Rt. Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, GCFR, PC, who lived between 1904 and 1996, was a titan of a man, erudite, clear-headed, a political fighter, a boxer, an orator, an accomplished leader and a gentleman.
He was the first President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and along with his political associates, the co-founder of modern Nigeria.
It is very shameful that his remembrance was left to a one-page advertorial by a growing branch of his family, ably represented by his second wife, Professor (Dame) Uche Azikiwe of the University of Nigeria.
In a recent article, I lamented that there is no befitting Mausoleum in his honour like the one to Chairman Mao Zedong at the Tiananmen Square in Beijing, the Lenin Mausoleum at the Red Square in Moscow, the Dr. Sun Yat Sen. Memorial in Nanjing, the Washington Memorial in Washington, USA.
I have visited these hallowed grounds and other cities around the world as my professorial duties grant me the opportunities to see beyond our nation, with its primitive political culture.
If Nigeria had developed a national consciousness of unity, we do not need advisers to remind us that our heroes past should be honoured with continuous zeal.
From the welter of self-serving advertorials by political neophytes and political light-weights, it is a shame that founders of the Nigerian state are tangentially mentioned on festive occasions by commissioned speech-writers.
Each time I visit the burial place of world leaders, I take away the spirit of determination to add a foot-note to history.
I met the Great Zik in 1959, Chukwuma Azikiwe, his first son and I were in the Premier Lodge in Enugu browsing through some books in Zik’s Library. When Zik returned from the House of Assembly, he greeted us, placed his large right hand on my head as if he was administering a benediction.
After I told my father that I met the Great Zik, he challenged me to be like him. I promised to go all the way and I have.
When the late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, irreverently addressed the Rt Dr Honourable Zik, I replied with a poem in the Sunday Times of Nigeria. When Zik died in 1996, I wrote a glowing tribute.
Zik’s political speeches and his poems, especially in memory of his late beautiful, Flora Azikiwe adorn my library.
I was happy to note that Zik’s family branches are elongating. However, the first family should not be treated as if they do not exist. They do.
History is never forgotten, no matter how long the silence endures. A tree’s branch will remain a branch.
Zik’s main tree is made up of, the Owelle of Onitsha, Chukwuma Bamidele Azikiwe, a Harvard business graduate, Ngozi Azikiwe, a renowned, international editor, who was shaken, when the father took a second wife, and Ambassador Azikiwe, a polished diplomat.
The second generation of the Zik family may celebrate a cock-a-hoop victory about their relevance, but this cannot be a stratagem to obliterate the existence of the Zik iroko tree, we all know.
The posturing that is gradually manifesting is like using cochineal to give “ogbono soup” a red colouration, but which does not improve the test.
Some months ago, one of Zink’s sons got married to the daughter of an old colleague of mine, Professor Iloegbuna. I went to the wedding because I wanted to honour the Iloegbuna family and meet with the Owelle of Onitsha, Chukwuma Azikiwe
His absence whispered to me that all was not well with the tree and its branches. It reminded me of the musings in most polygamous homes in Nigeria.
It will be impossible to reconcile the family because of the obvious irreconcilable, historical differences that are now so stale that they should be overlooked by both parties.
Next time someone publishes Zik’s Remembrance, a comprehensive picture should be portrayed. Zik was very magnanimous in his political debates and his attitude to life’s challenges.
A friend of mine, who lives in Paris, France, wants to know whether President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan is from the Zik tree or the extended branches. I promised to find out and keep him posted.
With the April elections in top gear, there are impressionist politicians, who will be cutting through the dense political intelligence in the nation, blinking owlishly during political debates. Others will use their oyez, just like town criers to catch the voters attention producing the placebo effect Zik’s oratory was unmatched in the annals of Nigerian politics. We are not hearing great speeches but commissioned speeches, which are laboriously read. In this political dispensation, knowledgeable politicians are few and far between.
Yet, many political light-weights and neophytes assault our sensitivities by calling themselves Right Honourable, when they belong to a Senate and House of Representatives that dishonourably rob the State of colossal funds through unconscionable salaries and allowances.
A heartless group of people, with misplaced consciences cannot be called “honourable and distinguished”.
Some of the legislators will, in due course, be visited with corrective,, commutative and distributive justice.
During the First Republic, learnedness, honour, uprightness and transparency adorned the faces of most of our leaders.
Today, we are being punished by men, who are regularly induced by improper consideration to violate their trust as well as perform acts, which are destructive to our society.
