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Wednesday 13 February 2019

The Obi Trap and the Naivety of Igbo Leaders

February 14, 2019

By Nelson Ofokar Yagazie | For Biafra Writers

Ohaneze Ndigbo – the said apex socio-cultural group of the Igbo ethnic group – is today divided over which presidential candidate to be supported during Saturday’s election. A faction of the group led by its president, John Nnia Nwodo, endorsed Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, while the opposing faction led by the embattled Secretary-General, Mr. Uche Okwukwu, pledged loyalty to the Sudanese impostor, Jubril, whom they mistake for late President Muhammadu Buhari. The Okwukwu-led faction is reported to have tendered apology to Buhari (Jubril) for the actions of the other faction who endorsed Atiku.

There has been hot exchange of words between the warring factions, with the governor of Anambra state, Willie Obiano, losing every sense of decorum as he openly addressed John Nnia Nwodo, as an idiot. As if the trading of words is not enough, the police stormed the Ohanaeze meeting and dispersed them at the incitement of the pro-Buhari faction. It must be noted that their Yoruba counterpart, the Afenifere is not divided over the choice of endorsement of the presidential candidates; neither is the far northern group, the Arewa divided over the choice of the candidates. it’s only the Ohanaeze Ndigbo that have allowed shame to befall upon themselves. Funny enough, the two candidates they are viciously fighting dirty for are all Fulanis.

Ironically, while Ohanaeze Ndigbo are exchanging blows over which Fulani man to support, their kinsman, Kingsley Moghalu, is also vying for the same position. What prevents them from drumming his support?

The faction that endorsed Atiku claims they toed that path following the nomination of Peter Obi as his running mate, arguing strongly that it is in the best interest of Ndigbo to support a candidate who chose an Igbo son as his second-in-command. This particular group has made all sorts of statements condemning Mazi Nnamdi Kanu's call for election boycott, claiming the call seeks to undermine the chances of an Igbo man attaining the position of a Vice President. They have as well sponsored a barrage of unemployed youths to be pouring out diatribes against Nnamdi Kanu all over the social media. These unemployed youths, both due to hunger and poor intellect, recently have been on the loose, adulterating cyberspace with tirades and poorly packaged arguments against IPOB's election boycott declaration.

Before moving on, permit me to state categorically here that both parties – the pro-Buhari and the pro-Atiku groups – are not there for the Igbo interest as they would want us to believe; they are there purely for their own selfish gain, each man following the route he believes will lead him as an individual to attain a higher political trajectory or at least guarantee his present office. Nonetheless, for the sake of this discourse, let us pretend to be sold on the decoy waved at our face: the Igbo interest.

The disillusioned pro-Buhari group argues that it is better to queue behind Buhari (Jubril) in wait for 2023 when they hope the Igbo would be given a chance to produce the next president. Clearly, such hopes are in vain not only because such prospect has been waved at them time without number with nothing coming out of it, but also and more glaringly, the Yorubas are waiting for that turn and pitched against the Igbo in the power equation of Nigeria as it is now, the Yoruba will always emerge ahead of the Igbo. The same thing Igbos in the All Progressives Congress, APC, are telling their kinsmen, Yoruba power players are equally telling their people to sway voters’ support. By this I mean: the Igbo APC members tell the Igbos that if they support Buhari this 2019, an Igbo man will be given the presidency come 2023. The Yorubas, on the other hand, preach similarly, convincing their brothers that one of their own will be made president if only they can help enthrone Buhari once again.

The duplicity in this lofty promise undresses self in the question, "if the Igbo, as well as the Yoruba, cast their vote for Buhari (Jubril), who then between the two tribes will produce the president at the expiration of Buhari's tenure in 2023? It thus becomes clear that somebody is deceiving somebody.

Gazing at Nigeria's political chessboard, even the blind can tell there is no hope for the Igbo. The North would always favour the Yoruba over the Igbo any time, any day. There is this political alignment between the Hausa/Fulani and the Yoruba which ensures power-sharing between them and a total eclipse of the Igbo. This pact finds eternal expression in the acronym NAIRA which indirectly means Never Allow Igbos Rule Again.

The unsuspecting Igbo artisans and the poorly educated Igbo youths recruited to attack Mazi Nnamdi Kanu with the single goal of forestalling his efforts to liberate Biafra from Nigeria's grip, are ignorant of the fact that their legal tender, the Naira, is an immortalization of a pact struck to keep them out of Nigeria's juiciest positions.

