11th December, 2013
By Joe Igbokwe
It is the duty of intellectuals in every society to set agenda for leaders so that they do not derail. They set agenda so that services will be delivered as at when due. Intellectuals do not exhibit intellectual dishonesty; they speak the truth to power always not minding whose ox is gored. When any society goes astray it is simply because the intellectuals went to sleep or they have been bought over. But the real intellectuals do not subscribe to the politics of the stomach.
The real intellectuals prefer to die of hunger than to sell their hard earned dignity. Understanding the dynamics of Nigerian politics has been the biggest problem of the Igbo in Nigeria. The Igbo, yes my Igbo don’t seem to place a neat handle on Nigeria’s intricate politics and how well it can be harnessed to improve the lots of the race. The annulment of June 12 1993 Presidential elections provided an opportunity for Igbo to join other Nigerians to defend democracy and rule of law but only a handful of Igbo stood with the Yoruba to defend June 12. The majority rather chose to be seduced by traders and illiterates to term the struggle a Yoruba struggle. The struggle for June 12lasted for five years and the rest is now history. But Yoruba was not defeated. Presidency was ceded to them for 8 years.
Leadership failure since 1999 has presented another opportunity for Igbo to work with other Nigerians to rescue Nigeria from rudderless and inept leadership PDP has foisted on the country. The Hausa/Fulani sacrificed ANPP and CPC to join APC. Yoruba moved from AD to AC, ACN and then APC. Instead of my people joining other stakeholders in the project Nigeria, they tagged the APC as Boko Haram party, Yoruba party, and Hausa party. They rather decided to tag slavishly along the despised and failed PDP and even when a mass exodus has hit the PDP, some Igbo traders and dancers of fortune feel it is their duty to warm the bed with a dead child. They eagerly received a dead child like the PDP which in fifteen years have destroyed the Igbo leg of the Nigerian three legged structure. From being the one of the three legs of Nigeria before the coming of PDP, the Igbo are today not even considered one of the sixth legs of a wobbling Nigeria yet some Igbo mercantilists propped by their bulging stomach and led in the nose by traders are serving as cannon fodders to the PDP. This they do, either as direct members of PDP or as hidden enablers of PDP. APGA has today been turned over to the PDP to be raped and exploited to its pleasure while the rest of the country moves to salvage the crumbling nation from the deadly virus the PDP has become.
The worst is that some so-called intellectuals who should know and direct the race aright have allowed the rumblings of their stomachs to make them intellectual pall bearers. They have allowed themselves to be dragged by barely literate traders and political harlots to serve at the meal table of the dying PDP, not minding the odious stenches. They are the most fanatic in defence of the means and odd ways of the PDP just because such action promises to keep morsels on their tables. It is a shame!
Igbo nation cannot live in isolation, Igbo nation cannot be an island unto itself. Igbo need to work with others, network, interface, negotiate, inter-relate, synergize, strategize, engage, dialogue and coordinate to make progress. Until Igbo show that they can be trusted by other Nigerians who are not Igbo the chances of ruling Nigeria may be remote. Igbo must love the people they want to rule. If you read ethnic meaning into any project in Nigeria it may lead to mistrust. To tag APC, Boko Haram party, Hausa party or Yoruba party is not a good strategy. It is at best a self defeatist ploy by die hard reactionaries to keep Igbo in perpetual chains and continue benefiting from the overflowing table of rot the PDP has employed to wreck and crumble this country for the past fourteen years. These Amaziahs of the Igbo nation are in a desperate mission to keep Igbo in perpetual bondage where they will never rise again. They have been dominant in the Igbo nation since after the civil war and have been the sole beneficiaries of the decreasing fortunes of the Igbo nation. It does not show tact, it does not show intelligence, it does not show commitment or deep understanding of the dynamics of Nigerian politics.
Political Traders are still choking the development of politics in Igboland. They still use money to confuse our people. They have nothing to give Igboland except filling their personal pockets. If they have anything for Igbo, why is it that in the last fourteen years, no Igbo man is located within the first six top positions in the country? Why is it that out people still have no federal investment in Igboland? Why is it that out people still spend days to cross the sole bridge over the River Niger? Why is it that we have the worst federal roads in Igboland? During election time, those that employ them as internal colonial masters give them money, give them police to come and manipulate results. After each election, they smile to the bank and ala Igbo continue to wallow in pitch darkness. They buy up votes and electoral materials just to be relevant. We have suffered mediocrity in the name of leadership. These are the fraudsters that bought and diverted electoral materials in Anambra.The recent electoral fraud in Anambra can be traced to this factor (the menace of political traders) Intellectuals must reclaim Igboland and cause our people to rise above clannish behavior, selfish politics, primordial sentiments, ethnic preoccupation to join others to reclaim Nigeria.
For the masses of Igboland, if after fifteen years, we are yet to articulate what we gained from the same PDP these traders are dragging us to, when will we start reaping the benefits of the slavish fidelity some political profiteers have led us to pledge for a dying PDP? If a writer is silent, he is lying. A school of thought says a story that must be told never forgives silence. I concur!
•Igbokwe wrote from Lagos