OPINION

Re- Thinking The Igbo Agenda By Mecha Udo

It is strange how we expect positive things to happen in our lives and our country even as we express extreme negative sentiments and exhibit stunningly negative conducts about ourselves and in our country. It is getting worrisome listening to the manner of negative expressions and dispositions that come out of most of us these days. We are now all experts in criticizing every action of government and its agencies without making any attempt at proffering any solutions. We must understand that we can only get what we wish for, and what we work for. The attitude seems to suggest that we would rather this government failed than succeed. This trend is most prevalent amongst my Igbo brothers who seem to have allowed themselves to be so negatively skewed that some sound like they would prefer a portion of poison than see any good in the present administration.

It is extremely saddening that a Yoruba man (Femi Fani Kayode), reintroduced the politics of hate and acrimony that his father was known for, in order to market the bad product that he was mandated to sell in the 2015 general elections. Nigerians rejected his message and went ahead to kick out his principal. But some Igbo brothers who were sold to this bizarre campaign followed it and today they wrongly perceive Jonathan’s loss as theirs. Igbos who were also prominent in Jonathan’s administration (but did absolutely nothing to uplift the Igbo collective) reinforced this trend and continued to mislead our youths into believing that the Yorubas and Hausas are our enemies.

As our people hold on to that belief, Femi Fani Kayode, has received his pay (even if ill gotten), and has moved on to attend to his litany of cases of misdemeanors and graft,  even as he continues to fan the ambers of disunity between Igbos and other tribes. Our selfish leaders and representatives, who represented themselves at the national village square, have all gone on to nest in their mansions, built from largesse they received by answering our names. Our home administrators (except for Obiano and Umahi) are busy building personal estates for themselves and ignoring the development of our land and we are not asking them any questions.

Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr. Michael Okpara and Dr. Akanu Ibiam are only but a few Igbos who championed the unity of Nigeria and pursued pan Nigerianism knowing that Igbos stood, and could still stand toes to toes with any other tribe in the country in the areas of human, social and economic development. Doubtlessly there was an unnecessary civil war which we have since come out of and  have recaptured the soul of commerce and industry in Nigeria in record time, despite being handed a paltry twenty pounds per person no matter how much we were holding in the banks as at the end of the civil war. Our resilience has even spread us abroad to the extent that we are now the second most populous tribe in just about every state of Nigeria and in some cases other countries. But we have fared very poorly politically.

Unfortunately the political teams that have followed our political founding fathers introduced the concept of “iracha ube” which they understand to mean the practice of converting public wealth to family and personal wealth. Selfishness, greed and sheer banditry have been the hallmark of Igbo political leadership ever since. Most contracts for the development of the southern region were awarded to Igbo sons and daughters and in most cases, these contracts were either abandoned after they would have collected monies or they were never executed. Today, we have no infrastructure, we have lost our domestic economic advantages and are now building economic empires in more conducive and economically friendly parts of the country. Made in Aba has since been replaced by made in Lagos, Port Harcourt or other Nigerian cities and states where the local and state governments have created the avenue for the development of entrepreneurial skills. We are dissipating our energies fighting the wrong battles by accusing others of our deprivation while failing to understand that in a country or set up like ours you only get what you have worked and fought for. An Igbo man supervised the division of Nigeria into six transport zones without creating one in the south east despite the south eastern region being recognized as one of the six geo political zones in the country. An Igbo man stood the brightest chance of becoming the first civilian President of Nigeria in 1999 at the time of the return of the country to democratic practices only for that opportunity to be scuttled by another Igbo man. Igbos have been at the helm of affairs of just about every aspect of our national life except the Presidency but have since 1979 had the honour of producing the first post military rule vice president. We have led in national security, the legislative arm of government, the army, the police, the economy (including the co-ordination of the economy), infrastructure development, power, foreign affairs and other critical sectors of the economy, but what do we have to show for all these?

