IMPERATIVE FOR AN ETHNIC IGBO POLITICAL PARTY

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By Ignatius ‘Nat Muotoh

Igbo politics/politicians, for quite some time now, can only be summarised as ‘dumb politics’, played by a bunch of hoodwinked individuals, whose sole objectives and purpose can only be summarised as one who aim for “minor privileges at the expense of major rights.”

The governorship election in Anambra State has come and gone, and the question remains ‘What next for the Igbos?
Same thing will happen with other governorship elections in the eastern states in no distant time.
How will these elections under the current political system in Nigeria, solve the Igbo problem? Your guess is as good as mine.
In my mind folks, the first step forward, should be a step backwards to ourselves- the Igbos.

There’s no doubt that by taking that first step backwards, the Igbos will be in a much better position to see where we are right now, and how we got to there, in the first instance. By taking such a step, we can, I believe, be able to critically analyse and plan for where we want to be. Such a backward step will allow us to effectively initiate a positive change, as against what has befallen us since the end of the Biafra/Nigeria War, which ended in 1970.

Politics, as currently practiced in Igbo land, and under the present system, is akin to a person building a house from the roof downwards to the foundation? Surely, such a house will have a very weak foundation. It will not hold, and will collapse just like the Igbo dreams and hopes of participating on an equal basis in the Nigeria political project have collapsed since the last three decades.

I’m neither a politician, nor have I registered with or carry a membership card of any of the political parties. By the grace of God, I possess the conscience and the wisdom to stay away from such politics of ‘let’s get it now and don’t bother about tomorrow, as tomorrow will take care of itself.’

Of course, you can criticise or even accuse me of being naive or ignorant. After all, I do not claim to have the monopoly of knowledge. You have the right to disagree with me, just as I have the same right to say what I’ve said.
I believe that the Igbos must not only learn from others, but must do what others do for themselves.

“Until the Igbos do for themselves what Hausas, Yorubas and others are doing for themselves, liberation is not only impossible but unthinkable in the current Nigeria political system.

This means amongst others; emergence of an Igbo Ethnic Party that demands a strong and tribal loyalty from an overwhelming majority of Igbos. Again, there must be an emergence of a strong and tribally loyal print media to sing and defend the Igbo interests at anytime irrespective of any prevailing situation.

Until such is done, we will not only be playing the second fiddle as we are right now, we will always be excluded from the dining table (marginalisation) as we are now excluded.

I strongly believe that until such is done, we the Igbos will continue to build that house from the roof downwards. And such a house cannot and will not hold.
My view is based on years of experience in Nigeria, and how tribal loyalty have always dominated and played a vital role in the voting pattern and politics.

Sceptics may disagree with this line of argument, and some may actually see me as a tribal bigot. Again, I stand to be proved wrong that an Okonkwo or Okoro can win a senatorial or governorship election in Katsina or Ikenne where he resides; why not, if we live in a detribalised and accommodating society.

Of course, I believe that the Igbos must have their own political party just like the other tribes do, even though many still believe to the contrary or hoodwinked that tribe plays in insignificant role in today’s politics. Such people are still living in a dreamland, and are allowed to believe in what they want to believe.

But at the end of the day, the successful parties have solid foundations, built on tribal loyalties and political ideologies of the late Awolowo’s Action Group and Sarduana’s NPC respectively.

We the Igbos are yet to benefit from such strong tribal loyalties in politics, as is the case in the West and the North. And this is the bane of the Igbo political success in Nigeria.
Without a shadow of doubt, I strongly believe that the Igbos must have an (ethnic) Igbo Party since they have the numbers, and politics in the final analysis, is a game of numbers. Each major Nigerian tribe, need the support of the other major tribe to carry the day, and such is the tripodal mode of the Nigeria equation.

The Igbos must play politics and vote along tribal lines whenever the need arises just like the rest of their contemporaries play and vote at the polling booths. There are no two ways about this since to ‘treat unequal issues equally is not only unjust, but stupid’. I have always wondered why the Igbos are neither here nor there in other major parties.

We must all be aware that the politics of today, where minor privileges are sort at the expense of our major rights, is the foundation for our future generations. We must drop what some have accurately labelled the ‘stomach infrastructure’ in politics, and vote as others do (tribal loyalty in politics). It might suffice to add that, it is mainly in the Igbo land that a Mr. Okoro or Okonkwo, who is a staunch member of the opposition party, will go to bed as a member of his party, to wake up the following morning and announce to his bewildered party members that he has crossed over to the ruling party. One may ask, ‘what actually happened over night to overshadow or overturn his political ideology’?
What has happened to integrity I ask? And, of course, it’s business as usual.
Our people must peruse over such politics for today’s stomach and take that first step backwards to ourselves.

Ignatius ‘Nat Muotoh writes from
Langley-Slough,Berkshire, United Kingdom