IF Hon. James Manager wins in the forthcoming general elections to represent the people of Delta South Senatorial district in the ‘Green chamber’, equity, justice and fairness would have lost their true meaning to the aggrieved Itsekiris and Isokos of the same senatorial district. Amidst deafened protest in 2013 against Manager’s second term in the place of an Itsekiri candidate whose turn it was to represent the district at the senate, Manager was imposed on the people.
An action which starred the hornet nest and caused so much disaffections among the Itsekiris and Isokos political class who have been victims of Manager’s manipulation. Manager’s shenanigan broke down completely the mutual understanding between the three ethnic groups to rotate the senate seat a single term bases.
It is commonplace to hear of ‘mutual agreement and rotation’ among stalwarts of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, (PDP). Why such agreement among the three ethnic groups in Delta South Senatorial district was frustrated, abused and jettisoned by James Manager and his lieutenants is beyond comprehension. For the Itsekiris and the Isokos who are principal victims of this manipulation, the mutual trust between the former ethnic nationalities and the Ijaws of the same district would for a long time to come suffer frustration unless something bold and drastic is done about the imposition on the other two tribes in the district by the leadership of the Peoples’ Democratic Party.
Nonetheless, signs are ominous that the PDP is in for the worst and humiliating defeat in this senatorial district since the inception of the party. Let me quickly add here that not all Ijaws are in support of Manager’s imposition. Hence, to say that some discerning Ijaws in the state are brooding over Manager’s ‘third coming’ to the senate is stating the obvious. It is the duty of this minds therefore to callJames Manager to order or at best desert him to keep the unity of purpose in Delta South.
This is not intended to whip up undue sentiment or cry wolf where none exist. Yet, the truth must be told because only fairness and justice can guarantee peaceful coexistence among people of diversified ethnic backgrounds. It is sad that it is only in Delta south that this kind of Manager’s impunity can take place.
Manager had openly aborted the agreement entered into by the older generation of politicians from the district without the least respect for fairness and decency. Unlike what is obtainable in other senatorial districts of the state, the agreement to rotate the seat among the different ethnic groups in the district was arrogantly messed up by this politics of attrition and personality assassination.
In Delta North for instance, we have the Osimilis, the Ikas, the Aniochas and the Ukwanis bond peacefully together as a result of each ethnic group abiding by the agreement to have the senatorial seat for one term and relinquish the seat for another ethnic group on expiration of the former’s four year-term. The same practice and understanding is obtainable in Delta Central where we have the Agbons in majority yet share with the Udos, the Uvhwes and the Okpes. Such is the demonstration of an egalitarian society, not the repressive and hostile political atmosphere which Manager’s action is capable of plunging Delta south into should he have another smooth sail to the Senate in 2015.
Before now, there had been equitable and triangular rotations of the senatorial seat among the three ethnic nationalities ( the Ijaws, the Isoko and the Itsekiris ) in Delta South Senatorial district. The rotation arrangement had enthrone peace and people had been better for it without any form of acrimony and bad taste. In 1979, Chief T. Atake, an Itsekiri stood in the Senate for the people of the district for a single term. In 1983, it was the turn of the Ijaws to produce a candidate for the seat. Chief Edwin Clarke won the seat with the support of the other two ethnic groups; the Itsekiris and Isokos.
Upon creation of Delta state, the triangular rotation was maintained, not even time and events could distort the orderliness and frustrate the community of purpose of the older generation of politicians from the district in enthroning peace by giving equity and fairness a prime consideration. In lieu of this, Chief Mrs Stella Omu went to the ‘Green chamber’ on the auspices of the Senatorial district, and was there for a lone term.
The questions most people fromDelta south are asking, are; what has changed this far to make Sen. Jame Manager feel he can eat his cake and have it? Why will Manager want to add salt to an injury his second term in the Senate had already caused the people? What makes him feel he is the only qualified person in the district to return to the senate?
It is against this backdrop that we ask all the good people of the district to throw their weight by casting their votes for a conscientious and sellable candidate in the person of Hon. Prince JFK Omatsone, an Itsekiri. He has been tested and can be trusted. Omatsone was one time Speaker of the Delta House of Assembly during the James Onanefe’s tenure as the executive Governor of the state. He is a good listener, and always a step ahead for his people. Like the people of Delta south, Hon. Omatsone is passionate for a change.
