From Tony Osauzo, Benin A Professor of Microbiology and former Vice-Chancellor of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Prof. Dennis Agbonlahor, has expressed displeasure with the country’s approach to fighting the deadly Lassa fever, describing the method adopted as “annual recurrent budget of death for the poor people in Nigeria.” Delivering the Distinguished Lecture of the University…
As we bid 2012 goodbye, we need to individually reflect on our deeds and what we can do for a better tomorrow, particularly striving for the efficiency in unison with a great sense of internal optimism that will give us hope that tomorrow would usher in palliative and enabling environment for the accomplishment of our individual and collective objectives.
As we reflect on our successes and failures for the 2012, let our failures be a driving force for future success. As a people, Ndi-Igbo cannot afford to be overtaken by their disappointments; the stakes could not be any higher at this period in our history. As a result, we must stay the course; we must have courage and be resilient in the pursuit of our objectives. We will be on the precipice if we vacillate in trepidation. Recently, the strident clamor for the Nigerian presidency of Igbo ethnic extraction seems to reverberate in all corners of Igbo community and other ethnic groups’ domain for varied reasons.
However, I have always wondered if the president of Nigeria of Igbo ethnic extraction is a panacea to Igbo problems. The unremitting Igbo problems in Nigeria and Igbo presidency perennially dominate the discussion whenever two or more Diaspora Igbo converse, but is the Nigerian presidency of Igbo extraction the finish line or is it on the path of the race? As we ponder on the preceding question, it is pertinent to be mindful of the fact that some people have consistently argued that Ndi-Igbo continue to be plagued with selfishness, dishonest leadership, disunity, political miscalculations, marginalization, deplorable roads, political instability, and self-inflicted and identity calamity. Given these facts, there are things we have to do individually and collectively to help assuage our tribulations.
Others argue that the Igbo problems are exacerbated by the external factors and one way to mitigate the problems is through achieving Igbo presidency. Both sides have legitimate points in their argument. In any case, as the country’s need for transformational leadership and the eradication of corruption grows, other members of the tripod bathe in affluence while the Igbo seethe. It is a travesty for people not to realize the inequity in Nigerian body polity.
They have failed to realize that by the year 2015, the north should have ruled Nigeria for 37.5 years, the southwest for 12.5 years, south-south for 5 years, and southeast for about 6 months. Regrettably, it appears that some people have selectively forgotten the preceding facts. Even with this revealing data, some people continue to claim that the Nigerian presidency is zoned to a particular region. No region has an exclusive right to the presidency of Nigeria. In the same token, it is not the birthright of any ethnic group; the Nigerian presidency should not be used to pacify any group or tribe as long as the playing field is leveled for all. Equal opportunity and equal access should be paramount in the process. Anyone interested should work hard to emerge.
In any case, everyone should be reminded that power is never given up voluntarily, especially in the Nigerian body polity; you have to wrestle power away from the “kingmakers”. The Igbo should not wait for the presidency to be handed over to them; they should work assiduously, relentlessly, and prudently to grab power. This exercise must be a coordinated effort by all groups in order to realize the goal. The Igbo cannot allow others to determine their fate, their destiny in Nigeria. We should determine our place in the Nigerian body polity. We may choose to seethe in silence while some Nigerian leaders and others chart our course. In the same vein, it is our responsibility, both individually and corporately, to ensure that the generation after us will not suffer what we’re going through in the present day Nigeria. For posterity, we must not let our guards down for any reason.
We must eschew bitterness, be honest to one another, and account for our stewardship. As we demand change in Nigeria, we must first change ourselves; we must get rid of all those traits that impede our collective success. Yes, the Igbo have no choice other than to be united if they intend to accomplish their goals. As a result, Igbo unity is paramount as we pursue various goals, including the Nigerian presidency of Igbo ethnic extraction. Remember that those in power would not relinquish it voluntarily. Unfortunately, human nature is undeniably insatiable; the people in power will always want more of what they have. It is only through unity of purpose and spirit that the Igbo could muster the courage and force necessary to realize the Nigerian presidency of Igbo extraction.
Thus, those in Nigeria and in the Diaspora must obliterate any divisive spirit in them. It would be magnanimous for each of us to replace chaos with cooperation, lethargy with courage, confrontation with compromise, and most importantly, hatred and bitterness with love and forgiveness. Individually and collectively, we should continue to speak out and fight against marginalization of Igbo ethnic group in Nigeria. Ndi-Igbo should continue to press for equity in federal employment, federal contracts, federal investments, etc. It is our responsibility to ensure that federal presence is adequately felt in the South-East geo-political zone. Ndi-Igbo should continue to impress upon the federal government to increase the “infrastructural” development in “Ala Igbo”.
For instance, the dredging of River Niger should have been a priority of the federal government. In any case, I personally encourage the federal government to speed up the dredging of Oguta Port since the money for the project has been released. While I encourage everyone to support the policies that create enabling environment to our people, I will not hesitate to speak against policies that are detrimental to the well-being of the citizenry.
The recent Board Chairmen appointments seem to be completely unfair; also the discriminatory imbalance in other appointments and infrastructure allocations give rise to worry. The federal government should not only correct the imbalance in its recent appointments, but immediately begin work on the construction of the second Niger Bridge. My people, the Igbo should, at every layer and in all institution of her egalitarian culture, build a mesh of skilled individuals from all walks of life. The interlocking web “Igbo workers/servants” should comprise of strategists, financiers, managers, press, analysts, planners and evaluators, etc working in unison to accomplish the Igbo agenda. Collective Igbo objectives would not be accomplished individually or by any single group.
Rather, they would be accomplished synergistically. As we enter the New Year, we’re faced with challenges and opportunities; we cannot meet our challenges or maximize our opportunities if we dispel the virtue of cooperative effort. If we want to make any headway in Nigeria, the era of Igbo elite leadership should be behind us; in its place should be servant leadership pool. I am optimistic that if we do the basics, our objectives would be realistically attainable.
We have to employ tools that would enable us reach our desired goal. We have to utilize eclectic approach in some critical issues to ensure success. Not only that Ndi-Igbo must be prudent and pragmatic in their approach, but also they must not be distracted no matter what their detractors say. They cannot surrender to fear. According to Thomas A. Edison, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” In any case, dawn of hope and optimism is here and they should not squander the opportunity.