The populist route is laden with cheers and encomiums that men find difficult to resist. The voice of reason is momentarily disparaged but elastically conditioned.
My first take is to shred the notion that Igbo land lacked leadership. This completely nullifies the narrative that the IPOB Leader, Prince Nnamdi Kanu only attempted to fill a vacuum deserted by eminent Igbo men and women. On the contrary, the Afara Ukwu Prince was prior to the mayhem in Abia State, a subset of the leadership that is conveniently declared vacuum today.
The Igbo establishment adopted the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) as its route to national political relevance. It ensured that the revered Dim Emeka Ojukwu was politically humiliated in Igbo land in 2003. It, however, compensated him by ensuring the victory of APGA in his home state of Anambra. Even when the erudite Chuba Okadigbo of blessed memory broke rank and became the Vice Presidential candidate of the present Commander in Chief, the leadership was never pretentious on where to align Igbo interest.
The Ohaneze Ndigbo was the first to endorse and order all Igbos to vote for former President Goodluck Jonathan. The entire Igbo land delivered over 97% votes to him in 2011. That was solid leadership and no vacuous spinning can obliterate that. Leadership is about order, direction, followership, and loyalty.
The same Ohaneze Ndigbo directed the entire South East to vote for Jonathan in 2015 despite his neglect of Igbo land. The zone obeyed the order and delivered about 90% of its votes to Jonathan. The rest they say is history. My point is that we never had a leadership vacuum.
I mentioned earlier that Prince Nnamdi Kanu was a subset of the leadership until recently. He was part of those that obeyed the order decreed by Ohaneze Ndigbo on who to vote for in 2015. He was unrelenting in his verbal annihilation of APC and never minced words in advocating for votes for Jonathan. This was in line with the position of Ohaneze leadership.
My point is that Kanu did not occupy a leadership vacuum created by Igbo elders. He only attempted an uprising against the leadership that actually ensured he was released from detention and guaranteed his freedom. It was supposed to be a win-win scenario until he touched the tiger’s tail by decreeing no election in Anambra state.
Those in the know will tell you that his violent utterances unsettled the Igbo leadership and prompted the issuance of several warnings to him. The meetings he held with the governors and the leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo were all aimed at taming his apparent instigation of the youths to disobey constituted authorities. The big lesson here is that we must identify red lines and deal with such accordingly.
The maturity of Abia State governor in handling the days of mayhem is quite commendable. He immediately reached out to the Hausa community, the leadership of recognized unions and traditional rulers to ensure that the situation never got out of control. He simply prevented an Armageddon. That is leadership.
The synergy of Governors Ikpeazu, Obiano, Ugwuanyi, Tambuwal, Ganduje and El Rufail worked wonders in maintaining peace and stability during the crisis. This peace is even more needed now. There should be an immediate exchange of goodwill visits by the governors to reassure our citizens that there is happiness in living together.
Last line: the same leadership that people are abusing and defecating upon is clearing the mess left by the Utopians.
Kelechi Jeff Eme https://www.facebook.com/kelechi.eme