All those I called seemed to have been affected by the Bianca frenzy, all they told me was Ndigbo needed somebody like her to speak for Ndigbo.
As the topic would suggest, this issue is a three dimensional one, three entities rolled into one. I will explain for those who don’t know so they can flow with this discussion. Bianca Ojukwu, our Amazon, is the daughter of Chief C.C. Onoh, a political giant and former governor of old Anambra state (today Anambra and Enugu states). She is the wife of the former Head of State of the defunct Republic of Biafra, General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. Ojukwu when the civil war was about to end went on exile to Ivory Coast and so was able to escape the brutal acts of the Nigerian troops, some of them bordering on genocide, that way he was able to survive the graveyard peace to live to fight another day.
In politics every variable and factor is important, so it was no surprise when political gladiators in the Shehu Shagari administration extended overtures to Ojukwu who by his act of bravery had become the undisputed leader of the Igbo nation. It was later to be a symbiotic venture: Ojukwu was to have the benefit of breaking the pain of exile and to return to his fatherland as a full citizen, with all his rights and privileges and he in turn would win the Igbo political sympathy for the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), Shehu Shagari’s party, by joining the party.
Ojukwu, the Great War leader joined the party and contested to be a Senator, the irony became that the man who was to get the Igbo to vote for his party failed in his own election and this was in spite of his overwhelming popularity. The general opinion was that those who brought him back did not want him to climb the political ladder so early.
Ojukwu became very visible again when he joined the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). He was not the founder, rather Chief Chekwas Okorie, a brilliant political warhorse was the arrowhead but it was the entry of Ojukwu that gave the party the form and power to take on the Nigeria political space by storm. If no other thing it provided the party a badly needed catchment area. Some have asked, if that were the case, how come APGA won only in Anambra state? I have tried to answer that question severally in private, even though it is not the main issue today. I would give a precise answer that would be relevant to the issue at stake. Ojukwu was a brilliant, well trained administrator, skilful and courageous soldier, a man greatly adored by his people, but a bad politician. You may be reverenced by the people and they would be ready to do anything for you, but until you put them by a deliberate act into a potent force, united by an ideology, whatever it is, they would remain rudderless and vulnerable to external push or intrusion.
This is the lesson Ojukwu failed to learn and it became very costly to him politically, otherwise his party always led in most of the South-Eastern states and would have been in-charge of affairs in those places if he had strong foot soldiers given how elections have always been conducted in our country. We all know that voting has never been the problem but the counting has been and continues to be. Whatever has been the case, Ojukwu by his efforts became a mythical figure to the Igbo and by extension his wife also.
In 2011 Ojukwu died shortly after his wife came into full public glare with her appointment as ambassador. I had my misgivings about the move but no problem with that, after all, Bianca was a citizen, full grown up adult and well trained personality; she has her rights and privileges and it is her prerogative to take or leave them. Yet I also know that real life is not essentially about legalism, rights and rigidity, some things per time may be important but not expedient. Given Bianca’s status the job of an ambassador can be excused even though the task of passing through screenings can raise some concerns among dedicated followers of Ojukwu and they are many. I could take the ambassadorial gesture because the job is dignifying and decent. But when she decided to throw her hat into the ring of political contest, I thought that was going too far and if I were to call a spade by its name, it was a very wrong move.
When I got the information, I called up about five persons who are close to her and requested them to implore her to cease from that move, in her interest, that of Ojukwu myths and the honour and prestige of the Igbo race. The reasons I gave include that raw politics with brickbats that go with it are capable of tearing her to shreds, destroying her reputation in the process, greatly subtracting from the Ojukwu myth, creating new problems for APGA and going a long way to subvert the greater interest of the Igbo nation. All those I called seemed to have been affected and influenced by the Bianca frenzy, all they told me was Ndigbo needed somebody like her to speak for Ndigbo. We are all witnesses to what has happened, the unreasoned and staccato voices from her immediate and extended families, very nasty at that. APGA failed Ojukwu’s wife in the primaries, can anybody see the story there? Is it pleasant? Bianca is unhappy and she is taking it out on the party. What do we have to say about that?
APGA governors have a responsibility to take adequate care of Bianca and her children. Peter Obi was there and now Willie Obiano, if the care extended and being given to Bianca is inadequate, that would be bad news and if nothing has been done at all between that time and now, then that would be an abomination. Indeed all South-East governors have a responsibility to ensure that the families of leaders like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Odumegwu Ojukwu, Michael Okpara and Akanu Ibiam are well taken care of. Bianca should be a rallying point and not a struggling politician.
APGA is a well thought out idea which has been mismanaged by politicians who do not know what APGA stands for. Peter Obi as APGA’s only governor for eight years did not do much to expand the scope of that party beyond Anambra. Obiano who succeeded him appears not to know that doing so is important. The handlers of the party seem not to know how to build a party that represents a set of ideals. If they know, the Rochas Okorocha example should be enough to teach them not to hand over tickets for very strategic public office to a person whose loyalty to party ideals cannot be guaranteed. APGA’s lame dance has left the Igbo nation in a quagmire; all the people are waiting to the last minute to decide whether it is APGA, PDP or APC. It should not be so.