Igbo Governors versus Igbos by Mazi Omife I. Omife

Can Igbos Survive This War? Are Governors in the South-East that dumb?

I really felt very bad after listening to Ike Ekweremadu on Channels Tv interview as he propounded his anti-Igbo political theory in which he canvassed support for Buhari against our own son, Peter Obi. After listening to him, I had the impression that all hope has been lost about Igbos political destiny in the Nigerian political scene. I became even more confounded and dumb founded when shortly after, the same Ekweremadu led Igbo governors to visit Buhari during which they expressed their support for his second term. After the visit, they announced to the Igbos how Buhari had become a “changed man” in his unhidden anti-Igbo proclivity. My hopelessness became even more desperate.

However, I thank God I was mistaken in my inference that Igbos have been sold out. This was sequel to my contact with various grassroots leaders in all the States across Igbo land in my capacity as former National coordinator of Igbo Town Unions PGs and former Chairman of the General  Assembly of  ASATU I.e Anambra State Association of Town Unions, comprising serving and past pgs then, during which I established contact with most community leaders in Igboland.

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Governors
Ekweremadu and Atiku

So, after Ekeremadu’s indirect declaration of Igbo support for Buhari, I quickly communicated with past and serving PGs in the five States of Igbo land to feel their pulse and find out their direction of political support in the present political dispensation. My enquiries covered 98 communities out of 179 in Anambra State; 180 out of the 463 communities in Enugu State; 175 out of 432 communities in Imo, 105 and 50 communities in Abia and Ebonyi states respectively.

After my contacts, I discovered that nearly 95 per cent of Igbos were angry at Ekweremadu’s treacherous action as well as the current body language of Igbo governors led by Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State as they continue to dance naked in a show of shame , bent as is clearly evident, on destroying the political homogeneity and  future of the Igbo nation.

It has since become evident that the on-going political macabre dance by the South East governors spearheaded by Dave Umahi to forestall the election of a foremost Igbo politician icon and acclaimed ‘Okwute Ndigbo” in the person of former governor Peter Obi as the Vice-President of Nigeria come 2019 is merely a smokescreen to cover up their secret agenda to sell Igbos to Buhari at the instance of the duo of Dave Umahi and Ike Ekweremadu for the ostensible reason that Atiku Abubakar did not consult South East political stakeholders before his choice of Peter Obi. Consultation my foot!

Come to think of this shameful balderdash. The selection of Peter Obi as VP candidate for PDP comes as the nearest chance Igbos have to be at the helm of affairs of this country since the time of late Dr. Ekwueme. And look at these selfish governors trying to bungle this one- in a lifetime opportunity.

One thing these morons so called governors must be told is that 95 per cent of Igbos share the conviction that 1000 Buharis will not benefit Igbos as much as one VP of Igbo extraction. Talk of consultation, it is only in Igboland that politicians make such a stupid and mischievous fuss when it comes to such a golden political opportunity for collective tribal interest.  Ask the Igbo governors when and where else in the history of this country had Presidential candidate had to consult the tribe of his VP designate or seek their permission before adopting the candidate. Or where else had any tribe protested against such an appointment because they were not consulted.

Ekweremadu
Ekweremadu

Let’s cite instances. In 1999 when Obasanjo adopted Atiku as his running mate, did Obasanjo consult the Hausa Fulani leaders? And did they protest against Atiku’s selection or try to undermine his chances? Later  in 2011 when Obasanjo contrived the Yar’Adua – Goodluck Jonathan ticket, did Obasanjo go consulting the South South and northern governors and political leaders to seek their consent?. In 1985 when Babangida appointed Ebitu Ukiwe as his second in command, did he consult Igbos? In 1993 when Babaginda appointed Ernest Shonekan as acting president, did he consult the Yorubas? When Sani  Abacha appointed Oladipo Diya as deputy, did he consult the Yoruba governors? When Buhari appointed Tunde Idiagbon as deputy, did he consult the South West? Let’s go back in time to 1979 politics. When Shehu Shagari of NPN appointed Alex Ekwueme as running mate, did he consult the Igbos. It is instructive to recall also that before Ekwueme’s appointment, two Igbos, Dr. J.O. J Okezie and K. O. Mbadiwe were being tipped as Shagari’s most likely choice for running mate. When at the last moment Shagari chose Ekwueme, hell was not let loose in Igbo political landscape and nobody complained or protested against the choice of Ekwueme. On the contrary, both  Dr. J.O.  Okezie and K. O. Mbadiwe joined the bandwagon in congratulating Ekwueme and and supporting his campaign. That was the Igbo political spirit on display, as against the self-conceited and egocentric intrigue against Peter Obi by Umahi and Ekweremadu.

