Life is a series of countdowns. Just at the time you are through with one, another emerges, perhaps against your will. So countdowns are as common to the living as quiet is to the dead. Thus man is forever condemned to be looking up and counting down.
We shall track a few countdowns. One of the most immediate is the Anambra State gubernatorial election. Some while ago, I was consulted on the likely outcome of the election. And for me then and now it remains a given. It is Willie Obiano. The points are as follows. Obiano, as incumbent, has to lose the election to be beaten, for the opposition to win.
More importantly, there is a fact often discounted by amateur observers. The fact is that politics, despite the highflying words bandied about her, is a trade. So politicians, one and all, are tradesmen and, like all tradesmen, the majority of them gravitate to where the market is most profitable for them. This explains why you have more bricklayers in Lawanson area, Lagos, than in the whole of Imo State, say. That explains why you have more Pentecostal churches in Festac Town than there are Enugu State, perhaps. Those guys, the founder-pastors, are, whatever else they are, tradesmen. They are retailing hopes and psalms.
If this is understood then it can be taken as a no-brainer that the average politician in Anambra, whatever his party, roots for Obiano. Okay let us repeat. Obiano is the popular choice of nearly all political operators in Anambra today, whatever their parties.
The details are as follows: Obiano is bidding to do his second and terminal term. And the logic of three zones rotation in Anambra is that, after Obiano, the gubernatorial futures will move to any of the other two zones. That is, the average politician from any of the two contender zones knows that his best bet is, 1. To allow Obiano run through his terminal term. If he did, the two zones would have a fighting chance of leading Anambra as governor. 2. Being governor is the only game in the jungle. It is priceless. 3. If any of the other major contender-candidates who are all from the north wins, then political “contingency” demands that he runs for his full share of two terms. That is, the north will run a total of 12 years continuum. 4. After 12 years, many who are now in their prime will be too old to be electable. And to worsen their lot or luck, new and perhaps more aggressive contenders will emerge from their zones. And the battle will be too bloody for aged and menopausal politicians to stand their ground.
So, they all know that Obiano is ironically their best choice. And you will notice that the matter has separated Ekwueme and his godson, Prof. Soludo. At least, Prof. ABC Nwosu has complained to everybody’s hearing, that Ekwueme unexplainably preferred Soludo to him. For Nwosu, why Ekwueme did so is a mystery. After all, to Nwosu, he is as brainy, if not better, than Soludo, and had better political experience, etc. Poor Nwosu, it is all in godfatherism, we speculate.
But as it is now, Ekwueme and his godson have gone apart. Why? Tradesmen’s interests. Soludo has never hidden his ambition to be governor of Anambra State. He has hopped a thousand parties. But all the while he kept his eye on governing Anambra. Soludo is in his late 50s. Given eight more years, against his will, he may be as aged as the oldest elephants in Serengeti. That is, too old even to be alive, politically. So it made sense as a dauphin to drift away from his dominant and protector godfather, to seek out his own turfs.
Meanwhile, Ekwueme, an old warhorse, took up some insurance in the matter. He had his daughter planted as deputy-gubernatorial candidate in a contender party. That makes her one of the persons to be ‘compensated’ post-failures at the polls. These things happen. We have been long at the game. Playing the losing game is a sort of back-up quotation a la tradesmen. If A fails then we do B.
So politics as tradesmen’s game dictates that Obiano is retained. And he will. Ahiazuwa.
And the countdown never finishes. This Saturday, November 11, at the Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos, the Lagos Book and Arts Festival (LABAF), will host your correspondent. The time is 1.30pm. The agendum is my new book, “Nigeria: The Unreported Genocide Against the Igbo; The Murtala Mohammed-Olusegun Obasanjo Diktat,” published by The Stone Press, 2017.
It is going to be a book session as never before. And when it is about books and ideas, all the world is specially invited. Be there.
To give you a taste of the book here is a review. It is by Barrister Jude Nwakanma.
Nigeria in genocide studies
One of the joys of discovering some new knowledge is that sense of liberation, of knowing that which has in fact set him free.
