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A Wind of Change in the East. by:Reuben Abati

Source: pointblanknews.com
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There is a wind of change sweeping through our country, Nigeria today.

And it is a wind that is ushering in new possibilities and opportunities across board. Politically, the country has been growing in the last couple of years.

The west, south, north or east, the news is the same.

This wind of change is most evidenced earlier this month when Nigerians stood up to make their voices loudly heard on some of the tough economic decisions being taken by the federal government of Nigeria. While the strike and protests lasted both Nigerians and Nigeria's political leadership conducted themselves in a way that showed that we all have the interest of our country at heart.

Doomsday prophets went to the mountain top to shout that Nigeria has taken the Arab spring trail. But one fact is: Nigerians/Nigeria is more sophisticated than that. The Arabs just woke up from half a century of slumber, when we have at different times fought the military to standstill-ask Gen.

Ibrahim Babangida and his co travellers, we even fought a war!

Just last year, the country went to the polls to peacefully elect their leaders at federal and state levels. Even our hypocritical perennial critics, the West, praised our conduct during the elections. Despite the current temporary hardship, Nigerians, especially the youth shows more determination in their resolve to make the country a better place than ever.

As the wind of change blows across the country, the intensity seems to be so strong in the southeast region. Although politically, the southeast has always been very active not withstanding some teething challenges.

The region even went to war to protect their rights and dignity. At all levels of our of Nigeria's life the Igbo has always been very active. As a matter of fact, the Igbo man/woman has paid the most price for the unity and progress of Nigeria.

However, despite the sacrifices, Ndigbo have made to keep Nigeria one, at the political leadership level they have always taken the second fiddle role, especially in the post civil war Nigeria. This situation has been due to some salient misconducts of a few Igbo politicians.

Usually, a few inordinately ambitious and hungry politicians do anything, including selling out against the collective interest of their people just to acquire a few crumbs from the master's table.  This malady had kept the Igbo political leadership in perpetual disarray until recently.

For instance, by the turn of the century when Nigeria returned to democratic rule, the scheming of a few hungry Igbo politicians adequately ensured that Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Nigeria's former Vice President's presidential ambition was truncated in Jos in 1998. 

And after this abysmal outing, the Igbo political leadership was summarily thrown into confusion. It became to thy tent oh Israel After the Jos saga every Igbo politician became a law to himself and always had something to say, no matter whose ox was gored.

The Igbo well evolved democratic ethos was then exploited by politicians to the shame of the entire race! It became a rat race where life for the Igbo politician and political leadership became brutish and short! And ultimately, the cancerous syndrome of "pull him down” PhD, quickly set in.

However, with the new wind of change blowing across the land, especially in the east, the story is now remarkably different. As evidenced by recent happenings in that hardworking region.

The eastern political terrain is now an epitome of the spirit of esprit the corps. Today, Igbo political leadership is evolving in a way that is benefiting all and sundry. As at today, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy Senate President is the highest ranking political office holder from the southeast geopolitical zone and this has been so for the past four years.

It confounds cynics that there has not been rancor in the political leadership of the east for this long! Senator Ekweremadu has conducted the affairs of the region's political leadership, nay Nigeria in a most inspiring manner. Through his sagacious and urbane leadership style the southeast is today gradually reaping the hitherto elusive dividends of democracy. A few examples will suffice.

Stability of the political system, despite the fact that in the southeast of today, at least three different political parties hold sway, the region has remained cohesive in their push for programmes and agitations that will move the region forward. Due to coherence of purpose, the southeast and specifically, Ebonyi state today hosts a new federal university.

Ordinarily, all the states in the region would fought dirty and perhaps loose out for lack of agreement, but no state raised objection to the choice of Ebonyi state.

Similarly, while past administrations at the federal level made empty promises on the all important second River Niger Bridge, its on record, however, that it is only this time that a concrete step-budgetary allocation, is accorded that project.

Today, most federal roads in the east is getting the needed attention, Enugu-Onitsha, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Enugu-Abakaliki and many others are currently undergoing repairs or reconstruction. Political appointment in the east has since become less rancorous.

This diametrically contrasts the time of President Olusegun Obasanjo, when the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, controlled all the five states in the zone and yet there were so many rancors that the region practically lost its voice! During this period,  the powerful post of the President of the Senate was zoned to the southeast and due to lack of cohesion at the political leadership level, the turnover of senate presidents from the southeast was so high and frequent that by the time Obasanjo's terms elapsed all the southeast states had produced a senate president! They include, in succession, Senators Evan(s) Enwerem, Imo, Chuba Okadigbo, Anambra, Adolphus Wabara, Abia, Anyim Pius Anyim and Ken Nnamani, Enugu.

