Since the end of the Civil War in 1970, the Igbos have had to cope with the defeatist mentality instilled in them by the loss of the war. The race had to struggle for survival as a result of the stringent anti-Igbo economic policies made by the then Federal Government.
Such obnoxious policies which were spearheaded by the then Minister of Finance, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, included the dishing out of a mere £20 to every Igbo man regardless of how much he had in his bank account before the Civil War.
In spite of that, the Igbos have managed to surmount every obstacle to develop the region to an enviable level. It is crystal clear that the development in the old Eastern Region is more than what is seen in most parts of the old Northern and Eastern Region today, thanks to the industrious nature of Igbos.
It is appalling to note that despite the “no victor, no vanquished” declaration of the then Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, the Igbos are yet to be fully absorbed in to the political system in the Country. That is why since the end of the Civil War, the Igbos are yet to produce the President of the Country.
There is obviously a conspiracy between the Hausa-Fulani led North and the Yorubas of the Southwest to rotate power amongst themselves. This evidently is the reason why both regions have taken turns in producing Heads of State and Presidents.
The idea of a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction has in itself become highly politicized to the extent that both the North and the West now use it as a bait to manipulate some gullible Igbo leaders against their own people.
The list of such gullible Igbo leaders whom the North and West have used over the years to undermine the interest of the Igbos is inexhaustible. These men have through their political actions and public statements consistently shown that they are anti-Igbo.
They include individuals such as the former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, former Abia State Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, the Voice of Nigeria Director-General , Osita Okechukwu, APC Lagos Spokesman, Joe Igbokwe, Minister of Labour and Productivity Dr Chris Ngige, Governor of Anambra State Willy Obiano, the former Senate President Ken Nnamani, Minister of Science and Technology Ogbonnaya Onu, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State and a host of others.
These men whom many view as the “Judas Iscariots” of Igbo land are the reason why the Igbos may never succeed in producing an Executive President of the Country, at least for now.
One may then ask, what is the way forward? First and foremost, Igbos should rally round a single leader in the mould of Sarduana of Sokoto Ahmadu Bello, Obafemi Awolowo or even Nnamdi Azikiwe.
We have such politicians now who can be given the necessary exposure and acknowledgement to play that role. Secondly, in the olden days, when a man is found to be working against the interest of his people, they ostracize or even banish him.
Therefore, since these men have by their words and actions demonstrated that they are against the interest of Igbos, the people have to “ostracize” or “banish” them politically.
They have to be neutralized from base so that they will be unable to continue sabotaging the interest of the Igbos in Abuja. Those of them serving as Senators should be recalled while the people should withdraw their support from the others who are political appointees.
The purpose of leadership is representation. A leader ceases to be one when he ceases to represent the interest of those he is leading. The Igbos should take proper steps to remove those leaders sabotaging their interest and replace them with purposeful ones, if they are to succeed in their quest to produce the President of the Country.
Failure of the Igbos to urgently take these necessary action might see the idea of an Igbo presidency remaining a figment of the people’s imagination.
Barr. Ekene Bob-Ekechukwu; firstname.lastname@example.org