COURAGE TO DIE FOR THE IGBO NATION
(Political Advocacy a Must at the highest level in Nigeria )
The “Idea” will be like the ‘unknown rebel’ in China . The ‘Idea’, with a single act of defiance, even as a lone Igbo advocate and Nigerian patriot, shall try to revive the world’s image of courage. Just like Albert Einstein, the ‘Idea’ will prove that the Igbo man could be President of Nigeria, not as a favor, but deservingly as the best that Nigeria could produce for Nigeria’s continued growth and Unity. After the Presidency by Igbo person, the Igbo nation will never complain of marginalization. So, the Igbo nation must be careful in choosing who to support for 2011 and 2015. And, Albert Einstein was unfathomably profound – the genius among geniuses who discovered, merely by thinking about it, that the universe was not as it seemed. So it shall be for the Igbo nation and the quest for Nigerian Presidency.
It is striking, how our perceptions are being shaped by our history. And for the Igbo nation, the past is not dead. It is not even past. For this, the Igbo people continue to experience a whole range of emotions, from fear of annihilation to the deepest sadness, and to an almost violent anger for being denigrated into second-class citizenship in Nigeria . For the Igbo nation, a new era awaits, and with it, new conflicts. Leadership irresponsibility, environmental village hostility and greed will press against Igbo nationalist instincts, and Nigeria will have to confront the power of tribalism and the change of fundamentalism.
Change of fundamentalism will occur. But the Igbo mystery will endure, and even after decades of Gowons, Mohammeds, Obasanjos, Buhaharis, Babangidas, Abachas, again Obasanjos, peppered with the Shagaris and Shonekons, and now the Yar’dua, those that tried like Pat Utomi, and Orji Kalu will pinch themselves, and realistically ask themselves, could we have fared better if we supported the most credible, and eminently qualified? Orji Kalu should have backed Utomi, and they should have stayed in PDP and slug it out!! Presently, all the other political parties are a shame, and should really be proscribed, and two most viable of the lot retained as opposition. The Igbo nation and Nigeria are not closer to the greatest historical question in Nigeria : Shouldn’t the Igbo man lead modern Nigeria now?
My hopes rest with the likes of Prof. Barth Nnaji, Senator Ken Nnamani, Dr. Ugorji O. Ugorji, Dr. Chris Aniedobe, Dr. Ike Abugu, Arch. Jerome Okolo, Dr. Chris Ede, Dr. Humphrey Okoloukwu, Dr. Ifeanyi Udibe, Prof. Pat Utomi, either as a matrix or in a harmonized Coalition. Then we shall bring in the likes of Mr. Joe Eto, Attorney Charles Chikezie, Dr. James Odindu Odunze, Dr. Okenwa Nwosu, Mr. Chuks Ibekwe and Chief Theo Egbujor. We shall seek out the likes of Jimmy Asiegbu, Afam Agwu, Alloy Attah, Attorney Jude Akubilo,Chief John Egbo, Attorney Dom Ezeudu, Dr. Moe Eneh, Dr. Ezejiofor Udeh, Prof. Uzochukwu, Prof. Umez, Mr. Emeka Ukachukwu, Attorney Ken Okorie. Sometimes, we see nonsense in intellectual camouflage of visceral hostility, with an embodiment of reflective prejudice. The time for harmony is now, and we must work selflessly for the sake of our Igbo nation, and for the sake of purposeful Igbo Advocacy, especially for 2009 through 2015..
Balancing human intelligence with animal diligence, the Igbos in diaspora are going to decide whether to disband the World Igbo Congress as presently constituted; or to strengthen the operational scope and membership base of the World Igbo congress. This will happen in September 2009 if the current factions are sensible to bring the 2009 convention to Okpara Squqre. To help decide on what to do with the World Igbo Congress, it might be pertinent to answer two basic questions:
- Is the World Igbo Congress adequately representative of the Igbos in Diaspora and in Nigeria from villages, towns, local government areas, States for relevance and Igbo positive aspirations? What was this mess cooked up in Florida , USA ?
- Is the World Igbo Congress misrepresenting the Igbos in Diaspora and their aspirations to be relevant in the transformation process of the Igbo nation, and in the relationship with the other federated nationalities in Nigeria ? Who is responsible for this mess??
