Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
THE “NDIGBO QUESTION IN NIGERIAN POLITICS” IS REAL (III)
SOLUTION: IGBO SHOULD RETURN TO PDP OR ANPP
continued from http://www.dawodu.com/omoruyi8.htm
Professor Omoruyi, mni.
This is the third in a three-part essay on the above issue. It grew out of the reaction to my essay published in the Guardian of February 24, 2003 classifying the presidential candidates in the 2003 election into four categories. In that essay, I placed three Ndi Igbo candidates, Ike Nwachukwu, Jim Nwobodo and Dim Ojukwu as ethnic candidates or spoilers that are out for stalemate. Consequently, I advised Nigerians to focus on two candidates, Obasanjo and Buhari as the only credible and national candidates and reject others with ethnic or personal agenda. I followed this essay with an endorsement of Chief Obasanjo out of the two candidates and gave reasons why I chose Obasanjo and not Buhari.
The essay and my endorsement of Obasanjo generated some negative comments from fellow Nigerians from the southeast. No one addressed the basis of the classification. Are they questioning my right to endorse a candidate and my right to reject a candidate? Maybe, they are questioning the person I endorsed and the person I rejected. Is this not what democracy is all about? Freedom of choice out of the 17 presidential candidates!
For April 2003, I choose Obasanjo of the two credible candidates with a national platform and advise Nigerians to choose from these two candidates and reject candidates with ethnic agenda.
OKEZIE, MY “RIGHT TO ENDORSE” FALLS UNDER MY “RIGHT TO VOTE”
A Law Professor of the kind of Okezie Chukwumerije who should know better led the Igbo commentators to question my democratic rights. He should know or he ought to have known that my democratic rights are protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He should know or he ought to have known that such rights are part of the enforceable rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that Nigeria ratified in July 1993.
Okezie knows or ought to have known that my right to endorse a candidate (Obasanjo) and my right to reject a candidate (Ojukwu) fall under my right to vote and be voted for. Okezie’s long tirade, Mythography of Omoruyi is questioning my right to vote that I secured and exercised since 1959 but occasionally denied me by the military.
I thought that the right to vote and be voted for is the commitment of Okezie’s generation who swore that never again should Nigerians of his generation be denied this right. This commitment is for all Nigerians including my humbleself no matter where I may be in the world today. Those who cannot be physically be in Nigeria to vote and cannot benefit from the absentee ballot can endorse. That was what I did through the press.
BASIS OF CLASSIFICATION, TECHNICAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL
The classification of the 17 Presidential candidates was a technical exercise based on the capacity of each candidate to meet the second tough condition in the Constitution that must be met by anyone who wants to win the April 2003 presidential election. Those of us who invented it in the Constituent Assembly in 1977/78 called it the “Geographical Spread” as distinct from the “Federal Character” for lack of a better term. I further discussed this issue in my essay on the two conditions for winning the presidential election in the Constitution. See The Winning of the April 2003 Presidential Election is a Function “Geographical Spread”….)
“GEOGRAPHICAL SPREAD” AND OJUKWU/BUHARI/OBASANJO
Ojukwu’s campaign is based on vote for your kind; he as the front-line candidate from the southeastern States is ab initio handicapped. From the present State system in Nigeria, the Igbo people can only lay claim to five States (Enugu, Anambra, Imo, Abia and Ebonyi) in the federation. He is most likely going to get the minimum of Ľ of the votes in each of these states. Would that carry him anywhere?
Dim Ojukwu ought to have recognized that there are some favorite sons in Igboland from other parties such as Chief Jim Nwobodo from Enugu and General Ike Nwachukwu from Abia. Do these candidates see Dim Ojukwu as their King?
Dim Ojukwu bases his campaign on the fact that there are some Igbo enclave in Rivers and Delta States. Would the Igbo in these two areas readily succumb to the call for an Igbo Presidency? Do they see Dim Ojukwu as their King? Would they respond to him as their father? I have my doubt.
Dim Ojukwu ought to have appreciated that the States in Igboland are under the control of the PDP and the Governors of these states endorsed Obasanjo and are on the same ticket with him in the April election.
Dim Ojukwu ought to have appreciated that distinguished Igbo sons and daughters in and out of government and in the private sector are against him and are for Obasanjo.
