Blog, Essays, Monishots

Igbo Political Renaissance Will Begin With IPOB’s Decline.

  We cannot allow anyone or any group appropriate a sole franchise to define our Igbo identity, much more proselytise it in a despicable and violent manner. We should not justify it or be indifferent to it. Our history and civilisation extol respect for one another. ~ Nnanna Ude Regardless of our usual social media tittle-tattle if one is blessed with some measure of knowledge and quill-wielding, it is proper and even obligatory to put ink to paper in a more concise and intelligible manner on some critical issues affecting your people. So when I read Ezeife’s demand on the 2023 presidency I was reminded of the above succinctly captured statement by Mr Ude shortly after IPOB members attacked Ike Ekweremadu. Its been three years since many Igbos, still reeling from the painful defeat of ‘our brother’ Jonathan embraced IPOB’s call for secession. I wrote an article then in which I opined that the coming years will see Ndi Igbo rise from that unfortunate political miscalculation to assume their rightful place in national politics. Sadly, I was disappointed. During the last campaign, I also stated that piloting Igbos back to mainstream politics should be a priority regardless of the success or otherwise of Obi’s shot at the Vice Presidency. But here we are again still grieving that loss even as other regions have commenced politicking towards 2023. Nevertheless, this piece is neither to validate nor condemn, rather in my usual approach, I will interrogate some factors that may not necessarily be peculiar to the Igbos but have aided in our recent political relegation viz-a-viz the lethargic handling of IPOB and offer my humble suggestions as I believe detailed texts on contemporary issues should do. Permit me to digress a bit with an experience I had in Germany in order to locate the nucleus of Kanu’s IPOB before we proceed. Having arrived in Kassel as my business partner travelled to Belgium for an emergency I decided to visit a friend in Bremen. While hanging out in the local joint where we play poker and chat about the happenings back home a shabbily dressed bloke sauntered in and on learning that I was visiting from Nigeria asked; “Nna, I heard the United Nations recognized the Sovereign State of Biafra declared by MASSOB, owu eziokwu?” (Is it true?) Perplexed, I didn’t know what to make of him or his question. That a man living in Germany would be that misinformed in 2006 was kind of absurd. By the time I gathered myself to respond, I was told to ignore a refugee who hadn’t been home in 14 years. There are many like him across the western world. Young men who embarked on the transatlantic expedition in search of the golden fleece but ended in perpetual stagnation as asylum-seekers. They are the ones that have been smartly exploited by Kanu to bring home an intellect-trashing era of populism through his fact-twisting Radio Biafra. Many of these pendent brothers are the omphalos of his fraudulent agitation. And having been promised a fantasy land, an eldorado of sorts where prosperity will be restored under the guidance of a Supreme Leader ordained by Chukwu Okike Abiama, they are as ready to fund the ‘cause’ as they are willing to uproot any impediment. These are the men Ezeife would want to lead the Igbo nation if Nigeria does not ‘give’ us the presidency. The same man who suggested that Nigeria may not survive till 2023 if Buhari is re-elected just like he predicted the country’s break up if Jonathan is defeated in 2015. And by saying that “Igbos voted for both APC and PDP” he is inadvertently demanding for the two leading parties to zone their presidential tickets to the South East. Laughable if you ask me, and I believe others will be having a good laugh at us too. There is no way the distribution of power in our skewed federalism will be curated on sentiments. But let us even assume that the octogenarian’s dictate is for the PDP where we have largely stored our eggs since 1999. Pray on what premise is he making such demands? Has he analysed the current position of Igbos in the party hierarchy? Is he unaware that Igbos never called the shots even when we had powerful ministers and ranking officers in the legislature under Jonathan? One would expect that the ex-governor should know that you strive to negotiate from a position of strength in politics. You see, Igbos are a heuristic tribe who pride themselves as exceptional people especially blessed by God. In a seminal study published in 1974 by Alex Inkeles and David S. Smith the Igbos alongside the Jews of Eastern Europe, the Swiss Protestants and the Parsis of India were ranked the most resourceful in the world on achievement motivation. The veracity or falsity of these claims very much depends on the prism of perception. However, you are likely to have an Igbo person more than any other as the factotum in any group of Nigerians. We saw it in Japan where all the leaders of the various Nigerian delegations that met President Buhari were Igbos. The South East has never lacked in human and material resources. It is a region that recovered in record time after a devastating civil war and currently leads other regions in almost all the UN developmental indices. And all these were achieved without power at the centre since Ironsi was felled over half a century ago. Unfortunately, Igbos today appear to be poor students of history and strategy. The corollary of which has been the inadequate deployment of our famed ingenuity in Nigerian politics. That is why Ezeife will attempt to blackmail the nation a few months after Ohaneze Ndi Igbo declared that the Igbos do not need the presidency. A classical example of a struggling conflict of extremes driven more by individual rather than collective interest. We have watched the last four years wither through hate-spewing, negativity and a defeatist mentality not even witnessed