It was this existing pact that moved the late dictator, Muhammadu Buhari, to subvert Alex Ekwueme's chances of becoming president by orchestrating a coup in Shagari's second tenure at the end of which, Ekwueme would have easily cruised to power. It's also this pact that made IBB and Atiku Abubakar to mobilize all northern delegates against Ekwueme in 1999 and 2003.

Besides, APC is in the firm control of a Yoruba man, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Would he let down his own tribe to lift the Igbo? I don't think it is likely, most especially when it is clear that he is interested in the presidency himself. Where then lays the hope of Igbo APC members?

The pro-Atiku group, oared on by the Peter Obi bait, argue that a candidate that finds it in his heart to consider an Igbo for deputizing role is worthy of their support, reasoning that with an Igbo as a Vice President, the government will surely look their way. Their high hope in Atiku is built on the notion that Obi as the vice will influence him to restructure Nigeria and ensure an inclusive development. Again, let me remind us that these things are smokescreen, their real interest is self.

Viewing through the prism of the current VP, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, let us now look at how effective the position of Vice President is. Yemi Osibanjo, a professor, pastor, an attorney at law, is currently the Vice President of Nigeria. Regardless of his academic laurels, he has not been able to resuscitate the deteriorating Nigerian economy; he has not been able to ensure security of life and property, he has not been able to return independence to the press and judiciary ... not forgetting he is a barrister himself; he has not been able to keep Fulani herdsmen terrorists from Yoruba land; he has not been able to influence religious tolerance. Although a pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God, he could not even bring to judgment those that beheaded a Redeemed Christian Church woman in Abuja. He could not stop his master, Buhari, from shutting down the church in Aso Rock. He could not ensure equal distribution of appointments between the North and the South. He could not influence attention to education sector. The list is endless. If Osinbajo, a professor, pastor, and attorney at law, cannot influence anything in his capacity as a vice president, what makes a factionalized Ohanaeze Ndigbo think Obi can? One can take the analogy down to Shagari/Ekwueme era. Did Ekwueme in all his scholarly luminescence avert austerity? He couldn't because he wasn’t in the position to sign any bill by himself, and the man who was is a Fulani and as it’s now evident, the Fulani doesn’t understand the ideological rigour requisite in running a viable economy. It goes on to show that the position of Vice President is practically impotent.

Another argument of this pro-Atiku Ohanaeze group and their foot-soldiers – the recruited non-thinking Igbo youths attacking IPOB and its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu – is that if the Igbo throw their weight behind Atiku, when he might have served out his term, Obi will succeed him. Tall dream! Insincere as it is. How forgetful they are! The Igbo is hated; the Igbo are politically eclipsed. Nigeria’s currency, naira – Never Allow Igbos Rule Again – screams it loud. In the late seventies cum early eighties, those that have been before you nurtured that hopes on Ekwueme. What happened? The Naira Pact came into play and the rest is now history. Why was Chuba Okadigbo clandestinely eliminated? Because he found in Buhari's office the signed document that keeps the Igbo from occupying the apex political seat in Nigeria. “How many times will something happen to you before you learn?” an Igbo proverbial bird asked its young.

The Obi Trap:
Clearly, the decision of the Fulani oligarchy to pick an Igbo as Atiku Abubakar’s running mate is a trap. Having seen the Biafran uprising and the insurmountable demand for freedom, the northern power players thought it right to play a fast one. They threw the Obi bait and Igbos fell for it headlong. Now the Igbo are divided among themselves. The Ohaneze is factionalized but unified in their attack on IPOB, avarice oaring them on.

While Ohaneze Ndigbo are killing themselves over two Fulani men, their kinsman, Kingsley Moghalu is vying for the same position. The so-called Igbo leaders who claim they are fighting for Igbo interest ignored the Igbo interest in Kingsley Moghalu to drum for two Fulani men. Is the position of Vice President bigger than that of the President itself? Now you see they never meant well for the Igbo as a people. They are all for selves.

IPOB having summed it all up asked for a boycott. A boycott is a demonstration of indignation. A civil disobedience, it will bring the government to its knees, attract international intervention and force through the referendum demand. Awolowo led the Yorubas to election boycott in the sixties, and the political bottleneck it created collapsed the first republic; South Africans boycotted the Soweto election in the seventies and it took their agitation to the next level; Croatia did it and the political upheaval it generated helped to usher in their independence. There are many more instances. Only a referendum can nullify the Naira Pact. Only a referendum can free the Biafrans from slavery.

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