In the Federal election 1959 which was meant to usher in the political independence of Nigeria, the Northern People’s Congress (NPC) won 148 seats, the National Council of Nigeria and Cameron (NCNC) and the Northern Element Progressive Union (NEPU) won 89 seats, the Action Group (AG) and the United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC) won 75 seats. No party won majority vote. This led to grotesque coalition, political manipulations and weird alliances that culminated in Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, former Premier of Eastern Nigeria being sworn in as the first indigenous President of Nigeria under a Parliamentary system of government, which made him a non-executive figurehead President.
The long sought after independence finally came, but it turned out to be a “Barmecidal dish” as our leadership was steeple chasing in the tenebrous abyss of self-destruct because of their nepotistic and narcissistic propensities.
The Nigerian nation (1960-1966) was wallowing in the labyrinths and crypts of unthinkable corruption, indecent opulence, ludicrous antics, ethno bigotry, Political farrago and social gallimaufry. The international community, Nigeria and nay the military institution was disturbed by the dubious machinations, the fundamental errors of judgment and the culpable omission of our leadership and our politicians. One thing led to the other giving rise to the putsch of Jan 15th, 1966. In the resultant coup de tat, the Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Prime Minister of Nigeria Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Chief Akintola, Chief Okotie-Eboh (Omimi Ejoh) etc were assassinated.
Many political analysts saw the spate of killings to be skewed in favour of the East (Igbo) and called it an “Eastern Coup”. It will be recalled that politicians of Igbo extraction like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Akanu Ibiam, and Dr. K.O. Mbadiwe etc. were not killed or assassinated in the coup and an Ibo, Major General J.T.U. Aguiyi Ironsi took over as Head of State. These selective killings sent the wrong signals to the Northerners. This political scenario prepared the grounds for the July 27th 1966 counter coup that led to the death of Major General J.T.U. Aguiyi Ironsi and many other soldiers and civilians of Igbo extraction in the North. The genocidal decimation of Easterners led to the call for all Easterners to come back home, setting the plinth for the Nigeria/Biafra Civil war (1967-1970). The Igbo nation and people were killed like flies and reduced to smithereens in the war.
When the war ended, the Nigeria government under General Yakubu Gowon initiated the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation Programme (3Rs). But till date, the reconstruction, rehabilitation, reconciliation and complete re-integration of the Igbo people is yet to be fully implemented in Nigeria. Why did Igbo people decided to fight a war? If they fought a war to break the tentacles of oppression why are they now politically docile, unassertive and acquiescent in the face of palpable neglect? Why are they selling their political birth right for a mess of porridge? Why are they not uniting to fight for the presidential seat they call their own, why are they not fighting to build trust amongst their own ranks and file? For how long will they continue to stab themselves in the back? Why are they their own worst enemy?
But we assert in unequivocal terms that any nation will continue to fail and flounder until it ends a system that fails to respect and encourage the various constituent nations in it to aspire to greater political heights. Igbo nation needs to re-invent itself, it needs holistic reorientation and strategic repositioning. The Igbo people need political pragmatism to enable them take their authentic political position after the tenure of Ebele Jonathan or Buhari, which is the producing of the Executive President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Specifically, it is their turn to produce the next President of Nigeria. It was a great disservice to the Igbo course and it is tantamount to cowardice and judgmental fallacy for Igbo leaders to have called and supported the then Third Term Agenda and political escapades of the then President Obasanjo. Indeed, the Pan-Igbo socio-cultural and political organization the Ohaneze Ndigbo, their Governors, Legislators and Igbo leaders were consummately indictable.
In the Ahiara Declaration (The Principles of the Biafran Revolution) the General of the people’s army, Late Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu said, “Our disagreement with the Nigerian Government arose in part from a conflict between two diametrically opposed conception of the end and purpose of the modern African State.