However, with the election of Senator Ike Ekweremadu into the office of the Deputy Senate President in June 2007 there was a total paradigm shift.

Through the urbane style of the senator he was able synergize the powers of the political gladiators from the southeast and the region today remains the most cohesive in terms of political aspiration. Of course, not that Senator Ekweremadu single handedly made it happen. What is interesting is his capacity to appeal to wide range of interests without raising unnecessary dusts.

Duringthe 2011 general elections, other regions expected the southeast to fragment as usual, but the political leadership of the east has since re-strategize and consequently presented an unprecedented common front that confounded even their most acerbic critics.

Senator Ekweremadu's good fortunes are not, however, limited to the southeast. At the national level, he painstakingly and successfully piloted the first ever constitutional amendment in the history of democratic rule in Nigeria. Constitutional amendment anywhere in the world is usually a most daunting job, it does no matter if the constitution in over two centuries old.

Even American legislature can testify to this. The National Assembly Joint Committee that carried out that momentous assignment stands out. Also the combination of the young senator's sophisticated temperament and that of the senate president, David Mark have provided the upper chambers a seamless leadership that have earned them the admiration and respect of Nigerians from all walks of life.

During the recent protests and strike that rocked the nation following the removal of fuel subsidy, while the rest of country was practically burning, the east was calm despite the fact that the strike was equally total there.

Unlike previous similar situations, there were no violent protests and its attendant destruction of public and private properties.

This can be attributed to the finesse with which the leadership of the region rallied all and sundry without necessarily interfering with the agitations of labour. Similarly, while the Executive arm of the government was finding it difficult reaching the labour unions and Nigerians at large, the leadership of the National Assembly, particularly the senate stepped in and eventually played a major role in resolving the knotty issues and saving the nation from the imminent chaos and system collapse.

At the international level, Senator Ekweremadu is the speaker of the ECOWAS parliament. His ascension to that high office is a product of the unwavering confidence and trust invested on him by his colleagues in the National Assembly which cuts across different party lines. Good enough, the Senator has been living up to expectation. He has been diligently piloting the affairs of that important international body to the admiration of member countries and the pride of Nigeria.

It is therefore, a thing to cheer about, and a hope giving omen that with leaders like Senator Ekweremadu his team and like-minds holding sway in Nigeria’s political leadership our years of retrogressive leadership are numbered.

There is a wind of change sweeping through our country, Nigeria today.

And it is a wind that is ushering in new possibilities and opportunities across board. Politically, the country has been growing in the last couple of years.

The west, south, north or east, the news is the same.

This wind of change is most evidenced earlier this month when Nigerians stood up to make their voices loudly heard on some of the tough economic decisions being taken by the federal government of Nigeria. While the strike and protests lasted both Nigerians and Nigeria's political leadership conducted themselves in a way that showed that we all have the interest of our country at heart.

Doomsday prophets went to the mountain top to shout that Nigeria has taken the Arab spring trail. But one fact is: Nigerians/Nigeria is more sophisticated than that. The Arabs just woke up from half a century of slumber, when we have at different times fought the military to standstill-ask Gen.

Ibrahim Babangida and his co travellers, we even fought a war!

Just last year, the country went to the polls to peacefully elect their leaders at federal and state levels. Even our hypocritical perennial critics, the West, praised our conduct during the elections. Despite the current temporary hardship, Nigerians, especially the youth shows more determination in their resolve to make the country a better place than ever.

As the wind of change blows across the country, the intensity seems to be so strong in the southeast region. Although politically, the southeast has always been very active not withstanding some teething challenges.

The region even went to war to protect their rights and dignity. At all levels of our of Nigeria's life the Igbo has always been very active. As a matter of fact, the Igbo man/woman has paid the most price for the unity and progress of Nigeria.

However, despite the sacrifices, Ndigbo have made to keep Nigeria one, at the political leadership level they have always taken the second fiddle role, especially in the post civil war Nigeria. This situation has been due to some salient misconducts of a few Igbo politicians.

Usually, a few inordinately ambitious and hungry politicians do anything, including selling out against the collective interest of their people just to acquire a few crumbs from the master's table.  This malady had kept the Igbo political leadership in perpetual disarray until recently.

For instance, by the turn of the century when Nigeria returned to democratic rule, the scheming of a few hungry Igbo politicians adequately ensured that Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Nigeria's former Vice President's presidential ambition was truncated in Jos in 1998. 

And after this abysmal outing, the Igbo political leadership was summarily thrown into confusion. It became to thy tent oh Israel After the Jos saga every Igbo politician became a law to himself and always had something to say, no matter whose ox was gored.

