WHAT IS IGBO POLITICAL SHARE IN TODAY'S NIGERIA (OLE KA NDIGBO KETERE)
IT MUST BE UNDERSTOOD THAT BEFORE NOW NDIGBO HAD BOTH THE CHAIRMAN OF PDP AND THE DEPUTY SENATE PRESIDENT; THE CURRENT DEPUTY SPEAKER WAS PICKED BY THE SPEAKER TO ENHANCE HIS CHANCE IN THE SPEAKERSHIP CONTEST, PUT DIFFERENTLY, HE IS NOT A PRODUCT OF POWER SHARING.
In 1999 when Nigeria finally embraced democracy, Ndigbo got the position of Senate President- the number 3 spot in Nigeria. The position was not a bad one considering the fact that the military regime of General Abdulsalami Abubaker had wanted to compensate the South–West over the annulment of June 12 election to which it deployed it power to install Obasanjo as the President of Nigeria. Throughout the regime of Obasanjo, Ndigbo maintained the number 3 position.
It must be understood that the number 3 position donated to Ndigbo in 1999 was born out of Obasanjo’s personal recognition of Ekwueme’s gallantry in Jos convention of our party-the way and manner he accepted defeat in the primary election made OBJ to reward him with the post. He however, rejected it and instead, suggested that his friend, Senator Onyeabor Obi should be given the position, which never was. The rest is now history. Ndigbo must be reminded that the number three position donated to Dr. Ekwueme in 1999 by Obasanjo was not based on Ndigbo’s support for the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP], it was personal, and then it became a position for the South-East.
The Chairmanship position given to South-East in 2007 when Obasanjo decided to compensate the family of his late friend, General Musa Yar’Adua with the position of President was clearly an afterthought. Ndigbo’s acceptance of the post of Chairman, even though the post alone, was not commensurate with her contribution to PDP in 2007; was born out of the belief that the party will deem it necessary to reward the zone in 2015 with the Presidency of Nigeria.
Now, with the election of Dr. Good-luck Jonathan, what then is the share of Ndigbo in Nigeria presently [Ole Ka Ndigbo Ketere]? Some people have tried severally to justify the appointment of Senator Pius Anyim by President Jonathan as the Secretary to the Federal Government as a very important post that befits Ndigbo’s contribution in PDP. The holders of this view apparently did not understand the genesis of SFG and by extension, the meaning of, and working of a democratic government at all. In a democratic arrangement, the term Secretary to the Federal Government [SFG] did not exist. It must be known that in politics, elective position is different from appointive one.
Origin of Secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria [SFG]
The position of the Secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria was a creation of our colonial master, as secretary of colony [principal secretary to the colonial head of State] which suited successive military regimes organogram in Nigeria. Of course in terms of command structure, there is no difference between Colonial regime and the Military government. Due generally to the fact that the military as an institution is not structured to provide leadership, when it shot itself to power, the administration finds it difficult to understand the language of the civil servants that constitute the bureaucracy. To check the resultant communication gap this lack of synergy between the military authority and the civil servants could through-up, the military appoints a go between, called the Secretary to the military government, who is usually a retired permanent secretary. The reason for the appointment is that a retired permanent secretary understands the language of the civil service. So under a military regime, the position of SFG is powerful and influential, this is not the case in a democratic government.
The Concept of Separation of Power in Democracy and the Fallacy of SFG Position.
The fact that democracy presupposes independence of the three arms of government effectively exposes the position of SFG as a huge fallacy. To start with, is it possible for an independent arm of government to encroach on the independence of another? The answer to this question is simple; it is not possible; otherwise the situation becomes a dictatorial one. How did Anyim’s occupation of the position of SFG translate to political position to Ndigbo, when we know that Federal Government as obtainable in democracy is a trinity, with each arm having its independence. The so-called SFG has coordinate power with, Clerk of the National Assembly and the Registrar of the Supreme Court. Generally, the appropriate title for the SFG is, Secretary of Executive Council or Executive Tender Secretary. In order of protocol, it is not too high up there; it also did not befit Ndigbo’s effort in PDP. Come to think of it, what is the role of SFG, considering the fact that immediately the National Assembly passes budget in a given year, all the ministries, parastatals and other agencies are responsible for their budgets with National Assembly performing its over sight function on them?
It is apparent that, Ndigbo are yet to get her share in the current dispensation. [Ndigbo eketebehu ihe-obuna]. Will Ndigbo then be left out in the scheme of things, put differently; will they allow themselves to be dumped behind in the political system in this dispensation? It could be recalled that in the heat of the zoning controversy in PDP, President Good-luck Jonathan came out to say that PDP only zones those offices it had absolute control over. As the leader of the party, are we to accept no position as our portion in his administration?
The questions Ndigbo ask are, has PDP sacrificed Ndigbo in Jonathan’s government? How come our party maintained status quo in sharing other offices, only to remain salient on position of Ndigbo? Or is PDP now telling us that it has no control over the position shared to Ndigbo, since the current arrangement shows that the party is maintaining the existing order of position sharing.
Clearly, there is a slow but steady move to scheme Ndigbo out of relevance in PDP, with the donation to her, a non existing post of SFG, which does not guarantee access to the ruling party. This is not acceptable. Since our collective support for Dr. Good-luck Jonathan without negotiation has made us “price taker” in our democratic market, it has become obvious that Ndigbo good intension has become her political doom.
On Chairmanship Position we must stand!
Ndigbo must get her rightful position of Chairman of PDP, which Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo held until he was chased out. Anything short of this position will be politically resisted by Ndigbo. The Constitution of PDP makes it clear on when and how our Chairman will emerge. Ndigbo has not exhausted the time allocated to her on the Chairmanship position therefore, there is no vacancy; enough of this potentially dangerous move to castrate Ndigbo politically.
Senator [Chief] Francis Arthur Nzeribe, lives in Haven of Peace Oguta, Imo State.