Would Ojukwu be seen as a democrat and a nationalist by other Nigerians to be crowned with their votes? I have my doubt.
Buhari is coming into the race from the vantage position of having many Muslims in most of the northern States. On the campaign of vote for your faith, Muslims would likely give their votes to Buhari in the far northern States and in some Middle-Belt states. From this position, Buhari would secure the minimum Ľ votes from many northern States.
The second factor is that the ANPP, the party that sponsors Buhari has control over 8 States in the north. That automatically gives the ANPP candidate undisputed minimum Ľ votes from 8 States.
The third is that the ANPP is seen as the opposition party in most of the southern States. Consequently the ANPP candidate as the alternative to Obasanjo would likely secure more votes than the other candidates from the other political parties.
The fourth is that specifically, the ANPP would likely be the preferred political party than those parties sponsoring the Igbo candidates such as the APGA, NDP and UNPP.
Obasanjo being an incumbent has a certain level of support from most States in the federation based on IOU and the prospect of future allocation of goods and services. The Nigerian voters would likely be like other voters in many democracies who would likely give the party in power the benefit of the doubt and give it more consideration before deciding to vote against it in an election. The party in power has a threshold of support and the onus is on the challenger to demonstrate why that threshold should be lowered. This is the issue in the far north and in the southeast. Will the threshold for Obasanjo be lower than Ľ in the far north and in the southeast? We will wait and see.
Second, Obasanjo has in his pocket six States from the Yorubland. All these States being controlled by the Alliance for Democracy (AD) took a tactical decision to decline the nomination of a Presidential candidate in preference for the PDP candidate (Obasanjo). Obasanjo would most likely secure more than 80% of the votes from the Yoruba States in April.
Three, the party that sponsors Obasanjo has control over 20 states in the federation from which it could secure the minimum of Ľ votes from the States in addition to the States controlled by AD in the southwest.
The fourth factor arises from the fact that the election of the President and the Governors would be held on the same day and at the same spot. Voters would more likely be consistent voters than split voters on that day and at the same spot to make the vote for one office rub off on the other. I am very much interested in how these two issues would play themselves out on April 19.
These four factors make Obasanjo the preferred candidate in the 2003 race.
FLAWS IN IGBO COMMENT ON MY ANALYSIS
All the negative comments on my classification by Igbo theoreticians never proffered solution to the relative political impotence of the Ndi Igbo in Nigeria. They did not discuss who would take up the mantle of leadership through the inter-play of democratic forces. Unfortunately they see the Ndi Igbo politics within the permanent enemies, the Yoruba and the permanent friends, the north. No one has addressed what I call the Igbo Permanent Interest in Nigeria.
The Igbo commentators cannot see why I am not endorsing an Igbo candidate for now. In Okezie Chukwumerije’s “The Mythography of Omoruyi”, Okezie is upset that I should endorse Obasanjo; despite (what he called the Tragedy of Obasanjo) all that Obasanjo was alleged to have done or have not done since 1999. This is my right; this is the right of every Nigerian. In a democracy a citizen is free to endorse and vote for any candidate of his choice. I chose Obasanjo and gave reason why I did so. In choosing one, one is necessarily rejecting others. Yes I rejected Buhari and Ojukwu and gave reasons. This is still my right.
Okezie Chukwumerije is very upset with the reasons I gave for endorsing Obasanjo. A brilliant lawyer he is and I am proud that he is a product of the University of Benin to which I am associated. I thought he should have accorded me with the courtesy and ability to reach a political decision at my age as to why I am endorsing one candidate out of 17 candidates in an election. That was what I did in my endorsement essay. No more no less, my dear young man.
Okezie is very upset especially with the identified feats in Obasanjo’s political life in the life of Nigeria. His attempt to dispute them is to deny me my right to reach such judgment. He ought to have realized that in a war as we had in the past, Nigerians are likely bound to see the cause and the outcome differently. I was not interested in this exercise.