Renaissance man, Dr. Jimanze Ego-Alowes’ insightful new book “Nigeria : The Unreported Genocide Against the Igbo,” has torn to shreds the shroud that covered the inner recesses of the temple and all that were hidden are now known.
As the Biafran conundrum rages, ancient and new animosities against the Igbo are catalogued, Ego-Alowes, with a stroke of genius, exposed the best kept secret act of annihilation against the Igbo – not in the battlefield, but through a systematic and programmed eco-cultural violence, with a devastating un-abating consequence in a manner that establishes genocide.
Article II and III of the 1948 Convention on the prevention and punishment of Genocide defines “genocide” as any act “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” Further, the article describes, in accordance with criminal jurisprudence, the two elements, mental and physical/actual that must exist in establishing genocide.
Ego-Alowes, with the sharp, delicate precision of a forensic examiner, established motives, acts and intendment of genocide against the genocidaires, whom he referred to as the 2GMOs.
Two ex-battlefield commanders, united in their hatred against the Igbo, who later became Nigeria’s post-war leaders, devised a most corrosive post-war policy of annihilation against the Igbo through economic stripping by excising the oil rich areas of Igboland from core Igbo states and infusing a retrogressive cultural virus, fundamentally opposed to their values with the intention of institutionalising chaos in Igboland for their ultimate destruction. The result of this virus – traditional rulership as planted in Igboland through the junta’s Commission for Local Government Unification, is self-evident in Igbo-land, in the disruptions, blood feuds and chaos as a result of Ezeship tussles.
While it can be argued by certain unbelievers of this revelation that the writers conclusion of wilful intent to commit genocide by the 2GMOs is conjectural, however, there is unequivocal certainty that the acts of the 2GMOs brought about systematic and effective destruction of the people belonging to the Igbo ethnic group.
Well, the international criminal justice system is not such a nice guy that is very patient and forgiving if you plead ignorance, if it was so Milosovic and Charles Taylor wouldn’t be sitting in their cold, lonely cubicles in some anonymous addresses somewhere in Europe; rather they would have been holding court in some hilltop mansions with full complement, including a presidential library.
Beyond bringing to public knowledge this genocidal act against the Igbo by the 2GMOs (as referred by the writer), this book serves as an advocacy for Igbo to liberate themselves from the retrogressive idea of monarchism just as they rejected its equally un-illustrious predecessors – the warrant chieftaincies.
The writer of this book is neither an anarchist nor alarmist. As a historian and economist, he sees the contradiction and limiting nature of traditional rulership in Igboland. He is mindful of the fact that when the colonials invented their monarchies in Igboland through the warrant chieftaincies, the Igbo distrusted, disdained and dismissed it, why should they then now accept new bronze gods to be created for them through one junta report? For a people whose republican spirit flourished its entrepreneurial exploits, why should they burden themselves with the encumbrance of a village prefect? If others know this and kept quiet, Dr. Jimanze Ego-Alowes chose not to be quiet.
Or how can one explain how a people with a long history of republicanism became subjects and hostages to single individuals in the name of “their Royal Highness”. It is an irreconcilable paradox that while progressive societies in Europe, China, etc., have thrown aboard the iron cloak of monarchism inspired by the egalitarianism and success of the United States of America, the Igbo, born natural republicans, are shackling themselves with it.
For Jimanze, the Igbo must rediscover their republicanism and recalibrate the concept of “OHA”, the organisational structure that knits them together and provides the context in which they flourish and thrive.
No doubt this book is a vicious body punch to the traditional rulership institution in Igboland and will certainly jolt all those whose imaginary “ancient kingdoms” are at risk of crashing; but for the discerning, it defines the future of the Igbo. If Igbo ever wish to compete in this 21st Century, certainly they must raise their own cry of ‘down with the king!’ History will be kind to the author of this book for giving life to this idea.
Besides Dr. Jimanze Ego-Alowes’ radical advocacy to throw overboard the vestigial of warrant chieftaincy in the form of traditional rulership in Igboland being a destructive contaminant planted for genocidal intents by the 2GMOs, he also provided a debatable construction of the Igbo patriarch whom he variously referred to as ESHI/EHI/ERI.