Nseobong Okon-Ekong regrets that a track record of performance in office does not matter in Nigeria, otherwise, Mr. Peter Obi, former Governor of Anambra State and former Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party would be a beautiful bride, strongly desired to replicate what he did in Anambra on a national scale
While some Nigerians think it is preposterous to have a mutual agreement that can ensure an unimpeded handover of the Nigerian presidency to an Igbo man or woman in 2023, the din of voices calling for a president of South-east extraction keeps growing louder like deafening chatter from the ever boisterous Onitsha Market.
For the cheerleaders of Igbo Presidency, the rest of Nigeria, particularly Northern Nigeria is unjustifiably filled with funk about what the Igbo man can do with power. The longstanding conspiracy against the Igbos is that they will split Nigeria, despite the fact that Igbos fought a 30-month war to own a country called Biafra, they lost. But Igbos are not the only Nigerian ethnic group to take up arms against the federation. Major Isaac Adaka Boro did. He declared a Niger Delta Republic which lasted for 12 days in the 1960s.
By some measure, the Bolo Haram insurgents are, as well, secessionist as they have boldly declared war against Nigeria in a bloody pursuit of their avowed ultimate goal of an Islamic Republic.
Lately, ethnic separatism has become a pastime. The ambition of many youths to lord it over a kingdom of sorts have been fired by the quick rise to fame of Gani Adams, the sturdy carpenter from Mushin who became generalissimo of the Yoruba nation.
So, Igbos are not the first and may not be the last Nigerian ethnic group to seek self determination. That being the case, what, exactly is the offence of the Igbo man against Nigeria, apart from the botched attempt to create Biafra? Why is the rest of Nigeria so scared of an Igbo in the political saddle of Nigeria? It certainly is not about being President of Nigeria. Or is it? Are the Hausa/Fulanis afraid of the enthronement of the kind of nepotism foisted on Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari? Are there other reasons for the conspiracy to keep Igbos away from the Nigerian presidency? For some of these reasons, which are not clear, there is a need to continue to push lies about the Igbo presidency. It is not as if an Igbo man can also be the Vice President while his kinsman is President. We are not talking about Ohaneze Ndigbo here. No! An Igbo can’t be Senate President or Speaker of the House of Representatives. They have been all of these at different times. It is the Office of the Executive President of Nigeria that has eluded them, so far.
Igbos of Nnamdi Kanu’s generation are all hot-headed and willing to shoot from the hip. But what an elder sees from his seat, a youth may not see even if he climbs the tallest palm tree. Now, Kanu’s Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has stampeded Ralph Uwazuruike’s Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) into the background, blackmailing him to merge with IPOB under curious circumstances. Kanu has browbeaten everybody. His boys force people to stay at home in the South-east, whenever they chose. Any elder who does not worship at the feet of Kanu is deemed a traitor of the Igbo cause. Kanu may not know that everything is for a time and a season. The transient authority he commands today is coveted by some of his boys, who will push him aside one day, when they find the nerve.
Kanu and his boys did not see the bodies of Igbos killed in the pogrom in the North arrive the railway station in Enugu. Kanu and his boys do no know that people committed suicide in Igboland, the day the then Col. Olusegun Obasanjo received the instrument of surrender from ‘Gen.’ Phillip Effiong. Kanu and his boys care nothing about the humongous casualties and losses their method of agitation for Biafra may incur.
To keep their head above the stormy waters of the Biafran struggle, Igbo elders have learnt to be circumspect on matters concerning Kanu. They have been cowed to walk with their tail between their legs, lest Kanu’s boys destroy their country homes and declare them persona non grata in their ancestral home.
The IPOB generation know nothing about the resilience of the Igbo spirit, that rose like the phoenix from the ashes of defeat after the civil war to build a personal and regional fortune in less than three years! From a mere 20 Pounds that each Igbo man was given to start a new life in 1970, the East Central State won the Gold Gong in the National Arts Festival of 1973; Chief Augustine Ilodibe, owner of Ekene Dili Chukwu Transport and Chief Onwuka Kalu had bounced back into reckoning as multi-millionaires!
Since then Igbos have been irrepressible! They came back from the war, subjugated, depleted and systematically engineered to remain under, but they fought back tooth and nail for their rightful place in commerce, in industry, in the civil service, in education. Nine years after the war, an Igbo man, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, was elected Vice President. A couple of years after, the leader of the Biafran secession, Chief Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu was pardoned and returned to the country. He even sought political office on the platform of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN).
Alhaji Aliko Dangote may be acknowledged as the wealthiest African, but there are many boys in their early or late 30s from Anambra State who are not on the stock exchange, but can buy out Dangote. That is what the Caliphate and their apologists in the South are afraid of-an Igbo man with the combined control of business and politics.
And they find collaborators in some, not-so-smart Igbo men who like Esau prefer to sell their birthright for a meal of Jacob’s porridge. If we were in a country were a sparkling track record of performance in office mattered, Mr. Peter Obi, former Governor of Anambra State and former Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will be a beautiful bride, strongly desired to replicate what he did in Anambra on a national scale. But that, as Americans say, ain’t happening!
The first predictable reason is that Igbos are a greedy lot. Zone the presidency to the South-east and all manners of cockroaches will creep out of their dark crevices to be crowned King of Nigeria! None of them will be willing to get out of the way. While they are at their best cut-throat fight, a wild card entrant will slip through their porous ranks and lift the crown. There are the Governor Hope Uzodinma types who betray the collective good for personal gain.
The Nigerian political class does not like intelligent people. They put their nose in the air when a suave, urbane and educated contestant appears on the scene. How does Peter Obi hope to win among a people who hate deductical analysis? Obi cannot be trusted to join in the heisting of the commonwealth. What manner of politician leaves the kind of money he left in the coffers of Anambra State-USD86 billion and N9 billion in liquid cash! Obi can be President in Mars or another planet, certainly not in Nigeria. He will ruin the party for the political rogues. Who wants a killjoy?
Once upon a time, Obi had the best chance to strengthen his political hold with the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA); the party that gave him the platform to govern Anambra. Instead of consolidating the South-east like Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu did with the South-west; using ACN, he turned his back on APGA and became President Jonathan’s campaign manager in the South-east. It was a tactical error for a long distance runner in politics. He is still struggling to explain himself to a people who saw APGA ‘as their own.’
Another cardinal sin that will keep Peter Obi out of Aso Rock Villa is that he is a one woman man. How does he manage all the pretty angels who are on his case with Kaya Mata? If he can’t keep a harem of women from all Nigerian ethnic groups like his political associate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar or former President Olusegun Obasanjo, he can, at least, be as discreet as former President Goodluck Jonathan. But Obi is the one-woman and church going type. That is not good for his reputation in Nigerian politics.
Has anyone seen Peter Obi laugh? I mean real laughter from his soul; enjoying a good joke? He is too seriously engaged with the business of how Nigeria can get out of the woods. He doesn’t know how to make light of things like Obasanjo or put his legs up on a stool, poking his teeth with sticks like President Muhammadu Buhari, while the country burns. He has no sense of humour, even if its morbid.
Obi goes to political rallies to talk germane issues of nation building. Who does that? Political campaign rallies in Nigeria are colourful shows to sing, dance and abuse opponents; that’s all.
The Nigerian political class want a president who is on their leech like a suspended dog; someone with a baggage of corruption they can pull back when he barking too hard. But Obi is as clean as a whistle; or so it seems. He is not known to ever be on a spending bazaar; so who is going to queue behind him, when free spenders are out to buy votes?