OKEZIE, DO NOT BE A VICTIM FAMILY’S PREJUDICE
Readers should know that Okezie is the nephew of the functionary of Dim Ojukwu during the Civil War (Uche Chukwumerije). If Nigerians did not know I knew the details of the role of Chukwumerije and other leaders of the Ohaneze such as Professor Ben Nwabueze in the annulment saga. If we tried to rewrite the Nigerian history in the past, but today Nigerians are united on one fact that it was that episode that plunged the country into the political crisis out which Chief Obasanjo emerged. The Chukwumerijes and the Nwabuezes of Nigeria are the architect of the Igbo Presidency Project, which to me is ill digested. Did they ever bargain for what is happening to the Igbo in Nigeria today? Did they know that an Obasanjo would succeed MKO Abiola, their victim their victim in the immediate past? Did they know that MKO and OBJ are in the end from the same Egbaland? Of course, the usual blame game, the Yoruba are the cause!
One should not be surprised that Okezie is likely to see the Nigerian politics differently. He grew up in an environment where the common refrain is “the Yorubas are the enemies of Igbo people” or “the Yoruba leader, Chief Awolowo led the Igbo to Civil War and abandoned them”. Okezie is therefore likely to see the end of the War differently from other Nigerians of his generation who did not have his experience of his age. That is how it should be. He should allow other points of view to be aired. They may not agree with his; such views are protected in a democracy.
I was in the Graduate School in the US when the Biafran troops invaded the Midwestern Region. My people in the old Midwestern Region told me of how they suffered from Dim Ojukwu’s intervention and the planting of Major Okonkwo as the Ruler of his new enclave. We all have different memories; but how the GOC of Third Marine Div. took the leaders of the Biafrian army and Republic to Lagos to sign the surrender is still part of Nigerian history and the role of General Obasanjo, the GOC is something that one could not wish away. That is part of our history. That is the way the history of other events occurred. It is therefore NOT my position to respond to the observation of Okezie and others who were not happy with the role of Obasanjo in the past. This is their right; if Buhari meets their fancies, they are free to endorse him. They are free to reject Obasanjo. I will not question their motive that they are in search of employment. What kind of employment will I be looking for today in Nigeria at my age?
No one can force me to accept what is coming out of the southeast as credible candidates in the April election. This is partly because I do not believe in what could be called an ethnic President and partly because there is no Igbo of stature after Dr. Azikiwe in Igboland since 1983 to warrant such support.
If Dr. Azikiwe were alive he would support Obasanjo as he did to Chief MKO Abiola. I still recall the telephone call Chief MKO Abiola made to me in London on my sick bed from Lincoln University on May 1, 1994 when Abiola accompanied Zik to receive his Honorary Degree. All that took place when the leaders of the so-called Ohaneze were engaged in their anti-Yoruba cum anti-Abiola scheme in Nigeria. Let me repeat, an Igbo stood a chance of being a President of Nigeria under the two party system by 2001 but for the annulment of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election.
IGBO PRESIDENCY PROJECT UNDER MULTIPLE IGBO CANDIDATES IS DOOMED
At the moment, there are 7 Igbo candidates out of the 17 candidates for the April election. They are Dim Emeka Ojukwu, Ike Nwachukwu, Jim Nwobodo, Arthur Nwankwo, and G. Nnaji. Olereke, Ezemo Ndu, that one could identify as Igbo candidates.
There are others Igbo whose ambition was frustrated and who have not given their support to any other candidates. I am referring to the followers of Dr. Alex Ekwueme of the PDP who is still challenging the nomination of Obasanjo and the followers of John Nwodo and others whose ambition was cut short in the ANPP by the clique that sponsored the emergence of Buhari. I am not aware that any of these aspirants have endorsed any of the three front-line candidates so far.
I have nothing against the persons of the candidates from the southeast. The Igbo leaders failed to persuade the candidates to sort things out among themselves and agree on what they call a consensus candidate. Even within the ANPP, the Igbo aspirants could not agree on a consensus aspirant.
Of the 7 candidates, only three are worth commenting on. They are Dim Ojukwu, Nwachukwu and Nwobodo, because they have appreciable support from the Guardian Poll of between 3% and 6%. According to this Guardian Poll, the remaining Igbo candidates cannot muster up to 1% preference vote in the nation-wide poll. Let me take them one by one.
