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2011: IN SUPPORT OF OHANEZE NDIGBO

By NBF News
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AS a stakeholder in Igbo affairs, I was for once proud that the apex Igbo Socio-Cultural Association Ohaneze Ndigbo took a position on the issue of zoning Nigeria's presidency in 2011. Indeed, the decision must have come from the finest political thinkers of our generation.

For example, how can anyone justify the fact that Nigeria shares everything we have on six geo-political zonal structures, but on this singular issue of presidency the north is emphasising North and South, for no other reason than political expediency?

For over forty years, the North whether under military or civilian leadership has held sway in the affairs of the nation. They created states and local governments in such a skewed manner as to favour their region.

They sited federal industries as it suited them, not to mention political appointments, through which many advantages were unfairly conferred on the region. A typical example is the appointment to certain positions which had been reserved for the North over the decades. Such positions became no- go areas for some regions but the exclusive preserve of the North, and in these imbalances especially the South East was unfairly treated.

For the purpose of factual analysis, such positions were Chief of Army Staff, Police IG, Minister of FCT, NSA, Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Water Resources, Comptroller General of Customs, and High Commissioner to the UK. This is just to mention a few of the areas of marginalisation. Come to think of it what was the justification for this warped arrangement, where the best in a society are sidelined in preference for mediocrity?

Pity enough, some bootlickers among us who are satisfied with the crumbs from the master's table have been preaching to us the benefit accruable from a Northern zoned presidency, as if we are still living in the past.

Their position is however understandable, for it is by the magnanimity of their ' masters' that they became millionaires when their potentials can make them trilionaires. So as Lilliputians they settle for crumbs when they can be the ones sharing the cake. By so doing they underestimate their God-given potentials and undermine our pride as a people.

If I may ask which experience has a 70 year old man got to navigate the ship of a state like Nigeria in this present digital world?  It has been acknowledged by all and sundry that the world has moved forward since the 80s and in most countries you find young men and women less than 45 presiding over the affairs of their nation.

Why should Nigeria retrogress to the old ways, even as the world leaves us behind? If we are to go by statistics, most laudable achievements across the world, whether in business, science, academia, leadership, perhaps except religion have been accomplished by the young generation.

To avoid derailing from my set goal in this article I hold a tenacious view that Ohaneze Ndigbo has by their position put the issues at stake in their proper perspective. At no time has any other regional body, organisation or individual captured the situation as it ought to be as what Ohaneze has done. Rather than vilify them we must eulogise them for they have set a new agenda and political thinking where many have been running round in circles.

The point must also be made here that history abhors sitting on the fence on serious political issues, moreso in a politically heterogeneous society like Nigeria. Society is always dynamic.

If truly justice and fairness are what we seek in Nigeria then effort must be made to wholesomely adopt the Ohaneze's  position as far as the issue of zoning the presidency is concerned.

Only a fool will sit down somewhere and pontificate to us that out of the six zones in Nigeria, four have held power at the highest level, and one even has seven states, leaving only the South East and South South in the lurch, with the South East having the least number of states - five. If I am to educate such nincompoops, the implication is that the South East have the least number of local governments in Nigeria, with the consequence that we receive the least federal revenue, despite that we are the most productive.

Do such apologists of zoning also know that Jigawa and Kano states alone have more local governments in Nigeria than the entire South East put together. Yet Igbos are known to be the largest ethnic group in Nigeria, notwithstanding the 'abracadabra' of Nigeria's census counts.

Therefore, for all it is worth, a support for Jonathan is a step in the right direction for I believe as someone who wears the shoes, he knows where they pinch. He will be in a position to right the wrongs and give justice to all.

To further amplify his desire to make amends he has upgraded Enugu Airport to International status. Don't forget that Yola, which has less than 10 per cent in traffic, has been an international airport for over a decade.

What an insult! President Jonathan has also appointed an Igbo man Chief of Army Staff. This is the first in over 40 years, and any student of strategic policy ought to know that a Chief of Army is more important than a Police IG and a Chief of Defence staff put together in a clime like ours, where the army has made and unmade political situations.

Mr. Chukwudi ENEKWECHI, a journalist, writes from Abuja.