BY EDWIN CHUKWUDIRE-OBI
The major problem facing Nigerians irrespective of tribe or ethnic affinity is the issue of insincerity on the part of those to whom we have committed the affairs of the Nigerian state. Because of this false sincerity of those in government, any plan, concept or project which worked in other countries, when it is introduced in Nigeria, Nigerians will on their own tell you ‘e no go work’, not because they don’t want it to work. If you follow up that project, plan or concept, you will find out it did not work.
This is because Nigerians know from several years of bitter experience that those in whose hands such projects, plans or concepts are committed will end up pursuing personal interest above the collective interest and expectations of Nigerians. From past and present presidents, National Assembly members, governors, state House of Assembly members, down to local government chairmen and counselors, it has become extremely difficult to single out 5% of those who are not driven by personal selfish interest.
The pursuit of personal selfish interest and the negative mentality of ‘let me get enough out this position before I’m removed or before my tenure runs out, is one of the motivators for self-seeking and corruption among those in authority. Presently, many Nigerians have no iota of trust in those in positions of authority in the country.
Unavoidably, it is in this atmosphere of mistrust, lack of confidence and deep-rooted insincerity that ethnic nationalities selected delegates to represent their interest in the on-going national conference. It would be an understatement to say that there is palatable apprehension and sense of uncertainty among the ethnic nationalities whether those they selected as delegates to represent their interest at the conference, will collect ‘Ghana must go’ to trade-off the collective interest and future of their zones. Ironically, this fear is more pronounced among Ndigbo, because of the age-long money conscious nature ascribed to Igbos and the erroneous misconception that every Igboman can betray the highest trust because of money.
For purpose of emphasis, let me digress a little. Before the belated take off of the second Niger bridge where the president cleverly killed two birds with one stone by promising to complete the bridge in the next four years of his second tenure as a compensation for first and second tenure support of Igbo vote. On Wednesday 19th February 2014, the Daily Sun newspapers published on page 20, an article I titled, IGBO VOTE IS NOT CHEAP. In the said article, I asked a question, “When will Ndigbo be rewarded with infrastructure like other zones in the country which will impact positively on the generality of Igbo electorate who supported the President in 2011?” I also asked: “If the president fails to build any remarkable infrastructure in South-east before 2015, would he make the same campaign promises again such as building the second Niger bridge when he come to seek Igbo votes in 2015?” After that article was published, I received different responses from people, but of a particular interest is the response of one elderly man. This man commended the write-up for its patriotic posture and my concern for Igbo interest.
However, the man added that my view in that article was a view of a man who lacks insight about happenings in Igboland, especially as it has to do with compensating the Igbos for massively supporting President Jonathan in 2011 general elections. He made me to understand that, not quite long after the president was sworn-in in 2011, he called Igbo leaders and asked them to outline important projects they would want him to execute in the south-east, as a compensation for the massive support he received during the 2011 general elections.
Unfortunately, the same age-long self-seeking, money conscious spirit reared its ugly head in the mind of these Igbo leaders, and they requested the president to compensate them with money, which he did. Although no one knows the exact amount they were given, the elderly man maintained that since 2011, these Igbo leaders have kept silent as regards the issue of infrastructure in the South-east. He asked me to menion one or two prominent Igbo leaders who had come out openly since 2011 to strongly criticize or pressurize the president concerning infrastructure development in South-east before now?
Instead, late 2013, these Igbo leaders hurriedly endorsed president Jonathan for 2015 before any other zone, all in a effort to make Ndigbo forget the president’s 2011 campaign promises and look forward to 2015.
By this endorsement, they tactically made the gullible Igbo electorate to believe that what the president could not do in his first tenure, he would do if re-elected. They also find it expedient to ban intending presidential aspirants in South-east from contesting, to show the president that they are fully in-charge of South-east vote, and can give it to him without challenge from any Igbo person, whether the president builds any infrastructure or not.
Although Igbo people are not the only people the second Niger bridge will benefit, now that the President had kickstarted its construction, the same set of elders are pacifying Ndigbo, that if the bridge is the only thing they benefited from Jonathan’s government, they should be grateful, after all other presidents in the past never kept their word. We don’t have access to these leaders to hear their own version of the story, but there are lies that resemble truth, especially when there are evidences to justify the lies. For example, for the fact that Igbo leaders who are supposed to speak or pressurize Mr. President concerning the issue of infrastructure development in South-east have kept quiet since 2011, until the president came to kick off his second term electioneering campaign with the start of second Niger Bridge, whatever they are accused of is adjudged truth, because silence means yes.
So, on the strength of the above story, Ndigbo all over the world, especially members of Worldwide United Forum for Igbo Patriots and Aborigines-Wufipa, passionately plead with all the delegates representing Ndigbo at the national conference, not to compromise or trade-off the agreed Igbo agenda at the conference.
(From Biafra Galaxy)