General Ike Nwachukwu: He is a close friend of mine with whom I dealt with some issues in the “Nigerian Project” in the past. We both worked on a political plan for General Muhammed Buhari in 1984 when it became obvious that that administration was visionless with respect to a plan of democratic transition. I am referring to the Committee on Direction established by the Alumni Association of the National Institute. (AANI) We both had dialogue on this matter with General Buhari with his Deputy, General Tunde Idiagbon. This was when he was the Head of State on the need for a New Direction” and other matters. In keeping with the tradition of the National Institute of non-attribution, I will not say more.
I only just brought this in to educate some of the Igbo commentators that I am not an enemy of Igbo leaders. But I am not happy that Ike’s entry into the race would mean an endorsement of the anti-Obasanjo clique which indirectly means working for General Buhari that both of us considered visionless in 1984.
Chief Jim Nwobodo: Our relationship dates back to early 1960s at the University of Ibadan. This was the basis why I facilitated his entry into the leadership of the Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP) in 1978. This was why and how I took steps to facilitate his take over of the leadership of that party in Anambra State. One recalls how this was done to the annoyance of the key leaders of the party such Chief Mbazuilike Amechi, the “boy is good”. I helped Jim Nwobodo combat the anti-Azikiwe elements in Igbo land in 1979-83. What I did would be of interest to those who try to paint me with the anti-Igbo brush that my records are to the contrary.
I helped Jim to set up a newspaper in the Enugu that was committed to putting across to the country the Igbo view point in Nigeria. One would recall that one wrote a column “Every Wednesday with Omo Omoruyi”, which was directed to checkmating the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), Dr. Alex Ekwueme and the Ohaneze. Later my column dealt with the menace of Dim Emeka Ojukwu when he returned from exile and joined forces with the NPN to undermine the NPP leadership and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe in Igboland. Our personal relationship was strained when we had some political differences about how to move the party forward in the then Bendel State. This would be left to my account in a book forthcoming.
But our political disagreement (Jim and I) did not mean I was happy with what happened to him under General Buhari in 1984. In many circles I rose to his defense during this period and did everything to ease his pains during the period he was incarceration. He is still a friend today even though I personally disagree with his political style. His role in post annulment politics, especially in the politics of Interim National Government and his support for the self-succession of General Sani Abacha made me sick in the stomach.
Those who were upset with his opposition to Dr. Ekwueme in 1999 did not know what was behind his action as dating back to the politics of Anambra State during the Second Republic. This is still at the root of why Jim would never step down for Ojukwu and would never support Ojukwu. If one recalls what Ojukwu did to Jim Nwobodo and his ambition in Anambra State how would anybody expect Jim to support Dim Ojukwu today? If Zikists remember what he did to the exalted nationalist that had ever come out of Igboland, Dr. Azikiwe, which I can document, there is no way that a true Zikists would today support the political ambition of Ojukwu.
A confession will be in order here. I recall how the NPP frustrated Dim Ojukwu in a local race in 1983. Would the Ziks followers act differently today? I have my doubt.
It is true that “politics makes strange bed-fellows”. Otherwise, how could one explain that Jim Nwobodo’s entry into the race even though localized and anti-Obasanjo could be interpreted as an indirect endorsement of General Buhari who violated his right to human dignity in 1984? Those who are pressurizing him to step down for Ojukwu this year did not also understand the “politics of the Second Republic”.
Dim Emeka Ojukwu: I had never had any dealing with him. I can only refer to the distinction made by Chief MCK Ajuluchukwu between a “wartime leader” and a “peacetime/political leader”. He called Chief Ojukwu a “wartime leader” and not a “peacetime/political leader”. One could push the distinction further by saying that Dr. Azikiwe and Dr. Okpara were peacetime leaders.
Dim Ojukwu’s plan to assume the title of EzeIgbo (King of Igbos) with his King’s Palace at Enugu was highly disputed to the extent that some Igbo leaders threatened to use the court to restrain him. What has changed today? No Igbo leader has raised with him why he would not behave like the other traditional rulers in the north and south that would not participate in partisan politics?
This is the situation today that a wartime leader who calls himself a traditional ruler that led his people to commit suicide from which they had not recovered since 1970. Today, under the banner of APGA, Chief Ojukwu is again wanting to lead the same people still suffering from the first adventure to commit suicide a second time within a generation.
