Ndigbo, Fani-Kayode and 2015 presidency
THERE is no doubt that the only way the Igbos, apart from political accident, can produce the president in the country is by zoning. If not for the sudden demise of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in office, and President Goodluck Jonathan’s contest of 2011 Presidency against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) zoning arrangement, PDP would have fielded a Southeast presidential candidate, and a North Central running mate in this forthcoming presidential poll. The founding fathers of the party know this. The then PDP national chairman, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor was very frank and courageous at the peak of the late President Yar’Adua health saga when he publicly declared that PDP would abide by its presidency zoning arrangement.
But immediately Jonathan assumed office as president, the presidency and its hawks ousted Ogbulafor from office and roped him in, in alleged corrupt practice to silence him. Some prominent Igbo politicians in the PDP and their Northern counterparts which include Senator Ken Nnamani, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Senator Ben Obi, Prof. ABC Nwosu, Senator Uche Chukwumerije, Prof. Ango Abdullahi and others met severally then and even signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that they would work together as a people to ensure that their political interest and aspiration would be met. Indirectly, they were against Jonathan’s ambition to contest 2011 presidential poll knowing full well the long-term political implication of such on PDP zoning principle that has been driving the party’s success in the poll since 1999. But before one could bat an eyelid, the Igbo political leaders in the PDP have capitulated and sold out to the Jonathan’s ambition in 2011. Typical of an Igbo man, many of the Igbo political leaders jumped into the Jonathan’s campaign train to the disappointment of their Northern counterparts. They were settled with contracts, appointments, and cash in exchange for their political opportunity and by the extension right to produce the presidency in 2015.
Ahead of the 2015 polls, they saw the political trend with the formation of All Progressives Congress (APC), the alignment between the North and the Southwest which has become the possible game change, they stuck with the Jonathan’s ambition even when it is obvious that Jonathan’s government in the last five years plus has failed the Igbos woefully. In the last five years of Jonathan administration in Igbo land, It has been more of political promise less action. From the Second Niger Bridge, Enugu-Onitsha road, Enugu-Port Harcourt road, Onitsha port to the refusal to commission Prof. Barth Nnaji’s Geometric power plant in Aba that was ready for almost two years now. The list is endless. But some few Igbo treacherous leaders who are beneficiaries of the President Jonathan’s government and the massive corruption that has characterised it in the last five years have continued to shamelessly campaign for his re-election in Igbo land with nothing concrete for the Igbos. They are busy spreading cheap propaganda and hate message against the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari.
These categories of Igbo leaders include former governors, incumbent governors, serving ministers, former ministers, leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and several others. With so much public funds, they are busy engaging in all kinds of hatchet political jobs. They are everywhere on the pages of newspaper, in the churches, communities, on the streets sponsoring pro-Jonathan rallies with looted public money, casting Buhari and APC. They are deluding the people that Buhari will islamise Nigeria if he is elected President, but failed to tell them why President Jonathan has not Christianised the country in the last five years, if it is easy. They are telling them that the Hausa are Boko Haram and not good people, but did not tell them why Boko Haram insurgents have been killing and displacing the Muslims in the last five years. If truly Hausa are not good as these elite want us to believe, why have they been able to co-habit peacefully in the Igbo land for decades. One hard truth these set of Igbo political mercenaries have refused to disclose to their people or wouldn’t want them to know is that the votes of the Southeast and South-South which is about 16.8 million cannot return Jonathan for second term, even if he gets all of them which is not possible. That the votes of these two geo-political zones are not up to the vote of the Northwest zone with 19,800 million votes.
In this their hatchet job, none of these so-called Igbo political leaders in the PDP is talking or negotiating anything better for the political future of the Southeast in power equation of the country. What matters most to them is the immediacy, which is their private pockets, business interests, and that of their families, and relations. Others can go to hell. That is why majority of them have remained with the tag “Any Government In Power” (AGIP).
It is for this reason that some Nigerians such as the Director of Media and Publicity of the President Jonathan campaign organisation, Chief Femi-Fani-Kayode could summon courage to insult the sensibilities of the Igbo in the name of campaigning for President Jonathan by re-writing the civil war history.
Addressing journalists in Umuahia Abia State recently, Fani-Kayode, said there had been “mind boggling allegations” against Buhari over his roles in the massacre of Igbo in the 60s and should, therefore, not be allowed to continue to run from his shadows.
He said Buhari’s hands reek of the blood of innocent Igbo civilians massacred in cold blood hence such atrocities could not qualify him as a presidential candidate but a candidate for the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.
Citing the horrendous massacre of Igbo civilians, including women and children in the North, and the killing of Igbo men and young boys at Asaba after the town was “liberated” by federal forces, Fani-Kayode insisted that Buhari’s name had always popped up in connection with those heinous crimes against humanity.
It had been expected that some Igbo leaders would have call Fani-Kayode to order over the unguarded utterances especially concerning the Igbo and the civil war, but as we know the fear of incurring the Presidency’s wrath appears to be their handicap because they lack integrity. If not, what did Fani-Kayode know about Igbo and the civil war experiences. If Buhari was serving in a military division where Igbo were killed during the civil war does that mean that Buhari killed them? Of what effects are such utterances on Igbo’s fortune in Jonathan presidency? Why such comments now?
Why was Fani-Kayode trying to re-write history of civil war for the Igbo, and when has he become the spokesman of the Igbo or Ohanaeze? Lest we forget, the worst thing that happened to the Igbo after the war was the issue of abandoned property in Rivers. Bayelsa was part of Rivers then and President Jonathan was from there. So we can conveniently ask President Jonathan and his people to explain their roles in the abandoned property saga in Rivers. This is because most of the property in the present Rivers and Bayelsa and by extension Cross River belong to Igbo before the war but could not recover them after the war. The old Rivers people seized everything Igbo worked for and refused to give them back anything after the war.
Whereas those in the North whom people like Fani- Kayode tagged enemies of the Igbo did not only protect Igbo property in the region, they returned them to the Igbo immediately after the civil war. People like the late Biafra warlord Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu reclaimed his father’s house in Kano after the war and willed it to one of her daughters at death. That is why it was easy for Igbo in the North to start life quickly after the war. Before the Boko Haram insurgency, 80 per cent of Igbo were earning their living in the remote areas of the North where you hardly find an Ijaw man. This is because Ijaw men are not good at adventures. So who is trying to pitch Igbo against the North ahead of the rescheduled polls? When has Igbo become cheap products for sale to the highest bidder? Ahead of the rescheduled presidential poll, the political atmosphere is very clear. The direction is change and the Igbo should not be behind because immediately the change occurs, these political hypocrites called Igbo leaders in the PDP that have been hoodwinking the Igbo with Greek gift from President Jonathan will be the first to shift base. They are not truly Igbo political leaders, but political harlots who are specialists in the elitist conspiracy, and divide and rule method to remain politically relevant. Igbo must shine their eyes.
• Nwaezeorah, a retired civil servant, wrote from Nsukka, Enugu State