Where the pendulum swings for the Igbo nation has been a burning issue of discourse across the land, as we approach another electoral exercise next year. This issue recently engaged our platform, Nsu Economic Council, NEC, the think tank of Nsu community in Ehime Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State. It comprises the elite of the bustling community and has done so much to reposition the community in its two years of existence under the pragmatic leadership of its initiator and pioneer president, Chief Pascal Egerue, an insurance impresario.
Part of the group’s mandate is to stoke economic and socio-political ideas to sensitise its people on the goings on in the polity and thereby map out strategies that will benefit them. It is not out of place, therefore, that the politics of 2019 has dominated much of NEC’s debate of late.
At the last forum, Okey Williams had noted that the Igbo were not strategic thinkers but hyper critics.
Said he: “One thing I have come to realise about our people is that we are never strategic in thinking and talking. Open social media today the most criticism of government is from the Igbo while other tribes are busy looking for the opportunities inherent in the government to unlock for the interest of their zone. We play politics of brigandage and bear the cross for the development of other regions. Jonathan became president and the Igbo talked to hell in his defence while the North and the West were busy taking advantage. Now Muhammadu Buhari is the president the Igbo feel most wounded while the same West and South-South are busy building their economies.
“We are from Nsu and have someone like Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, who is politically respected and adored across the divides of the nation. He should be our rallying point on issues of concerns to us as Ndi Nsu at this time when the next national cake is about to be shared. We should unite and ask him to go speak for us.
“Honestly, I await the survival of Igbo nation and this can come soon only if we change strategy. Let’s begin to see half glass of water as half full than half empty.”
However, the NEC president disagreed that the Igbo revelled in criticism and lacking in strategic thinking.
According to Chief Egerue: “Certainly, the crop of Igbo that are not strategic thinkers are the Igbo in government. This did not even start today but right from history. The Igbo have been cursed by the most inferior and selfish representation, especially at the executive arm of the government. It is these Igbo in government, who, rather than think of how to locate strategic government assets in the East, take pittance as bribes and look the other way.
“We have produced generation of ministers of aviation and yet we are struggling to have, at least, one international airport. We had Igbo in government when Dr. Basil Ukaegbu was denied the opportunity of owning the first private university in Nigeria. Today, the concept we lampooned is in every village in the South-West. We had the best chance under Goodluck Jonathan with very juicy ministries, yet nothing happened. The Second Niger Bridge is dragging because of our brainless representatives, who would rather dwell and waste time on technical analysis than play the necessary politics.
“We had opportunity to restructure Nigeria at the local government level with the Arthur Mbanefo Commission but at the end of his work, more LGAs were created in the North and the East remained the way it was. Our temperament as Igbo politicians is that as long as we are eating, nobody should make a noise.
“The truth is that apart from social media mute talks, the Igbo are not criticising this government enough. Governor Nasir El Rufai wrote a stinker to this present government, yet he is in power and well seated in Aso Rock than all Igbo politicians combined. Asiwaju BolaTinubu wrote stinkers and is always sending body language missiles, yet the Yoruba are busy gathering everything. No person in the senate has criticised this government more than Shehu Sani and yet his space is left for him. How many of these Igbo politicians even have the courage to speak Igbo? Check the pictures of banters at Federal Executive Council meetings and you will see our people either neck deep in files or meekly seeking for social acceptance.
“Because of the docility, servility and sheer incompetence of our representatives, they will prefer to have a dumb acquiescent Igbo, who will either keep quiet in the face of frustration or clap for them stupidly whether they perform or not.
“That the Igbo are not accorded the respect we deserve today is because our politicians at the corridor of power have sold us cheap. Our politicians used their garrulousness to decimate Ohanaeze Ndigbo and its leadership. They handed Nnamdi Kanu’s head to the government on platter rather than negotiate his soft landing, as the Yoruba would have done.
“So far, our people in government and in the corridors of power at federal and state levels are grossly deficient in strategic thinking. They all walk around as if they have impaired vision and can hardly see the impact of today’s government actions on the Igbo of tomorrow. We need to start thinking right. We need to start bringing out the Jew in us in everything that we do.”
Egerue reasoned that if Igbo presidency is not realisable yet, “we should get back to our mercantile life and use our industriousness to make Igbo land the best investment destination in Africa. This can happen if our elected leaders have this in their consciousness and begin to prioritise their development objectives.
“Important also is that they must create the conducive environment for business. At individual level, let’s begin to move our ideas home and establish one income/job creating venture down home. We surely could get there much earlier than we imagined.”
Chief Egerue’s thesis at Nsu Economic Council couldn’t have summed up the Igbo dilemma better. It is not just about criticising Buhari but having strategic alternatives. If truth must be told, the Igbo have learnt nothing from the debacle of 2015. It is even more stupid to be talking about Igbo president in 2019 when we should be pushing for restructuring. Igbo presidency will yield the same losses of the past.
I believe that the politics of 2019 is a jigsaw puzzle that the Igbo must get right. We have frittered away a lot of viable opportunities in times past when our timid leaders traded off our votes wholesale to Jonathan on gratis.
Whatever must be done should be done expeditiously. The Nwajiuba idea is high flier any day. Even Okigwe South queuing behind its Rep aspirant, Hon. Frank Ibezim, is bankable idea. And, of course, regardless of Rochas Okorocha’s limp endorsements, Imo State must do everything to exorcise his lurking ghost at all levels.
Nationally, yes, a lot of Nigerians agree that Buhari disappointed the nation… So what; what effectual alternatives are they offering apart from being diarrheic in the mouth? Politics is more than that and if things are not done properly, Buhari dey kampe for as long as his opponents remain emotional and continue to grope in the dark.