20th January, 2015
By Abuchi Anueyiagu
As the 2015 general elections of Nigeria draw closer, it has become necessary at this point in time for one, being of Igbo extraction and in his 50s, to take a look at the presidential candidates of the two biggest political parties, PDP and APC, as it concerns the South-East geo-political zone in the elections.
As the electioneering is already heating up with its attendant frenzy and struggle for victory by the various official and unofficial campaigning groups for the candidates, some people in order to gain advantage for their preferred presidential candidate against his main opponent, due to their individual or personal gains, have resorted to using negative propaganda and cheap blackmail to create dangerous and erroneous impressions against the main opponent of their choice candidate. Such cheap instruments of blackmail and hate include unfounded allegations of religious bigotry, nepotism, support for or sponsorship of insurgency and any other allegation they could easily contrive to sway the undiscerning electorate to listen to them.
This is why, as a concerned onye Igbo who had been desirous of having the elusive good governance, real democracy and rule of law in Nigeria, as well as having the high unemployment rate and deplorable state of social infrastructure in my zone (federal roads, airports, bridges, schools, hospitals, potable water unavailability and poor electricity supply) improved, especially since 2011, I have deemed it wise to get our people to have a look at the PDP presidential candidate, Dr Goodluck Ebelemi Jonathan, and the APC presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. The reason is for our people to vote wisely in the coming elections and avoid being swayed by the undue sentiments and emotions of religion, ethnicity and other selfish propaganda tools being bandied about by certain elements who are only pursuing their own personal benefits but hiding under the cloak of working for the common good of the zone, which is why it is wise to look at issues on their merit and reality and not on any sentiments and emotions.
Our people should approach the election with the open mind of having a President with the capability of meeting their common good or desire and not on the irrelevant basis of kith and kin. They should look at serious issues of promises not kept, yet seeking their mandate again, when the one they gave in 2011 with the promise and expectation of having the federal roads (Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, Aba-Uyo Road, Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene Road, Ihiala- Orlu-Anara-Umuahia Road, Okigwe-Nnewi- Oba Road, 9th Mile-Nsukka-Oturkpo-Makurdi Road, Owerri-Port Harcourt Road, the 2nd Niger Bridge, etc) in the zone reconstructed, and the Akanu Ibiam airport really becoming a fully fledged international airport with many international airlines fully operating at the airport and not just one with mere sophistry and barely operating one African airline which its plane departs Enugu and transfers its passengers at Addis Ababa, and be guided properly. They should look at the need for change and redirection and not being fooled by such mundane and primordial sentiments. If it were the other way round no minority ethnic group in the South-South will ever support onye Igbo to become the President of the country, let alone getting their support for a second or third term. Since 2011 instead of the unemployment rate of south easterners going down it is rather unfortunately rising, yet they have someone they call their own at the helm of affairs.
As it is time for change in Nigeria, and Nigeria needs Buhari more now than he needs us, let our people realise that the last time the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway and Onitsha-Enugu Expressway were reconstructed was by the defunct PTF under the able leadership of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. That was when the PTF constructed the Oji River Water Scheme that is supplying pipe-borne water to Enugu city, and when our tertiary schools and hospitals and even township roads also benefitted from the PTF infrastructure improvement programme. If Buhari is anti-Igbo as certain people who want to paint him black to achieve their cheap political goal would want the uninformed and undiscerning to believe, he would not have done all these for the area, even when he was not under any compulsion to do that, let alone assisting a female Igbo subordinate in his PTF then, but now late, Dr. Dora Akunyili, with huge amount of fund to go for a personal medical treatment abroad.
