Imagine a surgeon who is completely clueless, but egocentric. Now imagine the Igbo political elites in the PDP. As the 2019 election looms and saddled with the unexplainable failure to deliver dividends of democracy in Igbo land for 16 years, these elites are paralyzed. So, they continue to con the Igbo electorates by whipping-up sentiments. As onye Igbo, if you are about to be lifted onto an operating table, will you be more interested in the competence of the surgeon than in his political affiliation? Will the long list of tragic failures of Igbo political elites under PDP prompt Ndigbo to look at the 2019 elections differently?
Beginning with Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration in 1999, the Igbo electorates have provided the PDP with a significant margin of votes in elections over the oppositions in all levels across the southeast, year after year. Even when the APC trounced the PDP across Nigeria in the 2015 elections, Ndigbo remained resolute in their support for the PDP. But how did Igbos and Nigerians in general fair overall under PDP? Badly. The PDP debt to Ndigbo, was and remains immense. and the party could not pay for 16 years, even under our hero Goodluck Jonathan.
I am not particularly worried that the PDP duped Ndigbo several times. My concern is that our political elites that increased the size of their bank accounts are blaming everyone else but themselves. Instead of accepting the responsibility for not caring about infrastructural development in Southeast, the PDP political elites waste time blaming other regions. The truth is that if we keep wallowing in self-pity and blaming others for our woes, rather than retiring these political elites that devoured the national wealth on behalf of Igbos, we will remain stagnant.
I consider the ploy to keep Ndigbo in the PDP perpetual slavery by these political elites as unacceptable. It is all a fraud. Unfortunately, my Igbo generation that has for years been fed with constant lies, manipulation, and deceit are at ease in the operating table of the incompetent surgeons. The latest attempt by the PDP to present an illusion (in their heads) of how they transformed Igbo land into a land of milk and honey in their 16 years of misrule has taken deceit in politics to a dangerous new extreme, and it’s time to call a halt to it.
In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act. Here is one such truth; for 16 years, the same Igbo political elites held sway in the PDP, but choose to amass wealth and line their pockets rather than improve the infrastructures and the lots of Ndigbo. Yet fooled with the hope that Ndigbo will be restored to the corruption-infested Aso Rock and fed with milk and honey, from the nose, while they sleep, my people favor this deceit. I pity my Igbo brothers that are deceived by the chameleons that are only interested in enriching themselves.
Here is another truth; apart from the Lagos-Benin-Onitsha express road, the other three most important road networks with the greatest impact on the lives of Ndigbo are the Onitsha-Enugu, Enugu-Port Harcourt, and the Onitsha-Owerri Road. For 16 years, Ndigbo watched these roads deteriorate to a terrible state. At one point, the Enugu-Onitsha express road became un-motor able and Ndigbo had to make use of the equally delipidated-single land old Enugu-Onitsha road.
Here are examples of what it means to be loved by the Igbo elites in PDP: Each time a pothole, the size of Agulu Lake springs up in the roads in Southeast, Ekweremadu buys one big mansion abroad. Each time gully erosion threatens to cut off the Enugu-Onitsha express on the Anambra State section, Stela Oduah buys one bulletproof car; at the eve of every national election, Igbo political elites will connive with their party PDP and dangle the second Niger Bridge at the reason we must keep supporting PDP. Yet, for 16 years, it was one empty promise after another.
When PDP claims that they love Ndigbo, they were referring to the rape of democracy in Anambra where Obasanjo rigged the 2003 election for Chris Ngige. And when they could not control Ngige, the Igbo political elites used the Ubah thugs, Andy and Chris to commit arson in Anambra State. One of the dividends of democracy from PDP to Ndi Anambra is the elevation of Chris and Andy Ubah, two entities that ordinarily are not qualified to lead their village meetings. So, for 16 good years, the locusts in PDP “ate” the national wealth and just like the looters from other ethnic groups, Igbo political elites lined their pockets on our behalf.
Given their penchant for dividing disparate cultural groups, I find it difficult to imagine why Nigerians will opt for PDP in 2019. The recent barrage of attack on Kenneth Okonkwo (popularly known as Andy) for decamping to APC was horrible. The PDP political elites have been driving wedges and creating an us-vs-them atmosphere since Buhari and Tinubu formed the powerful alliance that tore them apart. Since then, the PDP has demonized freedom of association and has not abandoned its ethnic-baiting rhetoric. In fact, they've become much more sophisticated and nastier.
Finally, the PDP’s political strategy of claiming to love Ndigbo more than themselves is built entirely on dishonest claims and misrepresentations. The error of falling victim and losing an eye is grave enough, and to naively submit to the same grave mistake a second time is ridiculous and unpardonable and Ndigbo should not allow that to happen. The PDP failed Ndigbo for 16 years; they will fail us again if we succumb to their con tactics of whipping-up ethnic and religious sentiment to maintain stranglehold to power in Igbo land.
If dog meat is prepared carefully, even rice-lovers will eat it. For 16 years, unfortunately, the Igbo political elites in the PDP did a terrible job with the dog meat -the mandate given to them by the Igbos. Instead of making a delicious soup, they ate the raw-dog meat and the bones. They threw away the seedpod without realizing that they have thrown away a basket of vegetables. They have torn their mats and we should make them start sleeping on the ground by resoundingly rejecting them in 2019. Their “I don’t care” attitude to failure should have a political consequence.
Per Henry Ford, failure is simply an opportunity to begin again, more intelligently. Having failed with PDP, is the current campaign by another set of failed Igbo political elites led by Orji Uzor Kalu to lure Ndigbo to APC an intelligent restart? Can the APC ever attract genuine Igbo voters by dangling Igbo Presidency in 2023? Is the APC an alternative for PDP? Should Ndigbo invest in the equally failed APC or should we rather pitch our tent with a homegrown party? What will it take for my generation of Igbos to rescue political power from these elites?
Watch this pace. Together, we can.
You can email Churchill at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @churchillnnobi