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Friday, 7 February 2020

OPINION: See how Igbo Governors are insulting Ndigbo

By Mbuze Mbaukwu

See how Igbo Governors have remained cowards and made South West Governors heroes!

See how Igbo Governors have remained slaves to Myetti Allah leaders because they, not Buhari, promised one of the governors to become the next President!

Imagine how aggressive and militant OPC has been. Nobody stopped them till today. When Yorubas felt that OPC was not enough, their Governors created Amotekun without taking permission from anybody.

Imagine how eminent Yoruba heavyweights such as Femi Falana, Wole Soyinka, Odumakin, Femi Kayode and others came out fully in support of their Governors.

Imagine the Northerners establishing their own security network in the name of 'Shege ka Fasa' security outfit, without taking permission from anybody.

But Igbo Governors had pretended to be sleeping until pressure from Ndigbo forced them to hold an emergency meeting with only one agenda. After the meeting, the chairman of the Igbo Governors Forum, Governor Umahi announced the only agenda of their meeting. And that was to write a letter to President Buhari through the Secretary to the Federal Government
asking for permission to create their own security apparatus!

Before then, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had surprised everybody and formed the intuitive and innovative Forest Guards security project in Enugu State which has been yielding positive results.

One had expected that the South East Governors would immediately follow the example of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi by adopting his Forest Guard model. But this did not happen. Instead, the Igbo Governors went back to the usual game they best know how to play by resorting to letter writing.

Somebody told me, not yet confirmed, that Igbo Governors letter has not even reached the desk of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation but still lying around the table of one of the Special Assistants to the President at Aso Rock.

This negative and servile course of action by South East Governors against the general interest of Ndigbo is not new to most Ndigbo as it has been their stock in trade from day one of the Buhari administration.

The South East Governors did a similar thing on the issue of IPOB when the Igbo governors proscribed IPOB at the behest of the Federal Government even when they lacked the powers to do so.

This was in contrast to other geo-political zones. For instance,  the  OPC leader, Gani Adams, was conferred with one of the highest titles in Yoruba land, Aare Kankafo of Yoruba land by his people and all the South West Govnors were present during the conferment.

Erstwhile leader of Niger Delta militants, Tompolo was also celebrated by Bayelsa people and was rewarded with juicy contracts even by the Federal government.

The South East Governors did similar thing it during 2019 election campaign when a quintessential son of Igbo land, Peter Obi was tipped as running mate to the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar. The issue of a running mate for Atiku had stirred up a hot debate and controversy among PDP leaders from various geo-political zones as to which region should produce the vice presidential candidate.

But Atiku expressed preference in the South East, arguing that Igbos have suffered for the PDP more than any other region and eventually won the support of PDP leadership against intense pressure by the South West.

But Igbo governors would have none of it and rose in unison to oppose the choice of their brother and kinsman. We all know the story, how the South East governors called an emergency meeting to declare their opposition to Obi’s candidature, insisting that Atiku must explain to them the parameter for choosing Peter Obi as his running mate.

When their protest came under heavy fire by Igbos across the country, the governors changed course and manufactured another reason for opposing Obi’s nomination, this time, the failure of Atiku to consult them before making his choice of running mate. This triggered  lot of criticism from Igbos against the Igbo governors.

As further reaction by Igbos against the opposition of Igbo governors to Peter Obi’s nomination, several Igbo groups across the country and the Diaspora began to put pressure on Ohaneze Ndigbo to adopt Atiku/Obi ticket as the Igbo choice candidates in the coming elections, in line with the long tradition of Ohaneze to adopt particular candidates every election season.

After a long period of deliberations and consultations, the apex Igbo organization finally bowed to pressure by adpting the PDP as a party, based on the party’s promise to restructure the country. By adopting PDP, rather than individuals, Ohaneze wittingly covered the interest of Igbo PDP governors who by implication were direct beneficiaries of the Ohaneze declaration. But the Igbo governors refused to see it that way.