The Igbo well evolved democratic ethos was then exploited by politicians to the shame of the entire race! It became a rat race where life for the Igbo politician and political leadership became brutish and short! And ultimately, the cancerous syndrome of "pull him down” PhD, quickly set in.

However, with the new wind of change blowing across the land, especially in the east, the story is now remarkably different. As evidenced by recent happenings in that hardworking region.

The eastern political terrain is now an epitome of the spirit of esprit the corps. Today, Igbo political leadership is evolving in a way that is benefiting all and sundry. As at today, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy Senate President is the highest ranking political office holder from the southeast geopolitical zone and this has been so for the past four years.

It confounds cynics that there has not been rancor in the political leadership of the east for this long! Senator Ekweremadu has conducted the affairs of the region's political leadership, nay Nigeria in a most inspiring manner. Through his sagacious and urbane leadership style the southeast is today gradually reaping the hitherto elusive dividends of democracy. A few examples will suffice.

Stability of the political system, despite the fact that in the southeast of today, at least three different political parties hold sway, the region has remained cohesive in their push for programmes and agitations that will move the region forward. Due to coherence of purpose, the southeast and specifically, Ebonyi state today hosts a new federal university.

Ordinarily, all the states in the region would fought dirty and perhaps loose out for lack of agreement, but no state raised objection to the choice of Ebonyi state.

Similarly, while past administrations at the federal level made empty promises on the all important second River Niger Bridge, its on record, however, that it is only this time that a concrete step-budgetary allocation, is accorded that project.

Today, most federal roads in the east is getting the needed attention, Enugu-Onitsha, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Enugu-Abakaliki and many others are currently undergoing repairs or reconstruction. Political appointment in the east has since become less rancorous.

This diametrically contrasts the time of President Olusegun Obasanjo, when the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, controlled all the five states in the zone and yet there were so many rancors that the region practically lost its voice! During this period,  the powerful post of the President of the Senate was zoned to the southeast and due to lack of cohesion at the political leadership level, the turnover of senate presidents from the southeast was so high and frequent that by the time Obasanjo's terms elapsed all the southeast states had produced a senate president! They include, in succession, Senators Evan(s) Enwerem, Imo, Chuba Okadigbo, Anambra, Adolphus Wabara, Abia, Anyim Pius Anyim and Ken Nnamani, Enugu.

However, with the election of Senator Ike Ekweremadu into the office of the Deputy Senate President in June 2007 there was a total paradigm shift.

Through the urbane style of the senator he was able synergize the powers of the political gladiators from the southeast and the region today remains the most cohesive in terms of political aspiration. Of course, not that Senator Ekweremadu single handedly made it happen. What is interesting is his capacity to appeal to wide range of interests without raising unnecessary dusts.

Duringthe 2011 general elections, other regions expected the southeast to fragment as usual, but the political leadership of the east has since re-strategize and consequently presented an unprecedented common front that confounded even their most acerbic critics.

Senator Ekweremadu's good fortunes are not, however, limited to the southeast. At the national level, he painstakingly and successfully piloted the first ever constitutional amendment in the history of democratic rule in Nigeria. Constitutional amendment anywhere in the world is usually a most daunting job, it does no matter if the constitution in over two centuries old.

Even American legislature can testify to this. The National Assembly Joint Committee that carried out that momentous assignment stands out. Also the combination of the young senator's sophisticated temperament and that of the senate president, David Mark have provided the upper chambers a seamless leadership that have earned them the admiration and respect of Nigerians from all walks of life.

During the recent protests and strike that rocked the nation following the removal of fuel subsidy, while the rest of country was practically burning, the east was calm despite the fact that the strike was equally total there.

Unlike previous similar situations, there were no violent protests and its attendant destruction of public and private properties.

This can be attributed to the finesse with which the leadership of the region rallied all and sundry without necessarily interfering with the agitations of labour. Similarly, while the Executive arm of the government was finding it difficult reaching the labour unions and Nigerians at large, the leadership of the National Assembly, particularly the senate stepped in and eventually played a major role in resolving the knotty issues and saving the nation from the imminent chaos and system collapse.

At the international level, Senator Ekweremadu is the speaker of the ECOWAS parliament. His ascension to that high office is a product of the unwavering confidence and trust invested on him by his colleagues in the National Assembly which cuts across different party lines. Good enough, the Senator has been living up to expectation. He has been diligently piloting the affairs of that important international body to the admiration of member countries and the pride of Nigeria.

It is therefore, a thing to cheer about, and a hope giving omen that with leaders like Senator Ekweremadu his team and like-minds holding sway in Nigeria’s political leadership our years of retrogressive leadership are numbered.

Reuben Abati