By Obasi Igwe
Many Igbo in the APC are there for several reasons:
One of them is that most politics is party-based, so an actor has to belong to one to play it. For some reason, we chose the APC.
Secondly, some of us who believe ourselves to be progressives, social democrats, or left-wing since our student days, just swallowed hook, line, and sinker, the false claims and pretences of “progressives” in the APC, not knowing it’s a vehicle to pursue a hate-filled, bloody ethnoreligious, feudal Caliphatic agenda concealed by its CPC faction.
We have certainly been fooled, but still hang on in (forlorn?) hope that the other wings (ACN, ANPP, etc) would get their acts together and come back to progressive life. This appears better than imagining ourselves harloting across to any other corrupt party, and probably only to change again when the mischief once more happens.
It’s a matter of principle that Nigerian traditional politicians care little about. We are not happy with the disaster imposed on Nigeria since mid-2015, for many reasons cannot wage a physical war of national liberation against it, and have no wherewithal to form our own parties. So, we move on somehow from where we are, nevertheless unyielding in the progressive ideas.
Thirdly, as a protest against the very annoying stupidities of corrupt people (PDP) who would have power without knowing its value beyond money, filthy lucre.
Examples galore. Obasanjo and Jonathan would not reopen and develop the Southern coastal ports lest they recreate another pole of development in the East and the Igbo would benefit. They preferred a continued denial of Port Harcourt, Bonny, and Opobo to the Igbo and the destruction, impoverishment, and separation of Igbo communities in the Rivers State nicknamed “independent ethnic nationalities” at artificial war with their five-states kith and kin in the hinterland, then the prosperity of the Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa-Cross states, with spillover effects into the Igbo hinterland, across the Middle Belt and up to Lake Chad. They invested so much energy to promote and sustain a lie that the Igbo that ruled the waves for centuries before colonialism and opened, developed, and owned many coastal ports, had no coastal history, and not of the coast.
They made sure that the Igbo had a smaller official population, fewer states and LGAs, and lower representations and allocations. Igbo would probably pay more taxes, have more “criminals” and prisoners, bigger in the streets, churches, farms, and markets, but all of a sudden, once it is PVCs and “votings”, the populations of some other ethnic groups that were absent or lesser in other indices, begin to surge beyond bounds.
Northwest now has “24” or so million registered voters amidst the chaos of “banditry,” but where the corresponding taxpayers are hidden is not known; and if there is such an active population, why the dependence on southern oil and other wealth for sustenance? And, because the Igbo suffer more in this false design, southern leaders like Obasanjo and Jonathan continued to sustain the lie, merely permitting their Igbo hands to steal the little they could, without in any way subscribing to the development of Igboland or making sure the military-security services never again became cornered against any sections of the country.
Therefore, some of us joined the APC, not at all out of hatred of other tribes or “the North,” but in the hope of a more honest attitude to governance, which would be favourable to all Nigerians including the Igbo.
We are not in the APC so as to join in killing our own Igbo people, to demonstrate our “patriotism” by supporting injustice against our people, or to say “thank you” to whoever is doing so. We want every Nigerian to be treated equally and justly and allowed to live in peace with one another.
It will interest whoever wishes to know that there is not a single Igbo appointee or member of the federal cabinet, regardless of his failings elsewhere, that has thanked or praised Buhari for his 97% and 5% policies, the orchestrated atrocities in the East, or other targeted policies to harm the Igbo. They just keep quiet and have him destroy the country, imagining that he is destroying only the Igbo.
In the case of H.E. Peter Obi, though we the Igbo might in the beginning have criticised some of his policies as governor, but never so his person, and never his presidential ambition.
Peter Obi is a worthy son of the Igbo and Nigeria, we are very proud of him, and his presidency is a Nigerian, not Igbo, project; so, many Igbo in the APC still wish him well, and cannot join the likes of Sam Omatseye in using his candidacy to wage a renewed war against the Igbo or bitterness against our own tribesmen or someone else.
While the other candidate is fighting hard for a Fulani-to-Fulani transfer of power at a time of a felt Fulani-led or authored terrorist disaster in Nigeria, Obi satisfies the yearning for a Nigerian presidency of Igbo extraction or origin, and he and the Asiwaju, for a southern presidency.
If Omatseye loves his candidate or means well for him, let him use The Nation Newspaper platform to market his qualities and manifesto instead of wasting his energies on wishing Obi dead, mobilizing bias against the Igbo, or using Biafra, IPOB, MASSOB, and other elements of the Igbo resistance against injustice, to blackmail the Igbo nation.
Obi will not die, and no candidate should.
Our good Itsekiri elites might be wealthy, but not so their masses; there are existential issues with the Bini, Ijaw, and Urhobo over Warri, etc., and Omatseye can use his influence to ensure a settlement favourable to all sides. This is a better occupation than his Igbo betting.
Igbo in the APC are faced with a difficult choice. In this Hobson’s dilemma, they don’t like to be traitors to their party and are therefore duty-bound to support its decisions. But, there is not a single Igbo that is happy that the affirmative presidency, a principle that had all along been used in distributing values in Nigeria, including rotating the office from Yoruba to Fulani to Ijaw to Fulani again, would be abandoned by both the PDP, APC, and other parties when it becomes the turn of the Igbo, with people quoting merits, competences, laws, and constitutions that were not quoted for others.
The way to resolve this contradiction is to leave it to the manifestos of the parties and the unrigged choice of the peoples, not the ethnic hatreds, bitterness, lies, and innuendos being canvassed by Sam Omatseye and his likes, or the PVCs and ballot rigging being prepared for as seemingly unfolding.
Igwe, retired professor of Strategic Politics at the UNN wrote from Nsukka