Predictably, the immanence of the 2019 general election is meeting Igbo in a serious quandary. The seriousness of that quandary is typified in the kind of inchoate double-speak and obfuscation that has hit Ohaneze; the self-styled foremost Igbo socio-cultural organization. Just recently, Ohaneze thundered that Ndigbo does not need the presidency of Nigeria but restructuring! It is good if that statement best captures the interests of the race and its restiveness since it found out it made a fatal blunder in 2015. Sure, if the generality of Ndigbo feel that they don’t need the presidency either now or forever, good for them and they should live with that decision. If they feel they need restructuring, that is equally good and they are free to go about it the best way they feel.
Last week, however, the same Ohaneze, caught in the duplicity of its hideous affinity to PDP, was to state that the choice of Peter Obi as the running mate to PDP presidential candidate for the 2019 election has addressed the marginalization of Igbo in Nigeria! Sho? Strange but true! In other words, a Vice presidential ticket from PDP trumps Igbo presidency in the calculation of the Philistines that call themselves Ohaneze? Expatiated further, a PDP VP slot stands to address the noisome distractions most Igbo have adopted against the country since PDP was shoved out of power in 2015? So is it that going by the most recent stand of Ohaneze, Igbo don’t care about Nigerian presidency so long as they hug the PDP Vice Presidential slot? In whatever form it comes, the Igbo are just okay with being given a PDP VP slot? Even in its doomed prospects, the Igbo are again ready to sink and swim with PDP because it gave them a Vice presidential ticket? So restructuring pales in significance to a PDP VP slot? That VP slot, from the double-speak of the PDP mercenaries that masquerade as Ohaneze, is far weightier than the Nigerian presidency? Wonders shall never cease!
In a recent well-received article, Ndigbo; As 2019 Beckons, I had tried to point to the Igbo the need to coalesce their interests under one united goal and present a common goal for the coming 2019 election bearing in mind that their political decision in 2019 will decide their 2023 fate as it concerns Igbo leading the country. I had warned them against taking such foolhardy decision they took in 2015, which birthed the noisome agitations and hate politics the Igbo are managing to recover from. I urged Igbo to retreat to their hearth (nkpuke), review their politics and actions till date vis-à-vis the Nigerian state, tell themselves the truth they had avoided telling themselves for decades weigh the larger options possible in Nigerian politics, drop their short-sighted predilection to Nigerian politics and come out with a viable decision for 2019. I had maintained that such decision should be either to support the APC, which wields power in Nigeria at present or continue their support for PDP, which for the whole 16 years never factored Igbo in their power calculus but which Igbo support so fanatically that they can elect to be happy babysitters for its dead cadaver. I told Ndigbo to be ready to live thereafter with the consequences of such decision and not seek the pulling down of the entire house when they are faced with the consequences of their choice, as they did after the fatal error of 2015.
By its drifting affirmations, it could be taken that Ohaneze had done this critical soul-searching before it first said that Igbo don’t need the presidency but restructuring and it could as well be assumed that a further soul-searching informs their latest decision that a PDP vice presidential ticket addresses their claim of being marginalized. So from this, it could be safely concluded that Ndigbo doesn’t need either the presidency or restructuring but a PDP vice presidential ticket? Did this decision factor the possible fate of Igbo if the PDP ticket loses in the coming election? Did they factor the possible effects such loss will do for the quest for Igbo presidency in 2023?
Going by the noisome and loud affirmation of several Igbo groups since the choice of Peter Obi as PDP vice presidential candidate, it could safely be assumed that Ohaneze is fully representing the Igbo opinion about 2019 election and it could be also assumed that Igbo will massively vote for the PDP in 2019. That is good and within their democratic rights to do so. It is also assumed that Ohaneze and Ndigbo have outlived the embarrassing naivety of 2015 to do a measured calculation of their strength and capacity to push through their interests in the intricate political chessboard of Nigeria both in and beyond 2019. Unlike in 2015 when they were done in by the naivety of the impregnability of incumbency factor, they should have received good tutorials on the hard realities and factors that decide the outcome of Nigerian elections since 2015 when the old paradigm they ignorantly clutched on collapsed.
But let not the Igbo seek to disturb the public peace if and when their political folly dawns again in 2019, as they did in 2015. Let the Igbo be prepared to live peacefully with their decisions after the results of the 2019 elections come out and not engage in the kind of embarrassing attitudes they adopted after coming to terms with the reality that they had cheated themselves by packing all their aces in one bus that crashed irretrievably in March 2015 against all well-measured advice.