I observed with dismay the tone of Dim Ojukwu’s campaign calling on Igbos world-wide to vote for him. May I out of concern for my friends in Igboland who I worked with in the NPP advice the Igbo people to reject Chief Ojukwu’s campaign for a total commitment of the Igbo people to him during this election. It is an affront on such candidates as Chief Jim Nwobodo and General Ike Nwchukwu.
Dim Ojukwu’s campaign rhetoric is against the law, which forbids the use of ethnicity or religion to canvass for votes. What is the difference between the campaign of Buhari for Muslims to vote for the one who would defend the faith and the campaign of Dim Ojukwu that Igbos in the country should commit their political future to him with their votes?
More seriously Dim Ojukwu’s appeal to Igbo to give him their votes is an invitation to the Igbo people to commit what I’ll call “ethnic suicide”. What does he want to do with the votes? Is this a blank check?
APGA IS NOT AD
Some Igbo theoreticians even compare what would happen to the Igbo in 2003 to what the AD did in the Yorubaland in 1999-2003. They forgot to recognize the fact that a Yoruba person is also in control of the Federal Government. The same Yoruba person elected in 1999 without the support of the AD would be reelected in April 2003 with the support of the AD. This is where the proponents of the new Igbo agenda through the APGA would find the Igbo outside the political mainstream if they go with Dim Ojukwu. What should be obvious to them is that this would happening to the Igbo at the time when the Yoruba would be in the political mainstream.
The founders of APGA ought to have appreciated that the AD was founded as a political contrivance and not as a permanent state of affairs. It was obvious that the Yoruba leaders could not get the endorsement of a Yoruba President through what they found in the PDP. It was obvious that they could not see how the Yoruba Permanent Interest could be served in a political environment dominated by the anti-Yoruba and anti-Abiola zealots such as was in the two parties then. The current leaders of the Ohaneze made up these two categories that the founders of AD ran away from in 1998. The AD leaders are making it into the same PDP at the same time when the anti-Yoruba elements in Igboland are transferring their hatred of Yoruba to Obasanjo as if he is the personification of the Yoruba and moving out of the PDP.
My advice to the AD leaders at the Fundraising Dinner on March 31, 2003 under the auspices of the Integrated Supporters for Obasanjo (ISO) is that the Yoruba leaders in the AD should consolidate this new relationship between the PDP Obasanjo and AD and come up with a new PDP. I cited the fusion of the Yar’Adua Peoples Front of Nigeria (PFN) with the Awo’s Peoples Solidarity Party (PSP) that gave birth to the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
May I call the attention of the Igbo leaders to what would likely happen to the Igboland after the April 2003 election? Assume Ojukwu’s party took control of the five Igbo States what would be for the Igbo people? They would have no link with the Center. How would the Igbo survive? Would the crisis of marginalization not be compounded for the Igbo, especially when the Yoruba and the Hausa are in? This is what I would have expected some leaders of the Igbo people urging him to run on out of desperation to appreciate. The Igbo leaders should have appreciated that the Igbo votes cannot make Ojukwu the new occupier of Aso Rock in May 2003, but rather further marginalized the Igbo.
I wonder how many Igbo political theoreticians appreciate that the provision of the “geographical spread” in the Constitution is against the Igbo for Igbo campaign.
Let me ask 12 pertinent questions of the Igbo supporters of Dim Ojukwu for president.
1. Do the Igbo leaders know and appreciate that APGA now for the Igbo Presidency is too late in the day?
2. Do the promoters of Igbo Presidency through the APGA know that the Igbo only have five States that they could claim out of the 36 States in the federation?
3. Do they know that the minimum of 2/3 of the 36 States would be required in accordance with the “geographical spread”?
4. Do they know that Dim Ojukwu might be the most popular person in Igboland but certainly he is not so in the remaining part of Nigeria to give him the required 2/3 of the States in the federation?
5. Do they know that Dim Ojukwu’s positive among the Igbo would be less than his negatives in other part of Nigeria?
6. Do they know that the Igbo States are under the control of the PDP with PDP sitting Governors and legislators?
7. Do they know that these PDP Governors of the States in the southeast are also seeking reelection on the same ticket with the PDP President?