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Again, when Waziri Ibrahim of then GNPP appointed Chief B. O. Nzeribe his deputy, did he consult Igbos? When Aminu Kano of PRP appointed S. G. Ikoku as running mate, did he consult Igbos? When Obafemi Awolowo of UPN appointed Philip Umeadi as running mate, did he appoint Igbos? Name them. Not in one precedent exists in the entire Nigeria’s military and civilian history where a leader or presidential candidate had to consult with their deputies’ constituencies before appointing them. Not one.

When Umahi and Ekweremadu are not whining about consultation, they are complaining against Anambra State monopoly of political posts in the south east even when Anambra is a sister Igbo State. Typical Umahi against Igbos syndrome. But go other tribes, nobody considers such political trivialities as long as the tribe is the beneficiary. Take a look at the South west, where one State, Ogun, has  had a chain of high caliber political appointees over the years, name them: Awolowo, Obasanjo, mko Abiola, Oladipo Diya, Shonekan, and current Vice President Osinbajo, all from Ogun. Yet the South West governors have never complained to date.

Umahi of Ebonyi state
Dave Umahi of Ebonyi state

Then imagine the power-drunk, sit-tight deputy-president of the Senate President who has since lost the respect and confidence of Igbo but still living a fool’s paradise of thinking that he is the only Igbo knowledgeable enough to speak for Igbos, insulting the sensibility of Igbos by trying to convince us that voting for Buhari is the shortest course for Igbos to access the Presidency by flaunting the ridiculous logic that Buhari has only four years more to stay in office whereas an Atiku presidency will go the whole log of eight years, all as a subterfuge to stall Igbos from Peter Obi’s possible vice-presidency.  It is time to tell Ekweremadu in clear terms that Igbos are not fools to be fooled again. Imagine the highest Igbo political office holder, with the support of Igbo governors, asking Igbos to vote for Buhari against their own kith and kin and against their own party.

Senator Ekweremadu should tell Igbos the basis of his logic that Igbos will take the presidency after Buhari. Has Buhari even for once made any statement or simulated one in the direction of handing over to an Igbo, save for a very recent equivocal statement by the recently appointed SFG, who in any  case did not speak on the authority of President Buhari.  Has Buhari or the SFG had any negotiation in that direction with Ike Ekweremadu or the Igbo political class. Has Buhari, during any of his few visits to Igbo land ever muted such a disposition to hand over power to Igbos? What of the recent authoritative assurance by Buhari’s vice president Osinbajo to his Yoruba kinsmen that his principal would hand over power to the South West. Between Osinbajo and Ekweremadu, which should be considered more authoritative in their declarations.

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Is this not the same Buhari whose administration ab initio completely sidelined Igbos in every facet of his administration to date? Is this not the same Buhari that made sure that no single Igbo man was among the list of service chiefs under his regime? Is it not the same Buhari that supported proscribed IPOB and unleashed Operation Python dance on Igbo land with enormous human casualty? Is it not the same Buhari who made sure that since the tenure of IGP Onovo as Inspector General of Police under Yar’Adua, no other Igbo man ever occupied that position? Is it not the same Buhari who made sure Igbo land did not benefit from his railway line project even when he extended the  facility to his Muslim kinsmen in Niger and Chad Republic? The list is endless.

Peter Obi
Peter Obi

Ekweremadu wants Igbos to believe that Buhari is now a changed man. Yet, only a few weeks ago, Buhari constituted a new EFCC Board but did not include an Igbo man in the Board. It is even more suggestive now why Ekweremadu who is the deputy senate president and the highest Igbo political office holder as well as the  fourth in command in the nation’s leadership hierarchy chose to look the other way when the bill was sent to the Senate. It is also understandable why the Senate Chairman on EFCC, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, also an Igbo, and who everybody knows is Ekeremadu’s boy, whose committee screened the bill, also looked the other way and approved the bill for Senate approval, but for the eagle-eyed Senator Victor Umeh who has been vocal  against Igbo marginalization pin-pointed the absence of an Igbo member in  the Board, an observation that drew the protest of senators from other geo-political zones, to the ETERNAL SHAME OF Ekweremadu and other Igbo senators.Buhari has changed indeed!

 Is it not the same Buhari who constituted his 2019 campaign committee which had only two people from Igboland in the persons of Ken Nnamadi and Sharon …. as members. Now tell me, is it these two people of other Igbo APC members that Buhari is going to negotiate a hand over of power to Igbos? Who is deceiving who?

This is the same Buhari Ike Ekweremamdu and Dave Umahi want Igbos to vote for and rely on to hand over power to. Haba Igbo governors. This treachery has gone too far.

Come to think of it. While the Igbo governors and their acolytes in the likes of Ekweremadu revel in pulling down their own and witch hunting their once fellow Igbo governor for personal ambition, political leaders of other tribes are always scheming to get their own people to significant positions at both government and party levels.