And the consequences of Igbo wholesome vote for PDP in 2019 are not farfetched; To any average Igbo group including Ohaneze now blaring the flute for PDP; it is either Atiku wins with massive Igbo support or Buhari wins without huge Igbo support. In the event of the first option, Igbo will get the Vice Presidency, all their woes will disappear and they would be no more marginalized as they alleged they were in Buhari’s three years, Atiku and Obi will restructure Nigeria to make Igbo land a land flowing with milk and honey, Nigeria will rotate in PDP’s glorious urn once again and Igbo will regain the tremendous advantages they claimed they enjoyed in PDP’s 16 years, which has made Igbo the most fanatical disciples of PDP today, Atiku will spend just eight years and hand over to Obi for a long eight years and the good times will go on and on. Of course, the psychological victory over Buhari who has the effrontery to defeat the Igbo Azikiwe in 2015 will be too sweet to miss. Most importantly, the Hausa-Fulani born-to-rule mentality would be put on the check as Obi would be the de-facto president. With Atiku suddenly christened a moderate Hausa/Fulani Muslim, indeed the much-neighed Christianization of Nigeria will dawn under his presidency. These look so good to justify Ohaneze and Igbo unflinching fidelity to PDP till eternity.
But in the event of the second option of Buhari and Osinbajo continuing beyond 2019, Igbo will continue to suffer alleged marginalization that started in 2015 and the war cry for Biafra will resonate in louder crescendo, the Islamization of Nigeria will continue. The hate politics that had simmered down with the prospect of PDP coming back to power, will rebind with greater fury, the Hausa Fulani will regain their temporarily suspended notoriety as the born-to-rule cows that are lording it on the highly educated Christian Igbo, the bedlam and Armageddon of the past three years will continue and Igbo will continually be targeted for extinction in Nigeria. Restructuring will now retake its prime position as the foremost interest of Ndigbo and not either the presidency or the newfound vice presidential ticket. Of course, the prospects of Igbo getting the presidency in 2023 (of course Ohaneze says they don’t need it but rather they need the Vice presidential ticket of PDP) will become very remote.
These two scenarios are the exclusive creation of these Igbo who deigns it a divine mission to sink and swim with PDP, despite the fact that they are finding it so hard to articulate even one thing PDP did for Igbo in its sixteen years in power. Since they seem to be in the comfortable majority in Igboland going by the loudness with which they evangelize their mission, we might as well generalize the two scenarios as those of the Igbo, going to the 2019 general election.
So these are two clear choices, I believe, Ohaneze and the various Igbo groups that now noisily hawk the PDP gospel have weighed and have settled for the juicier choice. I wish them good luck here but they should prepare themselves for the outcomes, whichever way their choice turns up. It is either a return to the sweet, rosy PDP years or a continuation of their atrophy for the past three years. The choice is theirs but I hope that in the event of the second option, they would not seek to upturn the peace of other Nigerians because they elected to differ from them? I hope they will not restart the silly rant of Buhari this, Buhari that to show their sense of loss. I hope they will not restart a futile quest for Biafra after sinking their boat for a second successive time in four years. I hope they have done all the permutations before deciding to make their well-known and hugely predictable decision to engage in PDP’s gravy train again. I hope they are assured of the impregnability of their decision before the election.
The saying goes that thunder doesn’t strike the same target twice and I hope Ndigbo are not setting themselves up to break this record in 2019. Lest, one comes hurtling and charging that I am asking Igbo to vote APC and Buhari, that is not my intent. By 2015, they were able to clearly discern their electoral weight as to turn to such beautiful bride that every suitor can’t do without. I am however counselling Igbo to calculate well and think well the decision they take in 2019 as that stands to define what they get from the Nigerian polity after the exercise might have been concluded. I am only advising Igbo to behave themselves once the consequences of their 2019 decision dawns and not embarrass the race with the kind of reaction it took after the consequences of their 2015 decision dawned on them. I hope Igbo do not hope to eat their cake and still have it as they did when they nosily heckled about what Buhari gave or did not give them after they loudly rejected him in 2015. I am only counselling Igbo to weigh their options before taking any decision that may affect them after the elections have been won or lost. I am only counsel them to shine their eyes and keep their minds on it as they decide who to support in 2019 to avert the notorious record of thunder striking the same target twice in four years. Whichever decision they eventually decide to take, I wish them good luck.
Peter Claver Oparah
E-mail: [email protected]