Just before this general election in a piece “Southeast Governors, Dora Akunyili And Ohaneze: The Scavengers That Will Destroy Ndigbo”, I wrote that the present crops of politicians pretending to be fighting for odimma Ndigbo are nothing but scavengers that will ultimately leave the position of Ndigbo undefined in the unfolding second order partial political equation in Nigeria. Little did I know that the outcome of the 2011 presidential election will partly be decided by the “magic” numbers that is threatening to dent the integrity of Ndigbo forever.
Why is there such a lack of integrity in Igbo nation’s political discourse? What is the issue underlying this lack of integrity as demonstrated in the just concluded general election? This article will try to explain the deeper causes of this lack of integrity with regards to the just concluded national election. As Onyeigbo, I will attempt to assure the rest of my Nigerian brothers and sisters that the ‘magu magu’ and inflation of votes in the South- east is not a representation of who we are as Ndigbo.
How we think determines our level of integrity. When we are addicted to thinking thoughts that create fear, we may end up behaving in ways that lack integrity. Why would Ohakim, Peter Obi and co, want to think thoughts that create fear in their subjects? Because this is what their programmed mind – their wounded ego self - knows and thrives on. Having lost the confidence of the electorate, their ego programmed mind - learned many ways to protect them from the things they feared and could not handle in an open election. The same goes for almost all Igbo politicians elected under PDP platform.
For the members of the South-east caucus in the House of Representatives to say that “The South East whole heartedly and unconditionally backed the candidature of President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR.…with a total votes of 5.1 million (which) represent almost a quarter of the total valid votes…” is very fraudulent. The actions of APGA chairman who colluded with Peter Obi and other PDP politicians in the South-east to rig the 2011 election signifies lack of high moral principles that is not in alignment with who we really are as Ndigbo.
At least, that’s not who my father was, that’s not who Chinua Achebe is, that’s not who Dr. Alex Anene is, most importantly, that’s not who I am and that’s not who the silent majority of Ndigbo are. I know, that’s a tough one to prove but I will attempt. Without having to dip deep down the memory lane, I will draw my inferences from three recent events.
The fact that people of Imo state stood their ground to vote out Ohakim even in the face of intimidation and harassment gives me hope and is a confirmation that Ndigbo still believes that integrity is doing the right thing, not necessarily the popular thing. The popular thing would have been to align with PDP and get the booty from Abuja. The right thing though was to vote against a man that has proven not to understand what governance is all about. Whether Rochas has the integrity and credibility to govern Imo state in ways and manner for the rest of Igbo states to follow is left to be seen.
Secondly the Returning Officer for Anambra Central senatorial election in the person of Dr. Alex Anene also demonstrated courage and integrity in the face of intimidation and monetary inducement. In fact if the DNA of all the returning officers in South-east were close to that of Dr. Anene, there wouldn’t have been a re-run in Imo state to begin with and the magic numbers from the South-east in the presidential election wouldn’t have been manufactured. What Dr. Anene demonstrated was that integrity is being honest, upstanding and having a strong character. He is thus a role model for Ndigbo and represents who we are. Ndi Anambra central especially the wards where a re-run between Ngige and Dora was conducted also demonstrated integrity and honesty.
In the final analysis, it is clear that there is a huge poverty of integrity from Igbo politicians currently jostling for position in the senate and house based on the strength of fictitious votes. However, the majority of Ndigbo especially professionals are full of integrity. Our problem is that because of our republican nature we’ve too often allowed the professional politicians in our midst to keep manipulating the electoral system in South-east thereby denting our integrity.
The recent election in Imo gives me so much joy because it will serve as a moment of awakening in Igbo politics. An awakening that hopefully will keep Rochas on his toes, knowing that come 2015, his fate will also be decided by this same electorate that based on personal conviction and integrity made their votes count. That was what the people of Anambra central did when they elected Ngige and not Akunyili after so much intimidation and inducement. That is what Ndigbo are and must start doing to restore our integrity in the Nigerian comity of Nations.
For Rochas, he should be reminded of the Igbo proverb that “"Those whose palm kernels were cracked for them by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble." It is the good people of Imo state that cracked this palm kernels and I hope he will never forget them. He should totally detach himself from the present governance of lie and dictatorship in Anambra, Enugu, Abia and Ebonyi states.
For Goodluck Jonathan, what happened in Imo should be a reminder to him that while he seem to have the sympathy of some Ndigbo (excluding my humble self), the magic 5.1 million votes he supposedly got from Ndigbo was a fraud. It was a systematically manipulated number from the scavengers and vultures in South-east. But that’s not who we are as Ndigbo. He should also be reminded of the huge change in 2011 result if (when) the magic numbers from South-east and South-south are taken out.
For Peter Obi, congratulating Rochas and claiming that with “the victory of APGA, the difficult journey for reclaiming Igbo political identity has just begun” is very far from the truth. Was this not the same Rochas and APGA candidates that you and Victor Umeh abandoned while you openly campaigned with Jonathan and PDP governors in South-east? Only people who don’t have integrity think it’s hard to detect. Where is your integrity Peter? Where is the “impressive outing of APGA in Anambra State” that you are now claiming?
Peter Obi needs to be reminded that supreme quality for leadership is unquestionable integrity. Having helped PDP rig the 2011 presidential election he has lost all moral rights and integrity to talk about “a new dawn for APGA” or “Igbo man’s political consciousness.”
For Ohaneze, our people say that when a mad man walks naked, it is his kinsmen who feel shame, not himself. I’m ashamed of Ohaneze who under the pretence and cover of having giving Jonathan “5.1 million” votes are now clamoring for positions at Abuja. I was so ashamed of the actions of governors in south-east, the returning officers – professors who are expected to epitomize integrity - that I changed my name from Obinna to Adeyemi. When Ndi Anambra central stood their ground, I dropped Yemi and went for Ade-Obinna. With this result coming out of Imo state, I’ve restored my full names to Obinna Ebelechukwu Okonkwo. Yes, Okonkwo! That’s what we are as Ndigbo. - outgoing fearless, hardworking, high moral standards with reasonable sense of integrity.