8. Do they know that the challengers to the PDP are not financially endowed compared with the PDP?
9. Do they know that the case for Igbo Presidency has not been made to the satisfaction of other Nigerians?
10. Do they have an IOU to draw on from the way they acted in the immediate past?
11. Do they know and appreciate that the Presidency cannot be allocated to any ethnic group on the basis of rotation or zoning or power shift?
12. Do they know and appreciate that that position and other positions would only go to an area as a function of the inter-play of democratic forces?
These are the critical questions that should have been faced by the planners of the Igbo Presidency Project. They should have appreciated that outside the two main political parties (PDP and ANPP), which they were part-founders; the prospect of an Igbo Presidency emerging is bleak.
IS OJUKWU’S “HIDDEN AGENDA” THE IGBO AGENDA?
What has become obvious is the “hidden agenda” of Dim Ojukwu. Under this agenda, a VOTE for Ojukwu is not just a vote against Obasanjo but it is a VOTE for Buhari. I dealt with this relationship in other essays. The hidden agenda is implicit in this relationship that a VOTE FOR OJUKWU would deny Obasanjo victory in the first ballot. During the second ballot he, Ojukwu as the Eze Igbo (King of the Igbo) would call on his children as he calls the Igbo people to VOTE FOR BUHARI. This would appear to be the fall back option of the Ohaneze Ndi Igbo.
THE IGBO AS A GLORIFIED MINORITY IN 1977
I saw what a divided ethnic nationality could lose when I managed many factions of the Igbo members of the Constituent Assembly at the formative stages of the Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP). The faction of the Igbo leadership that later rallied round Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe became part of the leadership of the NPP and nominated Dr. Azikiwe as its Presidential candidate in December 1978.
I still recall that an Igbo candidate after what the Midwest went through during the Civil War was against the wishes of my people. But I worked for the aspiration of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Owelle of Onitsha, and an Igbo icon in 1979 because I believed in what he said he was fighting for in Nigeria at that time. He impressed on some of us in the minority caucus and we believed him that he was in the race to promote justice, which we in the minority caucus were fighting for in 1977.
What I learnt during this period was that the Igbo as a political force were not superior to the political force of the minority caucus. This was why one of the gifted Igbo political organizers and tacticians, Chief RBK Okafor had to call himself “the leader of the southern minority”. Did his fellow Igbo know the origin of this term?
Chief Okafor knew that the Igbo after the War had no basis to compete with the other two majority ethnic nationalities (Yoruba and Hausa) in politics. The relative powerlessness of the Igbo compared with the other majority ethnic nationalities was too obvious in the Constituent Assembly. This was obvious in the post Assembly political arrangement where the States were the units of representation and allocation of political posts. The Igbo had two states (Anambra and Imo) compared with over five each for the Yoruba and the Hausa
One would also ask why the minority caucus endorsed the emergence and ambition of Dr. Azikiwe in 1978. The leadership of the minority caucus bought Dr. Azikiwe’s argument that he was in the race because he as another “glorified minority”, like the southern minority groups had never ruled Nigeria for one day.
What is critical to this essay is that at no point did Dr. Azikiwe say he was in the race because he was a candidate of the Ndi Igbo. At no time did the sage of Nigerian politics utter any word that could remotely be construed as motivated by a desire to take the Igbo back to Nigeria.
All these issues that form the campaign rhetoric of Dim Ojukwu were never raised in all the strategy meetings in Igboland at Nsukka and Onitsha and outside the Igboland in Lagos, Jos and Benin. The Igbo Presidency was not an issue. The thought that an Igbo Presidency was contrived as a means of taking the Igbo back to Nigeria was ludicrous. Zik could not be part of this.
DIVISION OF IGBO INTO FOUR CAMPS AFTER THE CIVIL WAR
I was exposed to the division within the Igboland after the Civil War which is still with the Ndi Igbo till today. The Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP) that was founded by the minority-dominated caucus was a victim of this division.
One recalls how the political fortune of Dr. Azikiwe was held hostage by the Igbo moneymen and the Igbo traditional political heavyweights in Igboland.
One recalls how the former political followers of Dr.Azikiwe in Igboland deserted the old man and went to the National Party of Nigeria (NPN).