Blog, Monishots

The Conflict Is Already In Igbo Land.

Expectedly, IPoB and their horde of online disciples are now screaming that the DSS is behind these attacks by unknown gunmen which have become a daily occurrence across Igbo land. Ironically the same IPoB and the same followers have been tweeting in support of the faceless hoodlums to justify their bid for secession.

Blog, Essays, Monishots

How the South-East should respond to Amotekun.

“It is the opinion of many great authorities that every nation or people build its future on its past, that is, a past that has been properly studied and understood, and whose seminal experience has been extracted and redeployed for further use”. ~ Prof. Adiele Afigbo Ever since Mohammed Yusuf was extra-judicially murdered by the police in 2007- a costly insurgency that has so far claimed over fifty thousand lives and displaced about three million continues to ravage the nation. The hydra-headed problem turned into a conflagration which continues to oxygenate the activities of bandits in the North-West and killer herdsmen across the nation. The inability of the national defence and security apparatus to contain the insurgents has seen an otherwise localised conflict permeate the other regions in different guises. In the South West kidnapping became so rampant that even the high and mighty were not spared. Chief Olu Falae is lucky to be alive while Pa Fasoranti’s daughter -may her soul rest in peace- wasn’t so lucky. What’s more, President Buhari’s lopsided appointments in the security architecture and his reluctance to replace the service chiefs in the face of perennial insecurity culminated in the birth of Operation Amotekun. Well, so the Yoruba leaders say. I am not sold on that narrative. I believe that Operation Amotekun is actually more about politics than security. Why do I think so? Well, part of the reason should be obvious to the discerning observer. With the exception of some Nordic countries and a few others, even the most liberal democracies have its security framework usually designed with the principal consideration of protecting the ruling elite let alone Nigeria where ours was largely shaped by long years of military dictatorship. Precisely, the established operational paradigm in the country can rightly be described as regime security rather than national security. This is better exemplified in the fact that it is normal to have the number of security operatives attached to the office of a local government chairman supersede what is left to guard the local government area itself. Tinubu himself is very much aware of this. As the political godfather of the South West, his measured statement calling for dialogue with the federal government couldn’t have been better crafted given his rumoured ambition to succeed Buhari. Who wants to stir the applecart? And did his caution prevail? Certainly, the northern dominated federal government is aware of existing security outfits like Hisbah, JTF and the rest. So it makes little sense to boisterously oppose a similar initiative by the politically aligned South West. Moreover, any other amorphous security organisation out there that exceeds set boundaries as the so-called legal framework will definitely outline can always be tamed. Cut to size and reduced to omonile like Obasanjo did to the Oodua Peoples Congress OPC. So, as the Federal Government led pally with South-West Governors on the contentious issues concluded with a mutual agreement public attention will understandably switch to other regions particularly the South-East. Leaders of the region will be inundated with more calls to reproduce something identical. Already we ‘ve had some chest-thumping from usual vocal quarters. While Ohaneze Youth Council called on the conspicuously silent South-East Governors to resuscitate the defunct Bakassi boys, IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu promised to relaunch the disbanded Biafran Security Service with the aim of supporting Amotekun with one million men. However, our leaders need not succumb to these chaotic and discordant demands. There are factors to be taken into account before any coordinated response if at all there will be one as different geopolitical regions in the Nigerian enclave has its peculiarities. This is even more so with the South East. For one, baring Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state, the remaining South West Governors will face reelection sooner or later with Akerodolu of Ondo state looking to renew his mandate later this year. The region’s electorate often described as the most politically sophisticated couldn’t care less about the fact that bulk of the governors are members of the ruling APC. Given the opportunity, the Oyo state experience may be replicated in states where the governor’s report card is subpar. Now given that the security of lives and property is always a paramount factor in electioneering campaign and if your people have been lamenting the poor security situation, what better promise than an indigenous outfit to secure the region? Moreso, when it will likely be opposed -as we have seen- by perceived traducers or invaders like Miyetti Allah as Odumakin and Femi Fani Kayode, would have them believe. We can now see the reason behind the collective insistence and perhaps desperation of the governors to fly the spotted cat. Perception is key. In reality, the converse is the case in the South-East. Only Hope Uzodimma will seek re-election. The rest are doing a second term. Moreover, the region has fared best in terms of security over the last two years. According to the statistics released by Nigeria Security Tracker (NST), it had the least percentage (1%) of reported cases of kidnapping between Jan-Sept 2019. Compare that to (43%) in the North West and you can see who really needs to emulate Amotekun. The truth is that silently the South-East governors though often perceived as inept by a majority of her people have performed creditably in the area of security. Gone are the days when the region was notorious for kidnapping. In Anambra state, for instance, Governor Obiano encouraged community policing from day one. Each town union is well funded to maintain a vigilante group who collaborate with the police. The governor also regularly equips the state police command with vehicles, communication and security gadgets including drones. This laudable initiative has earned the state several accolades as the safest in the country and is currently being xeroxed in Abia and Ebonyi states. So Igbo leaders need to be circumspect and proactive here. Ours is a region blessed with abundant natural resources like oil, coal, zinc, limestone, salt and much more which remain largely

