In an attempt to x-ray the circumstances which led to the failure of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) to garner the votes of Ndigbo of the South-East geo-political region, during this year’s general election, I proffered some reasons as contained in my first piece published on Thursday, August 6, 2015. In view of the space limit, the said article was not concluded in accordance with the expectation of such a write-up. For the purpose of clarity, I intend to summarise my initial piece of last week. In order to do justice to the essay, I traced the political history of the Igbo (not elaborately) from the pre-colonial period through colonialism to post-colonial rule which terminated in present day Ndigbo politics and politicking.
In addition to my present factors, I wish to add that a greater percentage of Igbo are probably members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) while some others have strong sympathy for the party even at the expense of the All Progressives’ Grand Alliance (APGA) whose origin and political spread is visible in Anambra State of Nigeria. At the moment, Anambra is governed by an APGA Governor. In the fundamental interest of fair judgment, Ndigbo were expected to embrace APGA if regional politics has become a modern trend, but this is not to be, which perhaps may be a traced to the untimely death of Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu, the military strongman of his generation. This major factor can be attributed to why the Igbo had to move en-masse to the PDP. For now, they are left without the presence of a viable National leadership and therefore, the ethnic group had to go their different ways in politics.
It is like the biblical injunction which states: “to thy tent o’ Israel”. Without any iota of contradiction, most Igbo leaders are not National but only pretending to be so. Infact, they millaround Abuja and lobby to become Governors in their States, Federal contract Awards and for the purpose of sustaining their selfish interest, which from whatever perspective, is certainly not the solution of the Ndigbo political status in Nigeria. Another factor attributable to the loss of the South-East by the APC is that the Igbo saw Dr Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, former President, as one of their own.
They contended that Ebele Azikiwe is a strong Igbo name which cannot be dumped in favour of a name that is completely far from them. However, Ndigbo need to fly above the South-East politics and concentrate on how the zone can produce a president. This is where I am not on the same page with Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, erstwhile National Chairman of the All Nigerian Peoples’ Party (ANPP) and now a Chieftain of the All progressives’ Party (APC). He said and I quote: “The ruling party is the short and sure roadmap in the Igbo’s Journey to the presidency in the near future”. He urged Ndigbo to embrace his political party, the APC. Finally, he stated that Buhari’s Government won’t marginalize the Igbo. Precisely, this was when a four-man delegation of the past leaders of the World Igbo Congress (WIC) paid him a courtesy visit.
What the National Leader of the APC failed to add was at what period in the future will the Igbo be voted for to become the President of Nigeria? What modality has he put in place inorder to assure his kinsmen that will enable the South East zone take-over the political leadership of our Sovereign State? Has the Nigerian political class finally resolved that at a particular time, an Igbo should become the president? The South East is one political or geographical zone out of the six. Can Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu honestly tell the Igbos that the other five zones have agreed or consented to an Igbo Presidency? These are some missing gaps in the proclamation of the consummate politician, who is dear to my heart.
As a former National Chairman of the All Nigerian Peoples’ Party (ANPP) it beats my imagination hollow why he had to trade his high profile position of a party’s National Chairman and be comfortable with the status of a mere National Leader. Let the veteran politician tell the Igbo the gospel truth on how one of then can ascend to the presidency. I expect that his position on this matter should better be told to the marines and not to the Igbos, who obviously will not accept his so-called message of hope. My position on this subject is a direct negation and opposite to the stand of my dear Onu. For an Igbo to be a President, certain processes must be involved. All the geo-political regions should as a fact put behind them the effect of the teething civil war in which several thousands of Igbo men, women and youths were dastardly killed. This was as a result of Yakubu Gowon’s extreme determination to crush and destroy the young “Republic of Biafra”.
The Igbo, too, should learn to forgive and forget the needless and inglorious civil war which ought to have been prevented. In 1999, Nigerian political leaders especially those from the North zoned the Presidency to the Yoruba of the South- West. It was to compensate the ethnic group for the ugly way and manner, Chief Moshood Abiola was prevented from the Presidential leadership of Nigeria by the military, which finally led to the death of the man. He is acknowledged globally as the candidate who was presumed to have won the presidential election in 1993.
It is expected that the Igbo political leadership should come-together and agree on how the presidential candidates of all the political parties can be zoned to the South-East to enable the ethnic group produce a president. This arrangement should not have anything to do with the affiliation to any political party. With the collective will and the resolve of Igbo leaders, the other geo-political zones can be intensively lobbied to appreciate the quest for an Igbo presidency. The most important clause to add is, when the Presidency is zoned to the South–East, no other candidate should contest same in other zones.