All Progressives Congress: Where Are The Igbo?


By Joe Igbokwe

A historic event took place at Lagos House Marina on Tuesday, 5 February 2013 where committed men and women gathered to strategise on how to move Nigeria forward after almost 16 years of harrowing hardship in the midst of plenty. It was a gathering of men and women of history who are bent on rewriting the story of Nigeria for the better. It was an assemblage of people with known antecedents, people that can be trusted and people with character.

Prior to the Super Tuesday of February 5th 2013 in Lagos, momentum had been gathering. Since the merger plan in 2011 failed, these men and women have been meeting to find a common ground. Engagements have been taken to the highest level for the good of the Commonwealth. After almost two years of search to end tales of miseries, anguish and pain in Nigeria, a new baby, (child of necessity) was born in Lagos. Welcome, All Progressives Congress (APC)! Before this time, the PDP, desperate to cling to power at all costs, has been scoffing and boasting that the other parties cannot find a common ground to challenge its cosmetic hold on power. That must have informed the way and manner the enablers of this merger worked; keeping the PDP and its acolytes guessing for the most parts of the period the merger lasted till 5 February when, unannounced, ten governors met in Lagos and proclaimed the birth of APC!

Since its birth, it has been gathering momentum, while Nigerians who have been desirous of ridding the country of the nuisance PDP has been in power for fourteen years, lauded the initiative. The jittery PDP has also been struggling between sowing innunendoes about the intent of the parties that came together and struggling to find the right way to react to this development. The proponents of APC know that the old tricks and the ancient antics of a dying power cult that sees its hold on power threatened, will be unleashed in the days to come. Propaganda, playing on the people’s ethnic and primordial sentiments will definitely come in. They are quite prepared for the darts of the PDP and they have assured Nigerians that this is a radical departure from the past the PDP has cashed on and profited on to the detriment of Nigerians.

But sadly, I saw poor Igbo representation in the historic event. Only Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and few other Igbo leaders were there. A day after, some all weather Igbo politicians began to struggle to pull the rug from Governor Okorocha’s feet. I was taken aback that our people through timid and backyard politics are not keying in into this monumental political development in Nigeria. The era of “the president is our neighbour” should be thrown into the dustbin of history. How to retrieve Nigeria from soulless and stone age men and women should be the Big Picture. During the June 12 1993 crisis a greater percentage of Igbo leaders lined up behind IBB and Abacha. We know the consequences thereafter. An attempt to change the course of political events in 1999 failed also because Igbo insisted on playing PDP politics. In 2011 again Igbo timidly played “Jonathan Azikiwe” politics. And Nigeria continued to go under.

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Now, the big question is this: what have Ndigbo benefited from PDP since 1999? Can we see the benefits in Igboland? Please show me! What have we benefited from ‘Jonathan Azikiwe’s politics since 2011? Which of the promises he made to Ndigbo have been fulfilled as the politics of 2015 is about to kick start? Second Niger Bridge? International Airport? Good Federal roads, security? Refineries? Power stations? Additional state(s)? No, no, no our people must open their eyes now.

In 1995, in my book, Igbos: 25 years After Biafra I challenged Ndigbo to try to do away with the politics of the stomach and play politics for growth, and survival. It is this politics that has worsened our fate in Nigeria and from a major leg of the tripod that is the Nigerian project, we have been relegated to no leg at all and the elite crop of Igbo politicians continue to blumber about without direction. A serious alliance is being built with the coming of APC but Igbo are stranded on the very crossroads of indecision and lack of political vision and foresight.

There is no alternative to serious politics if you want to change your fortune for the better. Ndigbo I support the likes of Governor Rochas Okorocha, Chief George Moghalu, Senator Annie Okonkwo, Dr Chris Ngige, former Governor Achike Udenwa, former Governor Ogbonnaya Onu, etc. who joined the great movement to salvage Nigeria. I urge them to work harder to develop a new and visionary genre of politicians that will be able to articulate Igbo politics and issues to the next level and work to achieve the noble goals that will benefit Ndigbo.

•Igbokwe is Publicity Secretary, Lagos ACN.

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