Blog, Essays

The Igbo Nation: Leadership Vacuum or Leadership Usurpation by Kelechi Jeff Eme

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


#iStandWithBuhari rally holds in Awka.

Thousands of youths converged in Awka the Anambra state capital to show their support for the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration. The rally which held at Ekwueme Square was organised by The rally which held at Ekwueme Square was organised by #iStandWithBuhari organisation.  There were initial apprehension and reluctance by many as there had been threats by the members of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and other pro-Biafra groups had earlier threatened to disrupt any rally in support of Buhari. Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in particular had issued a statement through its spokesperson Comrade Uchenna Madu stating that “This rally will not hold anywhere in Biafra land. We have discovered that this is the reason why some Igbo politicians are driving their way into APC that has no interest for Ndigbo. “We shall never allow them to bring political disgrace to Igbo land. “What is the significance of the APC rally in Igbo land? Do Ndigbo have any love or likeness for Buhari and APC? Why must such disgraceful rally be planned to hold in Ojukwu’s home state? “Is the rally more important than the Federal Government’s abandoned second Niger Bridge, Enugu-Onitsha federal road, Enugu- Port Harcourt express way, Onitsha- Okigwe Federal road, etc? “MASSOB warns the Professor Osibanjo-led Federal Government to call off the APC proposed rally because we shall resist it. “Our advice is that such a rally should be held in Hausa- Fulani land, where Buhari’s kinsmen are living.” However, the rally was held successfully without hitches and coincidentally President Buhari himself arrived in the country in the early hours of the same day.

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