As every election year approaches, Igbo politicians bear up begging bowls, pleading that Igbos be allowed to produce the next president. Who then are the kingmakers that Igbos, and even the Yoruba, bow to? There seems to exist a mafia that decides the fate of Nigeria, and by extension, the fate of the component units in the federation. I offer to unmask the mafia.
Following the annulment of June 12 election, the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), the Southwest press/media, Oduduwa People’s Congress (OPC), and other pro-democratic groups, mounted and sustained pressure for the disannulment of that election which a Yoruba business mogul, Moshood Abiola, decisively won. Abiola himself, the greatest ally of the caliphate and every ruling military junta in the country, had counted so much on the mafia to the extent he boldly spited the Igbos. No doubt he felt he had worked his way into the system and counted himself as accepted into the elite club of power mafia. His money had funded every military coup in the country. In a meeting of party caucus in Benin, Abiola openly boasted that he does not need the Igbos to win the presidential election. There and then, an indefatigable Igbo politician, Arthur Nzeribe, told him that he will never rule Nigeria in his lifetime.
Whether Arthur had a hand in the eventual annulment of that election is unclear. There’s no doubt though that with that stroke of arrogant assertion against the Igbo the northern mafia sensed a crack and quickly exploited it. Without the support of the Southeast it is difficult to break off the northern grip to power, and neither can the southeast gain political power without the Southwest. Enormous hate between the Southwest and Southeast has handed the north easy advantage. Since the two regions cannot unite, they both found themselves perpetually prostrating to the north for any form of foothold around the corridors of power. So the Southwest are currently lobbying the northern mafia to be allowed to produce the next president.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu believes he has secured enough goodwill to be allowed to become president after the incumbent. The Southeast are working up some kind of arithmetic which they hope favors them to be allowed to produce the next president. The northern mafia will decide where and who becomes the next president. As it is now, they are feeling that it is not yet time to let go of it.
Obasanjo as a military Head of State served as dictated by the north. Following the assassination of General Murtala Mohammed, Obasanjo, although next in line in the military hierarchy, went into hiding. He knew one can only rule on the permission of the northern mafia. He feared he might be killed since he is not from the privileged north. They sought him out, and he reluctantly accepted after extracting commitment from them to guarantee his safety. He turned out to be a very good choice because he allowed his second in command, Shehu Musa Yar’dua, a northern Fulani, to run the govt. Above all he maintained the isolation of the Southeast. The isolation of Biafrans has become Nigeria’s supreme task.
As agitations over the annulment of June 12 election reached fever pitch, the mafia had to choose between breakup of the country and pacifying the Southwest. They have betrayed Abiola so much that he can never trust them again. The only option was to eliminate him. Obasanjo remained the best bet for them. So they freed him from prison and quickly gazette his pardon from treasonable felony. Then they made him president as compensation for the loss of Abiola, but not without planting Atiku Abubakar as his vice. Again Atiku ran the economy while Obasanjo jostle round the world. It took him four years to pick himself up. But no matter how much he learned, it wasn’t enough for him to dare venture into the forbidden territory of seeing the Igbo as equal partners in the Nigerian project. He certainly didn’t learn enough to break down the northern mafia. It’s that sacred so much so that former president Goodluck Jonathan rather than cross the line opted to relinquish power.
Obasanjo hung on to finish his terms. He handed power back to them. Igbos continued begging to be given chance. The northern mafia cannot find anyone in the southeast – the like of Obasanjo – who would answer to be president while they direct affairs. Rochas Okorocha and Orji Uzoh Kalu tried. Rochas even became a Muslim, hoping to win them over. His patience ran out and he resorted to threats. But finally they caged him. Orji Kalu betrayed it when he went to the national assembly and fought to be the senate president against the mafia’s decision. To make it worse he played Igbo marginalization card. In the end he settled for senate majority leader. Little while later, they punished him with a jail term.
Igbo political class are not unaware the kind of toothless president they are begging to become. But they will make do with anything. They’re threatened by the emergence of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as dominant voice in the Southeast. “Who does he think he is?” The truth however is that the Igbo do not need a politician now. We need a liberator. We do not need Nigeria. We need Biafra. We have spread out too much; we are in every nook and cranny of the country. The thought of going back home is frightening to say the least. But then, we can’t continue in slavish conditions for the fear of change. Our destinies are currently not in our hands. One stroke of new policy will destroy our investments. They are doing it to our entrepreneurs – Ifeanyi Uba, Innocent Chumwuma, Ibeto, Orji Uzoh Kalu, Olisa Metu, etc. They are afraid of the Igbo with strong economic power. And we cannot fully realize Igbo potentials until the emergence of independent Biafra.
Chibuike John Nebeokike
For: Radio Biafra Media