Nigerian politicians have often relied on the stories of how Ndigbo have suffered in the hands of almost every administration in Nigeria to help maintain or change the minds of the Igbo electorates. As the 2019 elections approach, the APC in an attempt to penetrate the Southeast are relying on the grief of Igbos. They are whipping up the same sentiment that the PDP used to dupe Igbos and Nigerians for 16 years. Have Igbos made themselves so vulnerable that every dick and harry is relying on our grief to rise to power? Should politicians use the grief and sadness of Ndigbo to campaign? Is this exploitative?
Anyone group or tribe that has experienced perceived and apparent economic stagnation and marginalization knows that heartache can be a politicizing act. It’s O.K. for Dr. Chris Ngige (APC) or Senator Abaribe (PDP) to politicize the grief of Ndigbo in the Nigerian political jungle. “Politicize” simply means to make something a part of the political process. But it’s not O.K. to exploit the grief of Ndigbo. Uzor Kalu is exploiting the grief of Ndigbo to escape EFCC and actualize his long-shot- presidential ambition. Senator Ike Ekweremadu is using the grief of Ndigbo to “remain at the Senate forever.”
While we mourn those, who died from rat bites, lizards sharpen their teeth with salt. While Igbos are lamenting the 16 years that the locust in PDP devoured the national wealth, the lizards in APC are busy, sharpening their teeth to continue where PDP stopped. What the PDP political elites did on our behalf should teach us to trade carefully with the political class in APC. Both the PDP and the APC have exploited the grief of Igbos, they are currently exploiting our dissatisfaction in the political process, and sadly missed an opportunity to bring healing and unity to the nation.
The APC campaign strategy to woe Igbos includes narratives of our grief in profound a fashion. Imagine the APC telling Ndigbo that it is either we support Buhari in 2019 or you will never smell the whiff of money in Aso Rock. This political strategy of gaining support by coercion is not only irritating but provocative. It is thus, not surprising that Igbos are still reluctant to accept the selfish political agenda of the APC Igbo political elites anchored solely on the emotions of Igbo presidency in 2023. To make matters worse, the APC has Oji Uzor Kalu leading the charge.
One of the best things about pets is convincing yourself that they share your taste. Chief Oji Uzor Kalu has been making appearances across the political landscape of Igbo land, attempting to convince us, his political pest that he and the APC share our taste. With Uzor Kalu and APC, Igbos should remember the proverb that you should not go past your farm with a thief. It is the chronic dysfunction and selfish ambition of our political class like the rest of the country and across the political spectrum that hinders the progress Ndigbo deserve.
Politicians are generally more trusted when they connect threats to policies, rather than simply stirring up emotion. If they are selling a political agenda, it should be in the service of change or progress. Then, we can lament with them, and perhaps accept the remedy they are offering (or not). Unfortunately, APC and the “warlords” they dispatched to Southeast are only stirring up emotions. The political agenda they are marketing is hollow and not geared towards economic emancipation and empowerment of Igbos and Nigerians at large.
The APC foot soldiers are playing the sentiment of Igbo presidency in 2023 because they hope Igbo voters are uninformed enough to be deceived. This is, of course, because APC leaders are themselves uninformed about how informed Igbos are. The truth is that the political permutation and combination in 2023 is still very fuzzy and fluid. If anything, the Asiwaju camp with Vice President Osinbajo is in pole position to gain the support of the north and majority in Buhari’s camp come 2023. If this is the case, why is Oji Uzor Kalu wasting his saliva on Igbo Presidency in 2023?
The PDP and the APC are hypocrites. Political hypocrites in Nigeria are people whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward any opposition that they are ruthless in their use of deceit to attain power. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the looted money simultaneously, they may keep us the common citizens in eternal subjection.
The gathering danger of falling a victim to APC and PDP in 2019 must be directly confronted by the Igbos. A significant part of moving through grief is making sense of that which does not make sense. Ndigbo have been grieving for years in Nigerian political wilderness. Can Ndigbo make sense of the current scramble for our flesh by the two failed political parties?
The position of Ndigbo in Nigeria is so precarious and gloomy when you realize how many of us are still drumming up support for the APC and the PDP. It is therefore important to remind ourselves that a chicken that scratches ahead and scratches behind and then asks her children, which is better is reminding us that what is ahead is greater than what is behind (Nkiruka). The APC and the PDP are our behind, they belong to the past. Our grief should belong to the past.
Political parties and politicians exploiting the grief of Igbos belong to the past. To effectively declare Igbo land a “no go area” for the political class both within and outside exploiting our grief, Ndigbo need political intelligence. What we need is a homegrown grassroots political organization that will galvanize the interest and yearnings of my generation and turn the anger in the street to a political force. It is only such a political force that will stop the APC and the PDP from the dangerous political game of toying with a grief.
Finally, the APC’s outburst that they love Ndigbo is a deceit. This is the time when deceit must be seen for what they are. Igbo youths should free ourselves and the next generation from the deceit, hypocrisy and dishonesty of the current political class. It is only after we have done this that we will start electing 21 st century forward-looking ‘servants’ that will implement developmental programs and policies that will remove the conditions in our states and lives that caused the grief in the first place.
Together, we can.