New Articles

Submit Articles

About Us


Politics & Govt





By Emmanuel Ighodalo
 Published October 16th, 2008

The major cry of all ethnic nationalities in the country today is marginalization. According to reports, they all feel shortchanged by the central government of the basic amenities of life. The most stringent of these cries is the one coming from the Igbo-speaking people of the South Eastern part of the country. Crisscrossing the country through land will throw up a scenario that tends to allude to the fact that the South East is worst hit by the plethora of decaying or lack of basic infrastructures especially bad roads. One pertinent question being asked by students of history and followers of the Nigerian problem is: How did the Ibos come to this dismal state that has seen their region become the least developed of the three original regions that metamorphosed from an amalgamated Northern and Southern Protectorate?
In the beginning, the Igbo nation held sway as the numero uno among all other ethnic groups in post-colonial Nigeria. They controlled the politics, military, other strategic federal organs and the economy of the nation. What they have however failed to grab is the cohesive force to anoint a de facto leader that the entire Igbo nation will look unto as a unifier. A cursory peep into history will reveal that from the days of the great Zik of Africa to present day, where Maurice Iwu remains the most highly placed and influential Nigerian of Igbo extraction, the Igbo people have repeatedly offered their leaders to other ethnic groups as sacrificial lambs. The great Nnamdi Azikiwe bestrode the political firmament of the African continent as a shining star, widely celebrated on the continent and beyond but hardly recognized as a hero among his kinsmen from the South east.  The records are there that the Igbo never embraced Zik the way the Yoruba and Hausa/Fulani embraced their sons- Obafemi Awolowo and Ahmadu Bello.
The emergence of Chukwuemeka Odumegu Ojukwu, in the annals of the Igbo polity marked the end of a semblance of a unifier for the Igbo race. After the bloody war of 1967-1970 which he led unsuccessfully, the problem of the race was further heightened. The Igbos became like a sheep without shepherd. The Nigerian state did not help issues as it saw to it that a man of Igbo extraction never rose to political prominence in the country. However, in the political calculation of the country, the Igbo nation can not be ignored, due basically to their numerical strength that sees them as one of the three largest ethnic groups in the country. This is besides their sense of industry and courage. When Ojukwu wanted to test his popularity among his “new found friends from the North” and sought to go to the Senate, he was unequivocally told a big “NO” by “his own people” who threw up a rather unknown Igboman, Onwudiwe, who defeated the great Ikemba squarely. The same man Onwudiwe has since remained in political oblivion after that much celebrated and well orchestrated “feat”.

During the last Republic, the Igbo demonstrated their penchant for divisiveness as they produced five Senate Presidents in eight years. They have fought dirty, trying to see how they can paint their fellow Igboman as bad and not capable of occupying the exulted position, not realizing that it made the whole Igbo nation to look bad before other Nigerians. As it stands, they have been schemed out in the political equation in the country. They do not occupy the first four positions in the land. The highest man of political relevance among the Igbo presently is Professor Maurice Iwu, (though some persons might wish to disagree) the incumbent Chairman of the INEC.

I am not an Igbo, but both friends and foes know me as somebody that will never stand truth on its head but would rather prefer to state it the way it is. The INEC boss remains the first man in the country to have successfully conducted elections that heralded the transition from one civilian government to another.  Some Nigerians have cried foul about the elections the erudite scholar presided over in April 2007, describing it as marred by irregularities. The man at different fora has made it known that the problems of elections in Nigeria have nothing to do with the system but with the politicians who do everything in their powers to win elections at all costs. He once likened the 2007 elections to an aircraft that had a turbulent takeoff but had a successful landing.
It is most unfortunate that this celebrated Igbo receives the hardest knocks from people of his Igbo extraction. Only recently, a group of persons from Iwu’s native Imo state sponsored anti-Iwu articles and paid advertorials on the laudable constituency delineation exercise presently been carried out by the Iwu-led INEC. These set of people, who are bent on removing Iwu from office, refuse to recognize that the delineation exercise, a constitutional role of INEC is coming two years behind schedule. While majority of Nigerians have applauded INEC for embarking on this project, his people from the South-East are most vociferous in their condemnation of Iwu and INEC. The import of the delineation exercise is that, it affords every federal constituency in the federation an opportunity to have almost the same number of people for equal representation.
That Prof. Maurice Iwu is today the most highly connected Igbo in the land is stating the obvious. He has the ears of the President. This fact can not be far from the fact that INEC represents a veritable organ for the sustenance of an enduring democracy in the land and every stakeholder must jealously monitor the activities of such an important organ especially the president himself been the custodian of the mandate of the people. But Iwu’s fellow Igbos refuse to see beyond their noses, that with the influence Iwu wields and the delineation exercise he is presently overseeing, the man can leverage on his national connections to ensure that the additional state been craved by the Igbo becomes a reality in the near term. After all, he can use his goodwill among members of the National/State Assemblies to do things in favour of his Igbo people.

The Igbo are a people, noted generally for their wisdom and according to that popular saying—“Wisdom is that thing that enables us to know what to do with knowledge”. They need to rally round Iwu, since he is in the good books of powers that be. Igbos should take a cue from other ethnic groups in the country who readily come to the defense of their leaders when other parts of the country ask for their heads.

“A leader is one who has the courage to dream, the ability to organize and the strength to execute the action necessary. A leader is simply one who knows where he/she wants to go, gets up and goes.” Maurice Iwu has shown that he has the courage, which earned him the secret admiration of many Nigerians. This is Iwu’s time; but it seems his fellow Igbos don’t know it yet.

Emmanuel Ighodalo writes from Abuja


Join Nigerian Social Network, Make Friends, Share Your Views!

Copyright © 2008 All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | User Agreement | Contact Us | Sitemap | Link to Us | Link Directory