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Of Igbo President and Amaechi’s apology theory

By News Express on 13/04/2018

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The Igbo nation has, indeed, struggled to re-launch itself back to the national political turf since after the civil war. The agitation for Igbo presidency seemingly assumed a strategic and pronounced parameter to measure whatever success the re-launch project garners.

Late Dr Alex Ekwueme, Second Republic vice-president under president Shehu Shagari, was favoured for victory during the presidential primary election that later produced ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo as candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP). It only took the conspiracies of some northern politicians and their ilk from the South-west, who struck an overnight political alliance with some self-seeking politicians from the South-east, to truncate Ekwueme’s nomination for the presidential election.

Since that ‘near’ attempt in 1998, no reasonable and obviously sincere political move has been recorded towards actualising Igbo presidency. Though Owelle Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State, made some shadow attempts before condescending to the gubernatorial position in 2011, the general perception about the Imo governor and his inordinate aspiration for the nation’s plum job has remained unpalatable. Many Nigerians still don’t tag Okorocha a serious contender, because of his alleged penchant for grandstanding, greed and inconsistency.

The age-long agitation for Igbo presidency was, however, resurrected at Awka, Anambra State, by Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation and President Muhammadu Buhari’s close political ally. The former governor of Rivers State – at the 12th Convocation of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State – in lecture entitled “The Igbo in the Politics of Nigeria”, was blunt, as he merely struggled to offer political prescriptions for the actualisation of Nigerian presidency of Igbo extraction.

Amaechi had anchored President Buhari’s 2015 election project as the campaign director-general. Apparently, in his warped calculation, Ndigbo had offended his principal for embracing and delivering massive votes for Dr Goodluck Jonathan, his supposed brother. Also recall that the minister orchestrated some political deals that largely doomed Jonathan and crashed re-election bid.

According to him, “You (Igbo) did not vote for Buhari: true or false? You voted for the PDP and what did they do for you? The PDP abandoned the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway since 1999, but Buhari is working on it with dispatch, true or false?

Buhari is working on the second Niger Bridge; he is working on the Otuocha-Ibaji-Abuja road; he is working on the Abakaliki-Onueke Road; he is working on the Oji-Achi-Naku road in Enugu State; he is working on the Ozalla-Akpugo-Amagunze road. He is also working on Aba-Ikot Ekpene road.

“Under Buhari, all major cities of the South-east are captured in the existing railway project. Name one government that has done up to this within two years. Our problem is that we are just being emotional.”

The minster would not leave the arena without suggesting the way forward for Ndigbo. Amaechi, concluded: “Igbo should go for confession, seek forgiveness and move into a national party, and look for way to fight from inside. They should vote for Buhari for a second term, and then force him out and look for Igbo presidency.

Though in a subtle manner, the President of Ohanaeze, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, enlightened and amicably tutored Amaechi.

Nwodo replied: “I am yet to see a federation in which the security apparatus is domiciled in one section of the country. Doing so has not also solved the security problems of the country. Our country is in a state of war, with no one declaring it. I refuse to agree with you (Amaechi) that people should join a federal movement as you said. If our Constitution is not revisited for people to live and feel safe, then we are wasting our time.”

It is quite obvious that Amaechi misfired, in his rather uninformed political logic, having failed to garnish his postulations with salient and undiluted facts on ground. The support Ndigbo gave to Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 validly remains the best political option, if reviewed and re-evaluated from any political perspective. The former minister could have equally supported his brother, Jonathan, if he wasn’t beclouded and driven by selfishness and greed. If Amechi’s quest to install his anointed candidate as a successor under the platform of the PDP was granted by Jonathan and the party hierarchy, the former governor wouldn’t have abandoned his former political party that graciously enabled him to become the Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly for eight years and governor of Rivers State for another eight years. Therefore, Amaechi’s misguided advocacy demanding Igbo people’s apology to President Buhari was unnecessary and mischievous.

Amaechi, in all intent and purposes, failed to juxtapose his advice with the realities of President Buhari’s shabby and obvious hatred against Ndigbo. Though the president and his administration are continuing with some key infrastructural projects initiated (and abandoned) by his predecessor in South-East with a noticeable measure of commitment and diligence, the indisputable fact remains that President Buhari is running the country without contributions from Ndigbo. The South-East zone and Ndigbo generally are not practically captured in the short and long term political agenda of President Buhari and APC.

If the above assertion is incorrect, how then does one explain the “criminal lopsidedness” where all heads of security establishments and paramilitary are appointed from a section of larger multi-ethnic-religious nation such as Nigeria? How come nobody from South-east region or an Igbo is found capable, worthy and competent to head at least a paramilitary outfit in Nigeria?

You mean no Igbo man is competent or politically worthy to head any sensitive MDA of the Federal Government under President Buhari? Why then were Igbo bureaucrats holding sensitive positions in Aso Rock, before the emergence of the present administration, massively redeployed to give way for their counterparts from the preferred section of the country? How else does one define or interpret marginalisation and hatred? What is the position of Ndigbo under President Buhari’s APC controlled Federal Government? Why didn’t Amaechi explain this neglect before prescribing his ill-thought-out apology theory?

It was equally good the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo was on ground to redirect Amaechi’s mindset and further set an agenda towards changing the ugly narrative. Nwodo politically guided Amaechi on the way forward. “Honourable minister, I urge you to fight for us. We are the true Nigerians. Whether we voted left or right, our behavioural pattern has shown confidence in Nigeria. Help us talk to your people and make them understand that whatever views they held during the war, tell them that the war is over,” Nwodo posited.

This onerous appeal by Nwodo is expected to erase the earlier impression erroneously harboured by Amaechi and President Buhari. The minister is also expected to review his message by first getting Buhari into extending an olive branch to Ndigbo.

President Buhari should first integrate Ndigbo into his agenda, to earn their maximum support. There should be a balanced connectivity between the call for Ndigbo to vote for Buhari in 2019 and the level of integration shown to the South-East zone by his government. The Minister of Transportation should, therefore, return to his principal and strategically develop a political road-map that will ignite support and possibly woo Ndigbo to President Buhari. The president, on his part, should patriotically engage Ndigbo by showing greater concern to their overall well-being and collective welfare. While the opposition PDP prepares the ground for Igbo vice-presidential ticket ahead of 2019, Buhari and his party, APC, should strategically convince Ndigbo on 2023 presidency. Otherwise, the 2023 projection for Igbo presidency will remain a mere political rhetoric and gimmick orchestrated by some desperate politicians. That’s the task before Amaechi and President Buhari, and not apologies over 2015 voting.

•Uzoukwa, a seasoned journalist and PR practitioner, is currently pursuing his Doctorate Degree on Mass Communication in Imo State University (IMSU), Owerri.

Source News Express

Posted 13/04/2018 08:20:42 AM

 

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