Without Igbo Unity, There Can’t Be Igbo Presidency
ALTERNATIVE By Reno Omokri
How did the Southwest get the Presidency in 1999? It was because they were united as a people after the death of Chief MKO Abiola, in saying that if justice was not done to them, they would leave Nigeria.
There were absolutely no dissenting voices. And the most liberal and nationalistic Yoruba man, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was quoted as saying ‘I believe in unity, but I do not believe in unity at all cost.’
The military regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar was stunned. The North panicked. The rest of the country looked on helplessly.
Every attempt at breaching the resolve of the Southwest was frustrated. Fringe sycophants who tried to voice out their Northern masters’ opinions were publicly beaten to a pulp by Yoruba youths. Those who were tempted by the crumbs from the powers that be, learnt their lessons from the mistakes of those less fortunate men.
And it was because of this resolve that the military elite of the North took a corporate decision that the power that shifted to the Southwest on June 12, 1993, must be actualised on May 29, 1999, if Nigeria must remain as one corporate entity.
And why did the Southwest retain power in 2003? It was for a similar reason. President Obasanjo won that election fair and square. There was no way General Buhari could have defeated him. Let us consider the facts.
In 2003, the Southwest produced one major candidate (then President Obasanjo). The North produced one major candidate (General Buhari). But the Southeast had multiple major candidates (Ojukwu, Nwobodo, Kalu, Ike Nwachukwu, etc)
Throughout the ages, power has always been taken. It is NEVER given. Nobody will give the Igbo the Presidency. Only Igbo unity can bring about Igbo Presidency! And as of 2021, there is nothing like Igbo unity.
I counsel the Igbo to study Genesis 11:6:
“God said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them!”
Let us study another current event and how the Igbo can learn from it.
On November 8, 2020, the Kano State Hisbah Board destroyed alcoholic beverages worth hundreds of millions of naira. These were overwhelmingly the properties of people of Southeastern origin.
At various other occasions, the same Kano State Hisbah Board has destroyed hotels and other businesses owned, mostly by people of Southeastern origin, even though Kano receives more than ₦5 billion from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, as VAT proceeds from alcoholic beverages.
Obviously, Kano wants the money from alcohol but does not want the selling of alcohol. If you open the dictionary to word hypocrisy, you should see the Kano State Hisbah Board.
I expected an outcry from the Southeast. I expected Ohana’eze Ndi’Igbo to scream blue murder. I expected Southeastern Governors to fume. I expected the Igbo intelligentsia to apply media pressure. But all my expectations came to nought. Nothing was done. Nothing was said.
Fast forward to January 2021, and Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state gave an ultimatum to unregistered herdsmen occupying forest reserves in Ondo state to either register with the state government or quit the forest reserves.
Within 24 hours, there were coordinated reactions. First, the Presidency bared its fangs, and called Akeredolu’s legal order, unconstitutional! You can imagine.
Next came the Northern Elders Forum, with a fire-breathing statement. They described Akeredolu’s statement as “shocking”, and insisted that he was “demonising” herdsmen.
Finally, this socio-cultural body had the audacity to tell herdsmen to “ignore” a state government’s legal orders.
Not yet done, the North unleashed the Arewa Consultative Forum, which added to the salvo in defence of herdsmen by calling on Akeredolu to rescind his legal order on herdsmen.
And won’t you know it, the National President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Bello Bodejo, came out guns a-blazing, and claiming that ““All the lands in this country belong to the Fulani.”
No one ever told me that. And the Fulani certainly do not own my ancestral lands!
However, the point of all this is that the great hue and cry from the North forced the Southwest Governors to call for a meeting with Miyetti Allah to resolve the unnecessary impasse.
But what is my point?
Do the leaders of the Southeast see how Northern leaders made serious noise for herdsmen, and how their noise instigated a meeting between Southwest Governors and Miyetti Allah?
That is how they should have shouted when Kano Hisbah destroyed Igbo people’s hotels on the excuse that they sold alcohol. People can only do to you what you tolerate.
The Yoruba and the North are more united under a central leadership than the Igbo. And that is why power shifts between the North and the Southwest like a relay race.
The Igbo man is probably the most intelligent Black African. Check out WAEC/NECO results. The top states are always either Anambra or Imo.
If you do not respect the Igbo, consider that without government assistance, Alaba Electronic Market generates $4 billion annual sales, according to renowned American economic journalist, Robert Neuwirth, who spent months embedded with Alaba traders. When you add Onitsha and Aba Markets, the total comes to $6.5 billion. Add Ladipo Spare Parts Market, and it jumps to $8 billion.