It was and still is, our firm conviction that a modern Negro African government worth the trust placed in it by the people, must build a progressive state that ensures the reign of social and economic justice and of the rule of law.” What a shame that the Igbo people cannot take their political destiny in their own hands. Ojukwu further posited “Our revolution is a historic opportunity given to us to establish a just society; to revive the dignity of our people at home and dignity of the black-man in the world”. But where lies the Ibo-man political dignity?
The Igbo self-induced political quandary and dilemma could be likened to that of the comrades of Ulysses in the cave of the Cyclops in the Greek mythology, Homer’s lliad and the Odyssey. They loved their slavish conditions and servitude like the Ibos love their political servitude in Nigeria. The Igbo people will continue to stew in the political slavery in Nigeria because they cannot take the bull by the horn and drive it out of their political china shop. What a shame! They should however, note that, if they fail to produce the next President after Ebele Jonathan or Buhari, they will continue to dwell in the epicenter of political limbo in Nigeria.
Pure and simple, it was the same Igbo people that stabbed their own Alex Ekueme on the back during the PDP CONVENTION that led to Obasanjo’s victory. The people are politically mysterious and a bunch of ventriloquists. Their political idiosyncrasies defy classification and surgeonizotion.
The Igbo people should put on their thinking hats now. This is an unsolicited, thankless and gratuitous advice to the Igbo people. I am reluctantly compelled to say this not because the Igbo people do not know what is politically wrong with them, but because they lack the political will and matadorial élan to effect a holistic strategic repositioning of themselves within the political ambit of Nigeria.
I further dare suggest that the Igbo nation should call for on Igbo National Confab to address the issue of an Ibo President after Ebele Jonathan or Buhari. We are aware of the existence of many Igbo corybantic political black legs, lily-livered conscience mortgaging stooges and nihilistic revisionist. But Igbo people must move forward notwithstanding who ox is gored. We are not calling for a reenactment of the Biafra struggle or war, but we are identifying the basic truth that the Igbo people are making rubbish of the glorious revolution by not standing up for their rights. It is clear that all the problems that led to the Nigeria/Biafra civil war still exist in Nigeria till today.
It was the Statesman; Barry Goldwater in accepting the presidential nomination, in July 16th 1964 said “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue”.
This was corroborated by John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable” and further substantiated by Chairman Mao Tse Tung (1893-1976) “A revolution is not the same as inviting people to dinner or writing an essay, or painting a picture. It is an insurrection an act of violence by which one class overthrows another”. But the revolution must start with the Igbos themselves. They must do a complete radical implosive surgeonisation on themselves so that they can see the political light in the dark tunnel. They have to evolve a new strategy for self-entrenchment into the polity based on political pragmatism.
They will continue to be shackled in deprogressivism unless they do a 21st century Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of their political structures and their attitude problem. This is the ‘Devil’s Alternative’ for the Igbo people. All their vaunting in wealth, and material abundance will come to naught if they have no political power to back it up.
Finally, as we march with uncertainty towards the 2015 elections, let Igbo nation come to the realization that it is their place, destiny and time to present an Executive President for Nigeria after Ebele Jonathan or Buhari. No other agenda is worthy of pursuit.
They should get together and present only one Ibo candidate for the presidential election after Ebele Jonathan or Buhari and let every Ibo man stand by that candidate and I know and believe many other Nigerians will stand with the Igbo candidate. The English Playwright William Shakespeare posits that “there is tide in the affairs of man, which when taken at the floods leads on to fortune, omitted, all the voyages in their lives are bound in tempestuous waves”. A Chinese sage said, “It is the friends and relatives of the madman that are ashamed of him. He is never ashamed of himself”. But l am ashamed of the Igbo man’s political attitude.
I pray they make me proud in the years ahead. Let them not allow the bait of creation of more states in the South-East overwhelm their political position. Let APGA, OHANEZE-NDIGBO, MASSOB, IGBO YOUTH CONGRESS, IGBO ELDERS AND ALL INTEREST GROUPS speak with one voice and stand in a political Indian file for the Igbo course. It is the Igbo turn to produce the President after Ebele Jonathan or Buhari. IGBO PRESIDENT: IS IT AFTER THE ARMAGEDDON?
Mr. Bobson Gbinije, a social critic, wrote from Warri Delta State.