In Defense of Ijeoma Nwogwugwu: Joe Igbokwe's Disillusion on Democracy and Tinubu


In a democratic society, key principles include free and open elections and the rule of law.   But, I am constantly astonished at the inability of otherwise intelligent and 'purpose' driven people in Nigeria to grasp this simple point. In his piece 'Ijeoma  Nwogwugwu And Her Tinubu's God Complex Theory,' Mr. Igbokwe's rush to admonish Ms. Nwogwuwgu and extol Asiwaju simply exposed an inconsistency in his democratic ideals and raises a couple of questions: Was Mr. Igbokwe paid to rebrand Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, while ignoring the series of serious undemocratic culture in ACN? Is he seeking attention from Asiwaju? Has he suddenly forgotten his love of protection the public from corrupt government officials and defending democratic ideals?  

  I asked the last question because I've been following Mr. Igbokwe's writing for some time now and his piece on Ijeoma is very disappointing to say the least. He seems to be spiting water and fire from the same mouth thatI can only conclude that something is wrong somewhere. I will explain.  

  In his piece 'Atiku's Emergence: A Soft Landing For IBB'   published November 23, 2010, Joe Igbokwe   wrote, 'I want PDP to be liquidated and destroyed as a political Party in Nigeria for us to make progress.' Here, you will sense Mr. Igbokwe's zeal to see any corrupt and undemocratic system destroyed. Mr Igbokwe had also at one time challenged Chief Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu (when Ikemba said that Ndigbo should vote for IBB) saying that 'Ikemba Nnewi may need to do more explanations on what IBB did for South East during his 9 years in office as President.' In all these, Mr. Igbokwe was right. The problem with Mr. Igbokwe and his likes now is that they think that the fight for democracy in Nigeria stops the moment IBB is scared from contesting or when PDP is somehow 'destroyed.'  

  They are however missing the point. The process of democratization, once begun, needs to be sustained. This is the more difficult challenge we face. We have just made a beginning towards democratization. But the institutions of democracy are not in place yet and have to be made functional. This is what we should all be fighting for at all levels and in all institutions. That is the substance. This is the best way to make democratic process permanent. This way, we can hold emissaries responsible and accountable in fair and free ballots once every four years.  

  We are still very far off from the Promised Land and no believer in democracy should start clapping yet. Where are the IBB must be crucified crusaders? Are they happy with the just concluded primary elections?   Do they think INEC is taking the right steps to a credible election? Have they like Mr. Igbokwe relapsed into a state of tired inertia and becoming opportunistic?  

  In another piece titled, 'Democracy In Nigeria: How Do We Break These Curses?' published June 30, 2010, Mr. Igbokwe gave a narration of how Chief Obafemi Awolowo 'cursed that this generation of Nigerians may never see true democracy in our lifetime.' He then concluded by asking 'how do we break these curses to move forward?'  

  Mr. Igbokwe should be informed that what Ijeoma Nwogwugwu did in her piece 'Tinubu's God complex,' is the first step to breaking the 'curses' (if there was any) and moving Nigeria forward. Nigerian democracy cannot be built on the backs of the likes of Asiwaju, Buhari, ACN or CPC that cannot conduct an ordinary primary election at the ward level.  

  My concern is that rather than focusing on the substance of the challenges we face as a democracy in transition, we appear to be once more chasing shadows and defending the indefensible. Does Mr. Igbokwe think that if eventually ACN wins the national election, they will overnight discard their culture of candidate imposition on their party members? Does he think that if ACN and other opposition parties cannot democratize internally, that they will strengthen structures of rule of law, free and fair election when they are in power?  

  Mr. Igbokwe should be reminded that democratic principles and institutions are being consistently hollowed out and rendered mock in ACN by election fraud, exclusionary policies, cronyism, corruption, intimidation, and collusion with so called party leaders. And that is not the kind of opposition we are want as an option to PDP.  

  Finally, Mr. Igbokwe should know that character isn't inherited. One builds it daily by the way one thinks and acts, thought by thought, action by action. We didn't inherit corruption neither did we inherit election rigging from our forefathers. What is presently going on in ACN and other opposition political parties is undemocratic and should be condemned by all including Mr. Igbokwe.  

  So other than 'educating' Ms Ijeoma Nwogwugwu, Mr. Igbokwe   (I'm now paraphrasing him) need to do more explanations on what Asiwaju has done to strengthen democratic principles and structures within ANC and Nigeria at large in the last concluded primaries.   Churchill Okonkwo can be reached @