise and reach a consensus otherwise the group risk being infiltrated by the other groups. It is the failure of the Ohaneze Ndigbo to rein in its members that have often led to the situation described above. This has been seen in the last two elections. It is a failure of group leadership occasioned by high level self interest. That is why a group like the Arewa will continue to have the upper hand in the politics of group preservation. The Yoruba’s are also adept at doing this.
It is the light of the above that the current World Igbo Congress 2007 going on in the
For the Igbos to assume their pre-war status, the present leadership of the group must shape up or ship out. They must re-organize themselves and quit their present penchant to result to personal self preservation. They must demand accountability from the present south east governors and play the true role of an apex political group. They have lost a lot of steam and ground as it is. Revered Igbo leaders like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Michael Okpara, Akanu Ibiam etc must be shedding tears in their grave now if they behold the rudderless selfish leadership the present Ohaneze Ndigbo have wrecked on their hardworking ambitious ordinary Igbo folks in
Now an average Igbo seem to lack a true sense of belonging in the Nigerian nation because his leaders have failed to provide a direction for them. Delegates at the current World Igbo Congress need to tell themselves and the leadership of the Ohaneze the home truth. The message should be, you have failed to provide the needed leadership in the last eight years. Should we continue to entrust our future into your hands? What are you doing to ensure all Igbo young men return to school rather than hawk and sell spare parts at every major market? What are you doing to return us to the mainstream of Nigerian politics? These and many more questions should form a critical self evaluation for the delegates and indeed to all Igbos and Nigerians who yearn for a true federation in which all ethnic groups that make up Nigeria are treated with equity and justice.