Don't Cry For Ndigbo Oh Busy Bodies!
The Presidential election in Nigeria of March 28th 2015 is no doubt provided a defining moment in the political annals of our nation state. Apart from the election producing for the very first time a Presidential contender who as an incumbent resisted the uniquely Afrocentric political tendencies of clinging on to power even when the signals are so loud and clear demanding a fundamental change of status quo. Good luck Ebele Jonathan an academic doctorate degree holder in a very rare scientific field Zoology entered Nigeria's political lexicon as the first incumbent President to willingly accept defeat in a hotly and closely run election even before the umpire seen by some to be bent on foisting a particular regional candidate as the eventual winner. Those who followed the coverage of the Presidential election on the Sky news television crew in Kano state would have seen the chaotic scenes created by supporters of the All Progressive Congress who nearly mobbed a PDP party agent for daring to raise his voice against widespread manipulations of the collation of votes in Kano.
There were also cases of underage voters that turned out in huge numbers in most parts of Northern Nigeria whereby the APC candidate produced monumental results against his rival- the incumbent President. The All Progressive Congress also raised considerable concerns on how the electoral process were manipulated reportedly in Akwa Ibom, Rivers State and some parts of South East in favour of the incumbent President and the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party. For the fact that Jonathan refused to play the usual dirty politics of most incumbents to circumvent the popular will of voters means that no matter how you may hate him he has made a landmark political achievement as a legend of democracy. Whenever the most objective history of Nigeria's transitional multiparty democracy would be written his name will occupy a pride of place. Ironically the newly elected President is the only Nigerian alive that has had to wage tge most relentless political litigations in the various election petition Tribunals to challenge his defeats in the past.
Well, the concession speech of Jonathan is a topic for a more elaborate essay some other time but for now my attention is focused towards addressing the 'lizard -headed' triumphalism of some commentators who have hurriedly criticised the Igbo for overwhelming throwing substantial percentage of their Presidential votes to the incumbent President and the candidate of the outgoing national ruling party in the March 28th Presidential and National Assembly elections- PDP. These idiosyncratic and warped -minded commentators also attacked igbos verbally for failing to produce a Senator under the platform of the emerging national ruling party-APC. They said Igbo by this 'miscalculation' has lost out in the national power equations. They forgot about the giant contributions made by some members of APC in the South East towards projecting the Buhari candidacy.
There's this 'holier-than-thou' kind of hollowness embeded in this kind of eccentric and egocentric arguments that because Igbo may not emerge as Senate President therefore the tribe is politically diminished. This is a stupid red -herring because if I remember vividly in the last six or eight years Igbo never produced Senate President or Speaker neither did Igbo produced the President nor the vice and these kind of half- baked rants didn't come up and igbo were not sent on political exile into Siberia. Where cometh these smelly and senseless analyses suggesting that the Igbo will pay political penalty for simply exercising their constitutionally guaranteed human rights during the March 28th 2015 Presidential election? Why are these busy bodies carrying a non existent political head ache? Who says that under constitutional democracy that an Ethnic nationality with such enormous potentials and with a hugely influential republican population scattered all around the World lije Ndigbo will simply sit idly by and allow some opportunistic politicians to deny them of their constitutional rights as citizens of this nation state? Who says that Buhari can govern well without the Igbo? To think this way is to contemplate political suicide.
I'm sad that we are busying ourselves in Nigeria engaging in infantile and largely unproductive and indeed poisonous postulations on which Ethnic Nationality should be bewitched as a result of the spectacular political loses suffered by the Peoples Democratic Party even when our contemporaries all over the developed World and even the fast developing societies are busy developing their scientific and human infrastructures to place their nations and people at higher pedestals of human history. Our contemporaries in Europe are busy building up their technological wherewithal whilst we in Nigeria still engage in 14th century road side arguments around mundane parochial issues of which tribe and religious groups should produce the various holders of national political offices. We are so backward in our peculiar unintelligent way of driving our political process that some states in the North spend huge public resources to marry wives for their adults who are not even in the economically and emotional state of mind to settle down to build their homes. In Imo state for instance Governor Rochas Okorocha at a time gave N250,000 to all autonomous communities in the state to organise Christmas parties. Such is how unproductive our political drivers are. Come to think of it those clamouring for the political exclusion of Igbo in the distribution of political offices have forgotten or now suffer from the collective amnesia of forgetting that virtually all leading actors of the incoming national ruling party were products of the PDP which they now demonise.
I strongly believe that voters in any part of Nigeria must not be victimised because of their popular choices unless we are spoiling for a very prolonged divided nation whose people will become farther and further apart from each other. The danger in allowing these poisonous narratives to shape the texture and components of the coming federal executive cabinet and other national offices is that the little gains made by such agencies as the National Youth Service Corp ( NYSC) will be lost forever and in no distant time serious agitation for breakup of Nigeria will become so disturbing that we will have no choice but to conduct a national referendum to determine our future as a Federation. So General Buhari must watch his steps and follow his conscience in carrying out his national duties in strict compliance with the letters and principles of the Nigerian constitution which in May 29th 2015 he will swear before God and the Nigerian people to adhere to. Let General Buhari not allow tribal and religious warlords to dictate the pace of his administration. He must know that Nigeria is now gravely divided and his first job is to unify all Nigerians to work in partnership with his administration to build a vibrant nation. In seeking to unify Nigerians who are now so fragmented the Presidency of Buhari must stay away from these Ethnic jingoistic Igbo haters and treat all component parts of Nigeria as one. Anything short of this will be resisted vehemently. Igbo haters should let Buhari be.
* Emmanuel Onwubiko is the Head of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria and blogs @www.huriwa.blogspot.com, www.rightsassociationngr.com, www.huriea.org.