SOUTH EAST GOVS AND A GOODLUCK ROMANCE
Before the dust the South East PDP governors raised settles over nothing, may I quickly join many other South Easterners to ask what must have informed their grandstanding on President Goodluck Jonathan for 2011.
Early this month, we read a position from the three South East governors of the PDP extraction that they don't have interest in contesting the presidential election next year.
The statement had an undertone of resolving to queue behind President Goodluck Jonathan. It was understandably so because he is the one that holds the right end of the cudgel in the party for being in power.
Yes, some of us can also take positions on who to support although we are not PDP members. Our decisions are to a large extent inconsequential since our votes make no impact in deciding who wins the election. In my 40s, I have decided to learn to vote for the first time next year if things go well as expected under Prof. Attahiru Jega. That is the irony of Nigeria's democratic system where citizens in the 40s never voted before because they know their votes would make no difference.
But it becomes unpardonable a blunder when it involves those whose antics count in deciding who gets power.
I watched the mood of my people since the public pronouncement and have not seen a move in the direction of reaping any dividend from that position. The import of the stance is that they have decided for all of us in a one-party state as ours.
I am not a politician, but I don't need to be in who-is-who to know exactly what is what. It is not until I join a party for political struggle before I know that political negotiation is power sharing. In power sharing, all is targeted at profit. Nobody gets into a deal without having a stake and, in fact, defining what his terms are.
The way things go right now, I have not understood what is the bargaining chip of our PDP governors that led them into their conclusion. In 1999, all Igbo queued behind PDP. They said we voted in moon slide fashion for the party. We waited with outstretched hands for the manna that accompanies a support, and at last I don't think we saw it. One day, I had audience with one of the governors of the South East of the same PDP in about 2007. I asked him to please roll out the benefits we (Nd'Igbo) got from PDP for the massive support especially our Onitsha-Owerri road that has defied completion in 11 years of the party as at today. He wandered off into the evil forest of self-deceit, and at last never found his way back in giving me a specific answer. He tried telling the story of how Igbo people frustrate contracts awarded their area by the FG. I listened and laughed, and also cried. I laughed because I know he knew he could not deceive me with such tissue of fallacies in what I know how it functions. I cried because it wasn't a kind of one-on-one forum where you would consistently press your point to pin him down. I know contracts by the FG are awarded by FG, handled by the FG, supervised by the FG and certified by the FG. So if someone tells you that the governors in the South East stopped the fixing of the Enugu-Aba or Enugu-Onitsha expressway, he is a jester.
In 2007, Obasanjo and his co-travellers, including the Igbo PDP, zoned presidency to the North. The late Umar Yar'Adua picked the slot after all other contestants had been deceived in a grand political backstab.
The Igbo PDP members queued behind him. His cohorts who trade with our collective rights as it is done all over Nigeria with the commoner bullied us on how the best thing to us would be Yar'Adua. We accepted, but we only heard of the promised land and never saw it like Moses or ever got there.
Early last year, Prof. Miriam Ikejiani-Clark of UNN gave me copy of a lecture she delivered at the convocation of the Anambra State University on November 18, 2008. Professorially, she listed 76 federal appointments, with names of appointees, Yar'Adua had made between May 2007 and that November (18 months)
Take the bombshell: Yar'Adua had appointed 39 northerners (of the three zones. That gives an average of 13 per zone, all things at par)
He allocated 23 of his appointments to the South South. The South West had 10 and the South East had just four. The four were: Dr. Ifeoma Amobi, Senior Special Assistant, Development Matters; Akachukwu Nwakpo, Special Assistant, Special Duties; Dr. Austin Amadi, Special Assistant, Mrs. Esther Mary Obi, Special Assistant. I know he also appointed Senator Polycarp Nwite Special Adviser on politics. But that should have been after Ikejiani-Clark's period of focus.
With this list, you don't need any soothsayer to show you whether the masterminds of our massive support for Yar'Adua did it for their people or for selves. We swung back to the days of the locusts, the days of empty bargain.
Before Yar'Adua left us, he had earlier dropped Prof. Chukwuma Soludo from the Central Bank of Nigeria and they in unison railroaded him into a wild goose chase in Anambra guber. That loss to the South East swelled the ranks of the North. So was Akunyili dropped in 2007 by Yar'Adua and made a minister and that slot went up north (North Central). But the DG of SON, Dr. John Akanya from North Central, completed his ninth year last May, and nobody had mooted his replacement after overstaying two tenures by 14 months.
Later this year, the terribly vilified Prof. Maurice Iwu went the same way. Recently, Donald Duke revealed to us the real people that rigged the elections and counted Iwu out. Ernest Ndukwe of the Nigeria Communications Commission joined the train.
There was such drop in mantle of headship of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) last year. The man from the South East who was the most senior waited in vain as acting DG for eternity until they showed him the way out for a DG from another region.
Sometime early this month, there was rumour that Jonathan had picked a successor for Ernest Ndukwe in the NCC. A name from the South East was mentioned. All of a sudden that has changed again for another from the South South whose name has been submitted to the Senate for confirmation.
Goodluck Jonathan has made several appointments since he came, I can only remember one going to the South East in the power sector reform given to Prof. Barth Nnaji, the super competent wizard.
Jonathan has shown signs of travelling the same old road - the peculiar hide-and-seek between the presidents and Nd'Igbo on one hand and between Nd'Igbo leaders in PDP and their kinsmen who they cheat on the other. They are the super kidnappers. While their less powerful people kidnap selectively, they kidnap a collective Peter to pay a selective Paul.
I ask again, with the way Jonathan is driving steadily towards negativity against Nd'Igbo in the appointments so far like Yar'Adua, of what value is this support stunt the South East PDP governors mounted for him on our behalf. Maybe at the end of this outing, they will own up to failure like Chief Achike Udenwa told media men two days before he disengaged that the Igbo governors failed Nd'Igbo.
As Jonathan woes other regions with appointments like the North with Vice President and INEC chairmanship, he strips us of the few we had and replaces us with others. For goodness sake, these men should watch and tell us on time if they entered into a bargain as charitable politicians - strings not attached. Having started this way, maybe Rehoboam will scorch Nd'Igbo with scorpions unlike his father, Solomon, who whipped them with canes.