Expectedly, the Ohaneze declaration triggered another round of protests by Igbo governors, again led by Obiano and Umahi. While Obiano from Awka, called the Ohaneze leader, Nnia Nwodo, on phone to call him an “idiot”, over the Ohaneze declaration (Obiano later denied he called Nwodo an idiot), Umahi from Abakaliki berated Nwodo for scheduling Ohaneze meeting on the same day Buhari was visiting the South East. This was an Ohaneze meeting that is usually fixed several weeks in advance to enable all stakeholders across Nigeria and the Diaspora to make necessary adjustment to their programmes.

Obiano and Umahi believed that the entire Igbo leaders should suddenly cancel a meeting that had been fixed weeks before to discuss the affairs of Ndigbo because of Buhari’s less than 4-hour visit to the South East or because Buhari was commissioning the decoration of a tomb in Onitsha, call it a mausoleum or what you will, which took Buhari four years to complete as the only visible Federal project in the South East in his four years of administration.

But Obiano and Umahi would rather have Ohaneze Ndigbo cancel a very crucial meeting that touches on the destiny of Igbos to run down to Onitsha to watch Buhari commission a mausoleum when he should be commissioning the second Niger bridge or the Onitsha-Enugu express that had been a death trap for many years, the same road through which Ohaneze members were expected to travel to Onitsha to witness the opening of a tomb.

Then came the count down to the election when Buhari went to Ebonyi State on campaign. Umahi mobilized over 200,000 rented crowd to give a semblance of mass support to the APC. He later turned around after the rally to insult the intelligence of Igbos by publicly announcing how he mobilized people for APC rally so as to prevent APC from being disgraced for lack of supporters. Can you imagine?

Umahi did not stop there. As soon as Buhari left Ebonyi, Umahi showed that his hiring of a crowd for Buhari was not just a joke but a manifestation of his support for APC candidate. He summoned all traditional rulers in his State and ordered them to endorse Buhari, under risk of dethronement. Yet not in one State of the North did traditional rulers endorse either Buhari or Atiku, not even in Buhari’s Katsina home State.

On his part, Obiano also summoned all major stakeholders and APGA ward chairmen in Anambra State and directed that they must deliver their respective communities to APC for the presidential candidate and to APGA for the Senatorial ballot.

On the day of the Presidential election, Igbos in all the states of the South East and all parts of the country trooped out to vote massively for Atiku and Peter Obi including Anambra State  where most communities defied Obiano’s directives by making sure that not one single APGA Senatorial candidate was elected and that Atiku and Peter Obi won by landslide against Buhari.

For one thing, the massive Igbo vote against Buhari was a clear indication that Igbo governors had no followers and supporters and on the contrary, that Igbos have nothing but contempt for their governors.

This is where I doff my heart for our indefatigable Igbo political patriots par excellence whose last minute pep messages to Igbos helped do the final magic of calling out Igbos to the election battle ground to declare their Igboness without fear.

These included Hon. Ugochukwu Agballah and his Igbo Improvement Union who toured all Igbo speaking states and rounded it up at Shoprite. There was also the Osisioma Igbo Dr. Chike Obidigbo, one of the founders of the Anambra State Elders Forum, which met at the Amos House Awka, few days to the election with the attendance of who is who in Igboland to mobilize Anambrarians to vote Atiku/Obi ticket. Then there was the Enugu born political juggernaut, Chief Maxi Okwu who also stormed various parts of the country with his ‘Otu Nkwado Atiku na Obi group’ to awaken Igbos to action.

It is amazing that Igbo Governors in the face of the critical security situation in the South East cannot join other geopolitical zones to defend their people by establishing their own security networks.

This where I commend the wisdom and patriotism of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi in his Forest Guard initiative which has made tremendous positive impact on the security situation in Enugu State.

If only the other South Governors will show similar zest for the lives and property of their people by towing the path of Governor Ugwuanyi without all the groveling to Abuja to seek permission that may come very late or never be granted.

Mazi Omife I. Omife
Mbuze Mbaukwu

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