Saturday, 30th September 2023

South East in the mind of Tinubu and Onoh’s obedient support

By Frank Osadebe
04 April 2023   |   12:37 am
One of the modern tragedies of Ndigbo is the dearth of statesmanship and even consistent politicians amongst the Igbo that can stand up for the people in times of need such as now in the Nigeria polity. What we have had in recent times are some parade stars who dress in Ohanaeze Ndigbo to pursue…

Composite image of Josef Onoh and Bola Tinubu.

One of the modern tragedies of Ndigbo is the dearth of statesmanship and even consistent politicians amongst the Igbo that can stand up for the people in times of need such as now in the Nigeria polity. What we have had in recent times are some parade stars who dress in Ohanaeze Ndigbo to pursue personal ends. This self pursuit is what is presently trying to set the Igbo behind once more such that the echoes of marginalization will again rent the air and the Igbo demigods will presume they are making marks whereas one of Nigeria’s largest ethnic groups continues to retard into oblivion.

A clear case is the recent backlash by Ohanaeze Ndigbo against Nigeria’s President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, pitching the Igbo nationality against a new government that will be formed and which would probably be on course in the next eight years. Such attack by the Igbo is what has obtained since 1999 simply because an Igbo has not emerged Nigeria’s President, but will obviously not guarantee Igbo presidency because politics is about negotiation, persuasion, parley and dialogue.

Aggression against the rest of Nigerians because Mr. Peter Obi was not declared President-elect is no doubt the wrong way to negotiate means to achieve a Nigeria President of Igbo extraction. Only two men from Enugu state have identified with the next President come May 29 and the two are Dr. Josef Onoh a former member of Enugu State House of Assembly, former Special Adviser to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Chairman Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA) who started his political career in the days of Grassroot Democratic Movement (GDM).

The other is Senator Chimaroke Nnamani currently representing Enugu East Senatorial district and who was a former Governor of Enugu State between 1999 and 2007.

Apart from these two visible stakeholders, the other Igbo politicians have either been playing hide and seek game or have shown complete disdain for the next government to be formed and these are signs of bad times for the Igbo in the coming dispensation.

Prior to the March 25 presidential election, so many politicians in the south east, starting from the ward to the states and regional levels had tried to undo one another to attract the blessing and funding of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign, but they all collapsed once the it was clear to them that the expected money was not coming, yet people such as Onoh and Nnamani remained and have been consistent in their support for Asiwaju, particularly Onoh who dared to bear the consequence of becoming ‘disobident’ in the midst of ‘obidients’.

Onoh’s courage is not surprising given his family antecedent; the great sage himself, His Excellency Chief C.C Onoh of the blessed memory, who was a NADECO member at a time when only the courageous countered the military in Nigeria’s quest to take back their country from the jackboots of the martial dictatorship. Tinubu therefore chose a soul mate and the best of the finest young breeds in the south east to become his spokesman in the zone. But for Onoh, all that would have been heard about in the south east would have just been the Labour party and no other political party.

He became the voice of wisdom, stating the facts as they are and went on to expose how divided the Igbo elite are. His factual defense of Tinubu has been unequalled and endeared Asiwaju to the Igbo nation. Onoh by his job dwarfed the siren-blaring politicians who had all the while falsely claimed to be more Catholics than the Pope, but would shamefully return to lobby for positions because the food is ready. Good thing is that the Asiwaju has taken records and has continued to maintain relationships with the Onoh family, stressing it with his visit to Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu when he was in Enugu for his presidential campaign.

The Tinubu we know values loyalty more than any other political gimmick and Onoh’s support and vociferousness stood him out among any other Asiwaju campaigner in the south east, hence I have no doubt in my mind that he has since won the heart of the President-elect to help him succeed better from May 29. Onoh ran the Tinubu campaign with historical perspective, exposing the treachery inherent in the south east political dynamics. He is focused, dealing on vital issues and warning his kinsmen to desist from settling for a slice of soaked bread. I’m still surprised that those holding political positions from the south east could not come out in the open to support Tinubu leaving Onoh to do so alone.

In the recent brouhaha in Lagos, Onoh rose to the task of not only canvassing support for Governor Sanwo-Olu, but also worked on the Igbo traders in Alaba and Aspanda markets in Lagos to understand the mechanism excelling their trade and commerce in the state. He has been called names in the south east for his defense and campaign for Tinubu, yet Onoh remains focused and straight forward thinking in the manner he discharged his duties as Chairman of Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, where he contributed greatly to the actualisation of present Akanu Ibiam International airport with the support of the Minister for Aviation, Hadi Sirika.

His stint at Enugu State House of Assembly as a Legislator, 20 years ago, is still a subject of commendation by the Assembly, just like he actualised the relocation of the Enugu Building Materials market to it’s present international site that hitatto defiled previous administrators. His administration of the ECTDA remained one of the legacies if the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi administration.

In his straight forward thinking mannerism, he suggested that the Senate President should be zoned out of the south east to the south-south because the vultures were already gathering to devour the food that is ready.

A situation where the Governors in the region, including the G5 Governors who promised heaven on earth could not deliver their states to Tinubu, one wonders what use the Governors could be other than to be consigned in the dustbin of their waste and ineffectual leadership.

Sadly, despite the legendary CC Onoh’s efforts for the creation of Enugu state, he is yet to be rewarded with even a common street naming in Enugu state, but I am happy that the younger Onoh would be climbing the national stage with Tinubu to offer more service to humanity as it is inherent in the family nature.

His bid to become the Governor of Enugu State was truncated by the similar vultures who felt threatened by his courage in good leadership and buckled in fear that they would not be protected in his leadership. At the end corruption overthrew transparency. The fear of Onoh has remained a nightmare to law breakers in Enugu State and I’m certain Asiwaju will not overlook his direction in the fullness of time.

Prof. Osadebe, an academician, wrote from Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State.

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