It is time for the Igbos to look in the mirror to see where their problems are coming from. The political controls the economic and the commercial, so we must get the political right. We must get reintegrated into the national political mainstream, we must reorganize ourselves locally and identify our common goals and aspirations, and we must abandon personal ambitions and accept to pursue the broader Igbo nay Nigerian goal. We cannot achieve all of these alone as Igbos, that is why it is necessary to reach out and collaborate with the other tribes. Our traditional political ally last time teamed up with the south west to grab the presidency in 2015, because no group can do it alone. Today our young men and women have been brain washed into believing that they (the northerners) are the cause of our problems and our worst enemies only because the tendency that has emerged has not profited the Igbo political elite. Governors in the north have created an avenue to solve the power problems in their region a situation that will engender economic growth and cure unemployment in that region, a south west economic belt is emerging right in our faces with a lot of our sons and daughters seeking relevance in this set up, other initiatives are taking full shape all over the country. We are further losing our people in the Niger Delta region while erroneously calling them minorities because of our lack of a sense of history, tact, focus, direction and leadership.

Truth be told, we are better off in today’s Nigeria than seeking to stand alone when we have even shown an amazing capacity for self mis-governance. We should as it were be in the fore front of keeping Nigeria together so that we can also benefit from the union as others have; after all we have contributed the most in the building of this country.  If the country were to be divided, you can be sure that the south west will get running immediately because there are structures currently in existence upon which they can build. Instead of pursuing a wrong-headed agitation, we should be seeking better accommodation in the Nigerian state. Some people have merely by massobing become billionaires from the blood and sweat of our youths, this trend of misleading and basically exploiting our innocent youths must be stopped. Agitation by groups is now becoming another form of business endeavor in our land. We must stop the abuse of Igbo land and spirit in this manner.

All we need to do is to either get our current leaders to lead or get kicked out. But since most of them do not have the requisite skills for leadership having gotten there through brigandage, the only option we have is to chase them away by refusing, or resisting their untoward methods of ascension to positions of power and authority. We must reject their ill gotten and blood money, accepting such is tantamount to accepting the deplorable conditions we now find ourselves. We must have better representation at all levels of government in Igbo land and Nigeria at large. The macabre dance of shame in Abia where a renowned cultist and school dropout is manipulating the state assembly in order to take over the house is one that calls for intervention by all well meaning  Igbos, this is despite having looted the state with his father, to a state of hopelessness. It cannot be said that the state initiated by the admirable, well respected and foresighted Dr. Michael Okpara is now fully under the control of a criminal gang made up of miscreants and nay do wells. Our people must reject criminality, violence, vain hero worship, and enthrone a culture that will make no room for mediocrity that seems to be holding sway in our land today. We have always pursued excellence and crooks have never been known to have a place of accommodation for them in our midst.

When we institute credible and reliable leadership and representations we would be better positioned to engage the other component units of our country. Our leaders must emerge through transparent traditional processes, elections, consensual agreements and definitely not by imposition. It is then and only then that the leader will attract the followership of all after agreeing what is best for the greater majority.

We must remember that those said to be against us are the same people that have finally activated the building of a second Niger bridge, a project that has been the instrument of grand deception of Igbos for decades, the once forgotten Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway is currently receiving accelerated rebuilding, refurbishment and reconstruction as the case may be, so is the Enugu- Onitsha road, Abakaliki to Enugu boasts of one of best roads in the federation today, Arochukwu people finally went home for the past Christmas and yuletide holiday. One of the most cheering news of the season is that Geometric Power; the first Independent Power Plant in Nigeria will finally commence supplies of electric power to Aba and communities around it, we will recall that this project was a victim of the politics of favoritism of persons of the last administration. It is time for the people especially the youth to think, in politics there are no permanent friends, only permanent interests. A new year has dawned, new opportunities are emerging, this is the season for the entrepreneur, the industrialist, the hard working agriculturist, the innovative, the commercial giant, the miner, the technology expert; we are known for all these and more so this is the season for the Igbos, may we not lose this opportunity by continuing to allow ourselves to be drawn away from these opportunities by the manipulative schemes of a few self seeking brothers.

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