They have no right to wear their armorial bearings and National honours
In the early 1960s, there were gentlemen politicians, who were above board until the spirit of booty and grabbing of national resources became the guiding national ethos. The gannet mentality has come to stay and the more the idea of “so what” is not deterred by the leader, licentiousness will predominate.
In order to inaugurate decisive actions against those, who benefit from unearned honours and coagulated fame, WE, the PEOPLE of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in exercise of our inalienable political rights to choose those compatriots, who will be our future Presidents, Governors, Senators, and Members of the House of Representatives and Houses of Assembly, resolve as following:
That we are going to vote for the most qualified, experienced, honest, detribalized, deserving, flawless candidate, irrespective of the Confederal entity, such a candidate comes from.
That every candidate should deposit with INEC, his or her Statement of Account indicating what he has done for a living in the last ten years, a Declaration of his Assets and liabilities and the person seeking elective office must publish same in two national newspapers, with wide circulation in Nigeria.
WE THE PEOPLE have resolved not to vote for politicians, who profess to be patriots, which they are not. As Vidal Gore said, “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel”.
Our politicians have become endangered species as the attack on Olusegun Obasanjo signifies. Plumes of discontent over the jumbo salaries of legislators and the inability of governments in the Confederal Republic to pay N18,ooo to junior clerks, creates a volatile political anomaly in an electoral year.
As dusk returns to dawn every day, I keep wondering, who is winning and who is losing. I hope you are wondering too.
Northern zoning team dynamics has a limitation. If you have successfully produced a consensus presidential candidate, can you also produce a consensus Vice President or are you going to use “settlement strategies” to conjure up one?
Are we really serious about promoting the democratic process or are we fixated with manipulative Machiavelli’s methods and ecliptic Hitlerism?
Before the next President is sworn-in, the turmoil and imperfections in the Nigerian political order must be eliminated by a close study of our Confederal state.
We need sophisticated and extraordinarily precise formulations on statecraft and not sloganeering of the mundane ge
The Great Zik abhorred political pronouncements based on religio-ethic set of teachings preserved by tribal jingoist and irredentists.
With their receding influence in Nigerian politics and the collapse of the “Omphalos” of their ancient wisdom, the minorities have been resorting to the use of force to simulate a new political order.
Distant Monarchs, who held the fate of minorities in the hollow of their hands, are now getting aware that they will lose their grip, if by their acts of omission and commission, a confederal system is force into being.
Advertently or inadvertently zoning will be the critical mass that will trigger the voting behaviour of Nigerian voters. Zoning will engender a feeling of forceful concession, which afflicts free choice.
The consensus camouflage has its limitations. Its operational strategy is motivated by cronyism, rabid compromise, reverence, and expectant favour from the successful candidate.
Anyone, who genuinely aspires to govern Nigeria, must sit down with historians, political scientists, lawyers, economists and other experts in order to draw up a societal blueprint on how Nigeria should be govern through methodical, national planning.
Advisers must be drawn from the School of Hellas and not the “how for do” proselytes and political jobbers.
This will cause the processes of government to be based on debated concepts, axioms and treatises. The era of guess-work, subjectivism and retraction of promises would cease.
The 1980, 2000, 2005, 2010 promises of Nirvana, which never materialized, should never be repeated.
Zik’s great political wisdom and learning enabled him to sharply see Pan Africanism as a political frame-work for Africa’s political emancipation.
George H. Sabine postulates that ‘the end of political action, the means of achieving them, upon the possibilities and necessities of political situations and upon the obligations that political purposes impose, is an intrinsic element of the whole political process.”
The Zik family must unite, so that the name of Zik is not associated with disunity, fractiousness and irreverence.
I would generously contribute to the erection of a befitting Memorial to Zik of Africa.
As I was writing this essay, Anderson Cooper, the versatile CNN journalist and organizer of the programme, CNN Heroes, presented two heroes from Kenya,. One had built a bridge to enable some village students cross a dangerous river to school. The second one gave some citizens light.
This reminded of the apostolic zeal with which Odinga pushed to become Prime Minister of Kenya. He has since served as a Mugabe critic, neglecting the dire political situation in Kenya.
A government that entertains directives, unsolicited advice from foreign governments and individuals creates the impression that it is weak and compromising. Nigerians do not go out of their way to meddle in the internal political affairs of other states.
Regular statements on Nigeria by international do -gooders and itinerant visitors, who are not famous in their own states, must stop.