Without oil, Nigeria’s Federal Government cannot generate what the Igbo are generating without government. What do we learn from this? The Igbo can survive without Nigeria’s government, but Nigeria’s government cannot survive without oil. In reality, who is better off?
But even as the Igbo man is such an economic genius, he is sadly lacking in centralised leadership. An Anambra man named Ebele, may refuse to work with an Imo man named Ebere. The Igbo are all too often unwilling to surrender individual interests for group interests, and this inability dissipates their political and economic influence. And until they learn to work with their brother, even if they do not like him, they will continue to serve others who have that ability.
Look at their treatment at the hand of President Muhammadu Buhari. As long as they have such Quislings like Hope Uzodinma, Orji Kalu, David Umahi, and Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka, no one will take them seriously as a political force. It is too easy to use an Igbo man to frustrate another Igbo man’s rise.
Look at how Governor Obiano of Anambra, who was installed as Governor by Peter Obi, turned around to work against the same Peter Obi, and the Southeast, by mobilising against the Peoples Democratic Party during the 2019 Presidential election, simply because he no longer likes Peter Obi, his immediate predecessor.
The Igbo must learn that you do not have to like people to work with them. Elephants and birds do not like each other. They need each other. An elephant cannot scratch its back. So birds scratch it for him and eat in the process. The Igbo must scratch their brother’s back all the way to the Presidency.
Do the Igbo think that the Hausa like the Fulani? I grew up partly in the North, and I can tell you (and I am sure many Igbo know this), that the Hausa do not like the Fulani and often vice versa.
There is nothing like Hausa-Fulani. You are either Hausa, or Fulani. The term Hausa-Fulani came about due to the One North policy of the late Ahmadu Bello, which saw the Hausa and the Fulani work together for the North’s interest.
Within the North, they compete with each other. But outside the North, they complete each other. Within the North, none would back down for the other. Outside the North, they watch each other’s back.
This is the opposite of divide and rule. This unites and dominates. That I do not like you, does not mean I cannot work with you to achieve my end goal.
And we see this in Scripture.
In 1 Corinthians 5:5, Paul said:
“Hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.”
Paul used Satan to achieve the work of saving a man from himself so that his eternal spirit would not be destroyed.
This is a lesson to the Igbo that the devil you know is better than the angel you do not know.
Let me conclude by summarising one of my earlier points. We now know, courtesy of Robert Neuwirth, that the Igbo in Alaba Market generate $4 billion annually (₦ 2 trillion).
Think about that for a minute. 10,000 Igbo generate more internal revenue than the 19 Northern states combined. To put this in perspective, note that the Kaduna state government generated ₦44 billion IGR last year and was celebrated by the Northern Governors’ Forum.
If Igbo can unite politically, the way they unite economically, they will not need to beg anybody for Igbo Presidency. It would be theirs.
They can raise billions of dollars for the right candidate. They can afford to have a polling agent in each of the 120,000 polling units in Nigeria (something that the PDP could not achieve in 2019, due to costs). They can outspend anybody. The day the Igbo wake up to their power, they will stop begging for power and start taking it!
To those Igbo who say they do not need political power, I counsel you to research the competition between Ibeto cement and Dangote cement. Lack of political power destroyed Ibeto. Access to political power promoted Dangote to the extent that Nigeria’s borders were opened for him and closed to everyone else. No amount of money is enough if you have no political power!
With one stroke of the pen, the man with political power can eradicate your economic power. He can ban your businesses. He can overtax your sector. He can deny you airports, seaports, and security.
Do not be blinded by money. After God, it is government. Why do you think that despite all their hard work and ingenuity, no Igbo is amongst the 10 richest Africans, according to Forbes?
The late Head of State, General Sani Abacha used his political power to give General TY Danjuma an oil bloc. Danjuma sold it for $1.5 billion. Folorunsho Alakija was awarded an oil bloc by government, today she‘s the world’s richest Black woman.
Igbo need political power because as Aristotle said, man, by nature, is a political animal.
What did Igbo people do to #Buhari?
* No Igbo heading any of the 3 arms of government
* No Igbo heading any of the 3 military branches
* No Igbo in the National Security Council
* No Igbo heading any of the intelligence agencies
* No Igbo heading any security or paramilitary agency
Are Igbo people supposed to be grateful because Buhari made an Igbo his Personal Assistant on photography? Is taking photographs the only thing the Igbo are good for in Buhari’s government?