The leadership stories of the Igbo nation, the World Igbo congress and OHANEZE included, have never escaped allusions to the causes and failures and limited successes in the Biafran experiment. Presently, such stories are perforated with elisions and omissions. To every question, there is a surface answer and a deeper one. I have chosen to worry about both surface and deep answers. There are usually the trivial little patterns of leadership crookery that normally lead to larger patterns. The most important thing I do is the least glamorous thing imaginable - Speaking the unpopular truth:
- Vain talks. Wide talks. Vain shots. Wide shots. Chest beating. Bribe taking. That is the Igbo nation’s psyche and political strategy, as constituted today. Some of us who are critical of this psyche aim to reverse the Igbo nation’s political strategy for tomorrow should be consolidated now;
- Are there political leadership Advocacy structure in place for Igbo nation? Not really! Are there clusters of self-serving groups and organizations? Yes! Is the World Igbo Congress and PNF among these cluster groups and organizations? Yes! Can the World Igbo Congress, as presently constituted play a decisive role in Igbo nation’s political strategy for tomorrow? No! Why? The World Igbo Congress as presently constituted has foggy aims and grossly shallow-based and non-inclusive.
- The World Igbo Congress, presently, from all indications, and from Engr. Onwuchekwa’s legacy would not be relevant in 2009, and perhaps through 2015 as far as the quest for a president of Igbo extraction goes. Unless a miracle will happen between now and September 2009! That is the major reason why a radical change should occur in the World Igbo congress Chairmanship ‘selection’, not as a fractious ego trip in ‘power-mania’, but, as a consciously articulated soul-searching resolve by both factions of madness. It is obvious there would never be an election for popular mandate, because the majority of Diasporan Igbo who should vote are disenfranchised by a convoluted Constitution! Enugu USA leadership made a powerful presentation, through their delegation of Agwu, Akubuilo and Udibe. The offered realistic base that will save WIC in Detroit , Michigan . That was in 2005. Greed and power-steam blinded the Board members!! Now, the Igbo nation has been disgraced by the same people with short-sightedness, who were busy scheming and re-writing a constitution that spelt doom. Where is John Udo??
- And for a radical change to occur in the 2009 World Igbo Congress Convention, the Convention should have only two focus: (a) To endorse a Consensus candidate of Igbo extraction as Presidential Candidate for the Peoples democratic Party. To this end, the World Igbo Congress Secretariat should send letters of invitation to all the known aspirants from Orji Kalu to Ken Nnamani. The convention should be in Enugu , Nigeria . All elected and appointed Igbo sons and daughters have to come to Okpara Square in Enugu to account for their stewardship and make their case; (b) To launch Igbo political Leadership and Advocacy fund.
- We should not forget so soon those destructive myths of the crooked timber of Igbo humanity, nothing straight was ever made straight, to be ethically sound and sensitive in political leadership of the Igbo people, especially, since the late Ukpabi Asika administered the East Central State. This is the time for our generation to correct and lead!
I said earlier that a new era awaits the Igbo nation and with a single act of defiance, the world’s image of courage will be revived. But to comprehend the possible scenario, I hasten to reflect on the mustard gas story. It resembles the story of Biafra and Igbo Nation.
Biafra defeat was in itself a mustard gas, just like the deaths that occurred in “ SOMME ” . According to stories, every once in a while, a farmer in the Somme, France – cuts down an oak tree, sits down on the trunk, and then sickens and dies. Why? Because during the First World War, a battle had taken place on that field, a canister of mustard gas deployed. The poison got absorbed by the tree as a sapling, and decades later, it is still potent enough to kill a man.
Almost four decades after the declaration of the Republic of Biafra , the mustard gas of defeat has continued to kill the Igbo nation, choking the Igbo nation, forcing the citizenry to loose sense of self-worth, sense of harmony in pursuit of political power in Nigeria . Now, it is only vain talks, wide shots, chest-beating, bribe taking and no action!
Just 2005, Dr. Vincent Anigbogu reminded me and others the lessons contained in Romans 14:8:
If we live, we live in the Lord;
And if we die, we die in the Lord.
So, whether we live or die,
We belong to the Lord
My belief is that God will give courage to men of good will who are weak in heart. I remain your ‘Idea’. Some day you will look for me , and I will not be there!
Dr. Ifeanyi G. Udibe
(Currently, a Field Marshall )
(Founding Member, MPL & TLG & NIPADAM)
Movement for Patriotic Leadership & Tomorrow’s Leaders Group