By Joe Igbokwe
“Nigeria will break up if Goodluck Jonathan is not re-elected”
-Chief Ezeife, 2014
“Ndigbo will cease to be Nigerians in 2023 if denied Presidency”
When a nation, region, State, town, village or hamlet is facing difficult times, the best of its leaders are expected to rise up to provide leadership on the way forward. The Holy Bible says “Woe betide a nation whose leaders are children” It is expected that those who should know better should be able to speak the truth and nothing but the truth even at the time like this given our diversity and the state of the nation. It is also expected that leaders with deep knowledge of the volatile nature of our body politics and ethnic considerations should apply caution. Statements credited to a leader in the South East Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife whose subjects are the most widely traveled in Nigeria will not help matters in this season of too many troubles in the land, rather it will cause disaffection and even heat up the polity.
In 2014, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife threatened that the nation will break up if Goodluck Jonathan is not elected as president. The rest is now history. Two days ago, Chief Ezeife threatened again that Ndigbo will cease to be Nigerians in 2013 if denied presidency.
Now let it be known here and it is hereby made known that threats and blackmail do not win an argument or a debate. Instead of affirmative actions that will better the lives of his people and other Nigerians we see provocative and dangerous statements that tend to put a knife on things that have held us together. Instead of reaching out to the leaders of other sections of the country to build bridges, alliances, strategies and friendship, they stay in one corner of the South East to abuse and issue uncoordinated Press statements and what have you. Instead of deepening the strategies to lift the country they have invested so much to build they play dirty and primitive politics with reckless abandon.
They say they want to produce the President of Nigeria but there are no concrete plans to reach out to other ethnic groups in Nigeria to seek for their support and understanding. They say they want to rule Nigeria but they are still talking about Biafra. They say they are being marginalized but they have not in actions and deeds marshaled out plans to address the problems by pricking the conscience of other Nigerians in a friendly manner. They say they are being excluded in the matters of governance in Nigeria but they cannot play the real politics. If you do not play the real politics, you die. Go and ask the Israelites their experiences in the hands of the Germans as a consequence of neglecting politics.
You cannot make an omelet without breaking the eggs. You cannot go to America on foot. You cannot say that the earth is round and at the same time insist that the earth is flat. Truth is as constant as Northern stars.
It is high time we put our house in order. We hear a lot of cacophony of voices and conflicting statements from Igbo leaders that do not suggest that we have a grasp of the real game of politics in Nigeria. Igbo remains a critical segment of this country and one leg of the tripod and we should make no mistake about this but Igbo need to put their house in order and do the needful to regain the lost glory and respect.
Rhetorics, hate speeches, calling names and seeing others as enemies of the Igbo cannot work again in Nigeria. We must build bridges and not burn bridges. We must leave our little corners and go out and work with others to build a nation. We must play the real politics and it means working with other Nigerians. We must understand that we are in an age of exploiting our diversity as a big plus to grow Nigeria. We must agree that every section of Nigeria big or small is important in making of the project Nigeria. Elders must work hard to make this country great again, than preaching stuffs that tend to divide us as a nation.