One recalls how these former leaders of the NPN trooped into the National Republican Convention (NRC) in the third Republic.
One recalls how the leaders of the NRC supported the annulment and its sustenance.
One recalls how the former leaders of the NRC openly campaigned for the self-succession of General Abacha in 1998.
One recalls how the same leaders of the Ohaneze were also the legal advisers to the military in its anti-Yoruba and anti-Abiola policies.
OHANEZE FOUNDED BY ANTI-ZIKISTS IN IGBO LAND
One recalls how some Igbo leaders turned against Zik, especially when he refused to lead them to the second-class role in the National Movement that later became the National Party of Nigeria (NPN). It was during this period that one started hearing of the Ohaneze Ndi Igbo in 1979.
One recalls that the Ohaneze was organized around the Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme who the organizers were propping up as the new Igbo leader in place of Dr. Azikiwe.
One recalls that the organizers of Ohaneze did not like how Dr. Azikiwe jettisoned the NPN and joined the NPP. They did not like how Dr. Azikiwe was supporting Chief Jim Nwobodo against Dr. Ekwueme in Anambra.
I recall how and when the same force that founded the anti-Zik Ohaneze Ndi Igbo lobbied for the return home from exile of the leader of Biafra State, Dim Emeka Ojukwu.
I recall how the NPP also went to Ivory Coast to try and failed to persuade Dim Ojukwu not to get involved in partisan politics.
What I noticed as a non-Igbo NPP functionary was that while the NPP founders succeeded in getting Dr. Azikiwe to their side, the founders of the NPN got Dim Ojukwu to their side.
I also noticed that the founders of the NPN and the Ohaneze Ndi Igbo could not succeed in reconciling the Vice President with the preeminent position of the leader of the Biafra State. Never for one day did Dim Ojukwu accept the leadership of Dr. Ekwueme even as the Vice President of Nigeria who just happened to be an Igbo man. Has the situation changed today? How do all these political leaders and presidential candidates accept Dim Ojukwu as the Eze Igbo (King of Igbo)?
This was how the three-sided divisions commenced in Igboland. The three divisions were organized around Dr. Azikiwe, Dr. Alex Ekwueme and Dim Emeka Ojukwu with their followers in Igboland during the Second Republic.
I also recall how successive northern led military governments created new leaders in Igboland that now see Nigeria from the northern point of view. This class of Igbo elite frown at the prospect of an Igbo Presidency Project that is outside the northern agenda. These were contractors, commissioned agents and political appointees. These new rich Igbo men and women include those who are in Diaspora as citizens that grew out of the Civil War and its aftermath.
This is the basis of a new class of moneymen in Igboland who poses challenge to the preexisting followers of Dr. Azikiwe, Dr. Ekwueme and Dim Ojukwu. This could be called the fourth group in Igboland. But it is unorganized.
The various aspirants to the office of President in the past and in 2003 are products of this division in Igboland. There is the dire need for internal discussion within the Igbo elite and evolve an Igbo Agenda in Nigeria.
IGBO COMMENTATORS SHOULD SEE MY POINT OF VIEW, NOT FROM HATE
All those who had commented on my classification of the presidential candidates did not see the point I was making. I simply said that Nigerians should not waste their votes on those who either want to have their names recorded in the record book as former presidential candidates or on those who simply want to orchestrate a stalemate in 2003 on the anti-Obasanjo platform. It is unfortunate that the commentators accused me of harboring an anti-Igbo feeling. I had since addressed the issues raised by the commentators in parts 1 and 11 of this three-part essay; The Ndi Igbo Question in Nigerian Politics is Real already in circulation. This third part of the essay is the end of the essay.
I only made observations from what I know with the hope that the Igbo political leaders and theoreticians will think a little. Instead of doing this, it would appear that they just like to look for who is an enemy of the Ndi Igbo or a friend of the Ndi Igbo. I am neither as that is beside the point. I am just an Edo-Nigerian.
I shall from now on focus on the forthcoming election. I hope I am proved wrong and the politics of marginalization will end with the 100% Igbo Vote for Dim Ojukwu, so he told the Igbo. What an appeal to a collective suicide!
This time, it will not be in the hands of the Yoruba who would gradually take over the PDP where the Igbo left it to form an Igbo party, APGA.
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.