Remember the Nnamdi Kanu episode, when Dave Umahi and Ike Ekweremadu pressured Igbo governors to denounce Nnamdi Kanu and proscribe IPOB, even when they lacked the legal authority to do so, an action that watered the ground Buhari government to proscribe IPOB and declare it a terrorist organization even when IPOB members did not carry arms and were not killing people.  Yet, the Federal government looked the other way  as Fulani herdsmen which were declared one of the most deadly terrorist organizations in the world by the United Nations continued to commit genocide against defenseless people across the country.

While Igbo governors clamped down on IPOB, another group that would pass as a replica of IPOB, the Odua Peoples Congress, (OPC) was never challenged or in any way condemned by Yoruba governors or Afanifere group, the apex Yoruba socio-cultural organization. On the contrary, last year, the leader of the group, Gani Adams, was conferred with one of the highest titles in Yoruba land, Aare Kakanfo of Yourba land by Yoruba elders, apparently in honour of his role in defending the socio-political interests of Yoruba nation.

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Then look at Dave Umahi, the way he has become Buhari’s governor chief campaign manager in Igboland, even to the despicable level of mobilizing Ebonyi youths on a Buhari campaign poster pasting crusade,  against  clear cut Igbo political  inclination. But this is not the only tragedy of  Dave Umahi political sell-out of Igbos. Yet another tragedy is how Umahi maneuvered and imposed his junior brother as the chairman of South East PDP. Now, with Dave Umahi as Chairman of South East governors and his brother as Chairman of South East PDP, it is evident that the game plan is to package Igbos and hand them over to the APC. But this has become a mission impossible and a dead on arrival project.

Down South in Anambra, another Buhari minion is presently fast at work, in what he has codenamed APGA ONE WAY, embarking on an emergency mass road projects in Anambra State, as a bait to get Ndi Anambra to vote for APGA and his new-found APGA presidential candidate, a northerner and by so doing split Anambra votes in disfavor of Peter Obi.  Here is the same man who until now the slogan APGA bu nke anyi. Now is APGA still nkea anyi, somebody ask Obiano.

Buhari with South East Governors
Buhari with Ekweremadu and South-East Governors forum

But Igbos are no fools. Forget Igbo governors and their political ilks. From my finding, Igbos have their irrevocable and irreversible support for one of their own, Peter Obi, his principal, Atiku Abubakar and the PDP as the surest and shortest route to Igbo presidency.  One of our own yes, in spite of his faults and deficiencies which every man has and in spite of any personal grievances anyone may have against Peter Obi, including myself.

Grievances yes, but not exactly that, because I bear no grudge. During his second governorship election, as President of Anambra State Peoples Assembly, ASPA, in Enugu at the time, comprising all Anambrarians resident in Enugu, I and my executive mobilized five luxurious buses that conveyed Anambra citizens resident in Enugu to Anambra State to vote for Peter Obi due to his good performance in office.

During the Anambra State governorship election campaign last year when Peter Obi was rooting for  Obaze for governor, I led about 20 past PGs to a meeting with him at Ezinifite after which he asked me to mobilize more past PGs for another meeting which I did. Well, the rest is now history.

This experience notwithstanding, this time around calls for Igbo sense of patriotism for the common good of Igbo nation and their political future in Nigeria. We must all forget any ill feeling or misgivng against Peter Obi and rally round his campaign and election, realizing that support of every Igbo man and woman for Peter Obi ticket and his principal is very critical as  their victory or loss will have a lasting effect in the lives of Igbo nation for better or for worse.

As for Dave Umahi and Ike Ekweremadu and their Igbo governors accomplices, I can only remind them of the story of Ojukwu, Ndigbo and late Ukpabi Asika. While the former was sweating blood and spending his personal and father’s money in fighting to save Igbos from targeted annihilation, the later was gallivanting with the enemies of Ndigbo as so called administrator of then East Central State while taunting Igbos with the infamous anecdote, “Onye ube lulu, olachaa” . At a stage, Ojukwu was forced into exile at Ivory Coast while  Ukpabi Asika played lord over the vanquished Igbos. While Ojukwu sojourned in exile, scored of eminent Igbos kept sending him support or visiting him to bolster his sprit of survival. The day he eventually  returned to Nigeria in 1983, Enugu, capital of Igboland, could not contain people as the entire Igbos across Nigeria trooped to Enugu airport and Nnewi to give him a hero’s welcome. Ditto the day he was buried, when thousands, even millions came to pay their last tributes to a man of the people.

As for Asika, few people knew what became of him at the end of licking his pears at the Lions building. Still fewer people knew when he died or the day he was buried. He died unsung and was buried like a rat. Could there be a greater curse or nemesis. That should be a dire warning to all who fight against Igbos and their own kith and kin like Dave Umahi and Ike Ekweremadu and their Igbo governors collaborators who are certainly risking a curse, not only on themselves but also on their children and posterity.

Mazi Omife I. Omife

Mbuze Mbaukwu