If all is well with the present administration in Nigeria as it concerns meeting the common good of the South-East geo-political zone (an administration that certain characters try to blindfold the undiscerning that the leader has Igbo link) as earlier promised, the United Progressives Party (UPP), ably led by the most patriotic Igbo politician of today, Chief Chekwas Okorie (Ojeozi Ndi Igbo), wouldn’t have presented a presidential candidate for the forthcoming general elections, in the person of Okorie himself, who is the national chairman of UPP. Chief Chekwas Okorie had made it unequivocally clear in a recent newspaper interview that President Jonathan is a disappointment to the South-East zone, as he has failed to keep his political promises to the southeast. As President Jonathan obviously seems not to be one that keeps political promises, would he start it now to keep promises if he gains another term of office when he knows he won’t seek re-election again? The answer is no. It is only the vociferous few individualistic Ndi Igbo who are working assiduously to maintain their status in his government that are championing the orchestra sing song of alluding to Jonathan as kinsman of the south-East and so-called transformation agenda, when his administration cannot sincerely point at any viable project it has actually done in the zone that is meaningful and improves the fortunes of the people of the zone.
A former President of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, Dr. Dozie Ikedife, had in a recent widely read newspaper interview exhorted Ndi Igbo to open their eyes and not put all their eggs in one basket as they are now doing. I agree with him. Let our people open their eyes now and be wise, lest they cry ‘had I known later’. Of course, Ikedife is an astute Second Republic politician, well known medical doctor and academic of repute and should know Nigeria politics better.
The Americans do leave one party that has stayed long in power and opt for another party, at least for sake of change and comparison of performance. And with the choice of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, a highly respected scholar in Law and pastor of the Redeemed Church that has large followers all over the country and beyond, would anyone again blackmail the APC as being Islamic? If any party in Nigeria could be accused as having northern dominance, then it is the PDP that controls more states in the North than any other party. If APC is religious as blackmailers would claim, a decent man like Prof Osinbajo would not have gone near the party, let alone accepting to pair with the party’s presidential candidate. Of course all the 3,430 persons that voted for Buhari in the APC presidential primary couldn’t have been northern or Muslim delegates alone. The APC even has stronghold in the South-South geo-political zone. Talk of Edo and Rivers states and even Bayelsa and Delta states, yet the incumbent President is from that zone. Under the present administration, unemployment, economic downturn, corruption, impudence, impunity, high handedness, lack of visionary leadership, failed social infrastructure and political instability have risen higher and higher and the southeast is the most adversely affected in unemployment, failed social infrastructure and economic adversity.
Let our people understand the mood of the country now and know that the time for change has come, and that Nigeria needs Buhari more now than he needs us. He is straight forward, principled, transparent and competent with the leadership qualities to provide the needed good leadership and good governance that has been eluding the country for a long time now, as well as bring corruption to a halt in our national public affairs and life. He had done it before. If he is corrupt it would have shown in his time at the PTF and he would have been exposed by successive regimes since he left the place.
It is only the corrupt big guns in the country and their surrogates that are afraid of Buhari becoming Nigeria’s President, for fear that he would come after them to vomit their loot of the country’s treasury, and hence they sponsor all manner of cheap blackmail against him. Even former President Obasanjo recently publicly extolled and acknowledged the virtues of Buhari. Buhari it was as Head of State that refused to make Christians go to work on Sundays; that turned down government sponsorship of Muslim and Christian pilgrimage; that despite all pressures refused to enrol Nigeria into the membership of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) but rather IBB that overthrew him did; and he it was that turned down the prodding by the Western countries to devalue the naira but rather challenged them to devalue the dollar and pound before demanding him to devalue Nigeria’s currency.
I want to make it clear to my Igbo brethren that it is only the corrupt men and women and their surrogates that have been destroying this country that are afraid of Buhari becoming Nigeria’s President, hence they use all manner of cheap blackmail to tarnish his golden name. But they have failed and can no longer continue to fool the people because the mood of the country now is for change, with Buhari as the one needed now to salvage the massive destruction of the land. He is not a religious bigot as detractors paint him, and lacks the heart to hurt Nigeria, let alone islamising it. Having had enough of sophistry from President Jonathan and his regime, the southeast will benefit more or better in the hands of Buhari as President because he is a man of his words and character and will not forget or disappoint the zone if they give him the support he needs now from them.
•Anueyiagu wrote via: [email protected], 08080242128