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DEFENDING THE IGBO INTEREST

PHOTO: CHAIRMAN, FORUM OF SOUTH EAST GOVERNORS AND ANAMBRA STATE GOVERNOR, MR PETER OBI.
PHOTO: CHAIRMAN, FORUM OF SOUTH EAST GOVERNORS AND ANAMBRA STATE GOVERNOR, MR PETER OBI.

A lot has happened to the Igbo nation with the end of the civil war but the consistent destruction of their economic means of livelihood is something that must be addressed quickly by all concerned. It is of utmost concern because reversal of the present trend promises to impact positively on the economic recovery efforts of the Federal government of Nigeria.

Like other tribes in Nigeria the Igloos must come together to articulate and defend their collective interest in Nigeria. The other day, I read that the Arewa socio political organization representing Northern interests had called on all political parties to field only Northerners in the 2011 elections. We have often heard the stand of the Odua on critical issues spoken through their political organs such as AD and even AC. Of course these are national political parties but they draw their strength from the Western zone of the federation. These interests are legitimate and are to be encouraged in a political system for they form the very basis of consensus in the polity. Unfortunately the Igbos have not provided the necessary balance by properly articulating and defending their organic interest through unique political organization as well as associations. It is only the Igbo nation that fails to reach a consensus in any thing. The result is all so glaring in the utter neglect of her economy, infrastructures, and even human resources.

The Role of the tribe as well as of other geo political bodies in political development of a nation cannot be over emphasized. These bodies are like the building block of the polity because they form the basis for cohesion and consensus building which obeys the laws of nature. They help reestablish trust in organized politics since they are likely to be backed be tradition and culture. Unfortunately the tribe was given a bad name in the course of the civil war as a divide and rule tactics to defeat an enemy. Ever since the tribe has become a taboo for those south East of the Niger but a source of glory for the North. What happens is the introduction of imbalance which translates to both political instability as well as distrust in the polity. In the south East of predominantly Igbos, the effect has been very damaging.

Today there is no culture or tradition in the South East that cannot be changed for political expediency. Where culture and tradition is relegated corruption fills the gap. The worst practices of which includes everything that is done to get money. Call it 419,murder, manipulation, lies, kidnapping etc. Today it happens to be the worst of the products from the Igbo society that stays at the top having the access to undo their people and keep them in bondage forever.

Just look at the Igbo States and then look at Ohaneze and the topics that are important to it in the national discourse and you will weep for the zone. Then consider the roads- yes federal and state roads in Aba the business hub of Nigeria and you will recognize that the Igbos are really in a big mess in the articulation of their interests. On the other hand you begin to see how the immobility of a tribe has compounded the Nigerian economic woes in the alter of tribal cohesion fears. It is so pathetic that we are still fighting the civil war decades after No victor no vanquished was declared by Gen. Yakubu Gowon in 1970.I feel it is unpardonable for the Igbo tribe to become so demobilized as not to be allowed to fight for basic self determination which sustains the organic nature of the Nigerian federation and boosts its overall economy which ideally should rest in the hands of this hard working group.

This article is intended to help the Igbo tribe get back to its feet by explaining to the wider nation the positive role of strong subgroups such as the tribe in nation building. Today Nigeria remains in between Nation hood and tribal loyalty. What we want to do is to allow tribe and religion to exist and grow strong at the second tier of governance-that is at the state and regional levels. At the National level citizenship determines what policies come about but at the states the influence of the tribes should be encouraged and recognized. It is only when the tribes are allowed to hold and defend their collective interest that corruption and rigging will be a thing of the past in elections. The reason being that the sustenance and the growth of a tribe is paramount for politicians representing their localities. You are less likely to have representatives of the Igbo nation representing interests that are at variance with the development of their tribe. I shed tears seeing politicians of Igbo extraction living profligate lives without anyone able to call them to order. They drive their costly armored jeeps across the bad roads of Aba without any pain of conscience. They sit in judgment and loot their states dry without any drawback instead they damage the self respect of the Igbo man in their words thoughts and deeds. How can you be so successful when your people are so poor and wretched? How can you lead from behind when the States are begging for direction a school leavers are roaming the streets?

The destruction of the famed Igbo industry will also spell the destruction of the Nigerian economy. It is no laughing matter because everybody will be affected by it. It is time conscious efforts are made at the national levels to encourage the Igbo resurgence if only to help liberate Nigeria from today's grip of poverty. This task will be a part of the Nigerian revolution because it will help change for the better a lot of things contrary to erstwhile generally held opinions. Let the Igbo States take a few steps b convening an economic summit. Here all the hindrances to productivity will be x-rayed by knowledgeable people and invited are the leaders of Nigeria to share this information.

Financed jointly by the States and federal agencies of planning and development, this summit will make recommendations on political structure, governance structures, finance, federal presence, economy, socio-cultural review, and environment.

After the summit and its recommendations, a permanent body is set up to implement recommendations in a regional format akin to the Odua or Arewa formations. It will have a political arm and economic arm akin to Chamber of Commerce. It will draw statutory funding from the States and Federal government in grants like the NDDC. It will be a planning and execution body with powers to help make policy for the Igbo States in line with other tribal formations. In essence it should be a pressure group not necessarily for political positions but oversee all joint projects of vital Igbo interest and build cooperation with other regional groups as well as with the Federal Government.

It is important that the Eastern States also achieve this kind of organization without which they cannot hope to even become a serious contender to the leadership of Nigeria. The South South cannot hope to make National impact with hatred of the Igbo nation carried forward from the civil war times. Nature has made it that both sides work together and no man can destroy it without harming himself It is a natural la that political alliances are meaningful hen starting from home not from abroad. So you cannot simply have a minority majority in one life time unless the laws will have to be turned upside down and such a thing will affect everyone alike.

The south South must build consensus with the south East to impact positively in Development. It will help create the necessary balance and obey natural laws and be sustainable. So the revival of the Igbo nation will benefit the South South the most and should be seen as of their utmost interest. So why not join hands with the South East Governors to reactivate Electricity, Roads, and industry in the East? It is the best way of achieving cohesion in the nation's energy hub as well. As soon as Nigerians learn to see the progress of their neighbor as also theirs we would have made tremendous progress and the state of Federal roads or electricity in Abia State will also send tears to many an eye.

Mr. Nworisara is a former Presidential aspirant of the SDP.

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Articles by Nwokedi Nworisara