BY SAMPSON UHUEGBU
Undoubtedly, the Southeast geopolitical zone of Nigeria has been described as “endangered specie”. This misconception could be connected with the marginalization of the Igbo by other ethnicities in the country.
Also, the Southsouth that claim to be part of the zone appear to be political foes. Rivers, Cross Rivers, Akwa-ibom, Delta, Edo, Bayelsa and others are naturally supposed to be dancing on the same tunes with the Southeast states. Unfortunately, the reverse is the case.
Southeast- born appointees that held various positions under the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to the best of my knowledge, performed with a high sense of commitment and dedication. They were never found wanton in the course of carrying out their officials responsibilities. Before now, the Igbo had cried out to be given the opportunity to rule the country as it is clear that other ethnic groups had taken their turn.
When It became clearer that the Igbo were on the verge to be given the chance to rule Nigeria, their agitation towards achieving that cause became dashed as if leadership of the country has been centrally pigeonholed on “Southwest and North”. The Country is densely populated with over Two Hundred and Seventy Million ( 270,000,000) citizens compromising of all the zones.
Sometimes I ask these questions: What could have been giving our leaders the mind not to have ceded power to the South-east that had been marginalized for years? Are they not feeling the touching agonies of these people? Are they comfortable with the heights of subversion of fairness being meted on the the Igbo? Infact, any sane person should align to the fact that the Igbo are saddened.
For the sake of equity and fairness, one would have thought that the outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari would have shifted power to Igbo people- considering the visible facts that they have the best brains that can fix the shattered Nigeria.
Before the manipulated emergence of Chief Bola Tinubu as the standard bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 general election, attention was beamed on Hon. (Dr.) Emeka Nwajiuba who was a bossom friend of President Buhari. There was also this assumption that the President would have perfected plans to annoint any of the Southeast aspirants as his successor in the coming polls. But lo and behold, the South took the flag.
Mind you, the battle is not yet over. There is no auspicious time Igbo should come together and champion a good cause for themselves than now. The apparent fruitlessness of the Igbo extraction’s aspiration to rule Nigeria is ocassioned by the clandestine decision of the APC States’ Governors.
Meanwhile, the game is decidedly among the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) flagbearer; Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, that of the Labour Party (LP) Candidate; Mr. Peter Obi and Chief Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC. The rising seriousness being exhibited by the Southeast to takeover has indicated a renaissance of oneness.
The contributions of Southeast to the development of economy of Nigeria in the areas of Agriculture, Commerce, Industry, Sports development, Youths’ skill acquisition and empowerment have remained unwavering and outstanding.
However, the Labour Party (LP) Peter Obi’s candidature and his track record has placed Ndi Igbo on a strategic position in the shapening of Nigerian presidency for 2023.
Although, social media space has been awashed with issues pertaining the forthcoming general election, Southeast should avoid sabotage, strategize more than they agitate for Presidency. I am envisaging a situation whereby crisis may erupt in the course of the polls if the Igbo fail to manage their emotions intelligently.
This is the right time for Southeast to actualize their long- awaited vision of producing President of the Igbo extraction without hitches. What matters now is the approach towards achieving this. Many have gotten their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVC’s) recently; while market have shut down for the same purpose.
Peter Obi clearly stands chances of winning because he has been trusted, tested and proven to have possessed the leadership qualities to pilot the affairs of Nigeria if given the mandate to rule the country.
At this juncture, all the Igbo- speaking states should strongly file behind the LP flagbearer during the election, Obi would win- bearing in mind that votes of his supporters from other states will count.
Therefore, the Igbo should come together. They should review their internal shortcomings in the past and learn a lesson therein. Reconciliating with one another is advisable.
Ohaneze Ndigbo and other sociocultural groups need to rise up to their responsibilities and chart a new strategy for the emancipation of the Southeast.
Religious leaders, the Academia, traditional rulers, Students’ union, Town Union executives, Market women; as well as other Igbo leaders of thought must interfere to ensure the right decision is taken for the realization of our collective dream.