Circumstances have made the Igbo presidential bid engaging. That the issue ought to be of immense concern to the generality of Ndigbo is undeniably true. Yes, the necessity of building bridges across the federating units of the country against its realization cannot be overemphasized; but, mobilizing Ndigbo themselves is a crucial task that has to be urgently embarked upon.
One is of the opinion that crusades, in fact, of evangelistic fervour ought to be a veritable modal of sensitizing Ndigbo across the length and breadth of the five Eastern States on the expediency and timeliness of their quest for the plum office of our beloved country. The illustrious son of Igboland, late Rt. Hon. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was numerouno in the band of champions of the country’s freedom from the clutches of Western imperialism.
When in 1953 the North threatened breaking away from the Union, Zik convened a meeting of his compatriots and declared: “in my personal opinion, there is no sense in the North breaking away or the East or the West breaking away; it would be better if all the regions would address themselves to the task of crystallizing common nationality, irrespective of the extraneous influences at work. What history has joined together let no man put asunder”. Evidently, Ndigbo, ab initio, have been in the vanguard of one progressive Nigeria.
Nigeria has over 200 tribes with the Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba, Igbo, and Ijaw in the majority and dominant. The Hausa/Fulani tribe having enjoyed a combined 37-year rule of the country and still ruling, the Yoruba almost 12-year rule, the Ijaw no less than 5-year rule, isn’t it repugnant expecting Ndigbo that had just six months and 13 days rule to fold arms morosely on the grounds of the war of survival they fought 50 years ago. A war after which it was declared “no victor no vanquished” and 3Rs – reconciliation, reconstruction and rehabilitation instituted.
Time was when fighting a war and losing cost the vanquished. For us in this century to live and act as though we are still in the days of slavery when people were suffered ingloriously is, indeed, retrogressive. Ndigbo have taken the butt of unwholesome prescriptions of actors of previous governments. They have to be awakened by their own and collectively prove their capability of harnessing the resources in the land and take Nigeria to the next level.
It was the consciousness of solidarity and unity of purpose of blacks of South Africa that fuelled the dismantling of the Apartheid regime. Such should be the case of Ndigbo at home and in diaspora in the quest for the presidency.
Desperate situation calls for desperate action. Political leaders are being condemned and traduced by the pulpit and in prayer meetings on the grounds of non-performance or mediocrity even when such exhibited non-challance during elections. So, involving all and sundry in this project would vitiate such tendency.
Governors of the five Eastern States, irrespective of party affiliation, should use the pulpit to designate same Sunday every month in their respective churches as Igbo Sunday for sermonizing, praying and fasting over the Igbo presidential bid would be pleasing to God and provoke His intervention in the cause of Ndigbo. It was through prayers that the Jews in the days of Queen Esther reversed the plot to exterminate them.
In his inaugural address as the 40th President of the USA, Late Ronald Reagan appreciated the prayer meetings on his behalf culminating on his inauguration day. In it, he acknowledged the country as a “nation under God.” It is an eternal truth that God rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whomsoever he will, knowledge that should cause a paradigm shift from the modal of our political leadership choices.
Don’t politicians besiege gifted servants of God donating fabulously to their religious programmes in acknowledgement of their efficacious prayers attracting divine favour over their political problems and programmes? A pool of these dedicated servants of God leading special prayer squads throughout Igboland on the Igbo presidential bid can rewrite the political history of the land.
Elder Statesmen and politicians organizing Town hall meetings in relays throughout the 95 LGAs and Wards of the South Eastern States would have palpable impact on the quest for Igbo presidency. The young and the old, the sick and the whole, the literate and illiterate of all cadres ought to be carried along. Imposing sanctions and stiff penalties to deter organising of structures in Igboland for aspirant of any other ethnic group would have salutary effect.
The impact of broadcast of appropriate jingles over Government Radio and TV stations of the five Eastern States would be inestimable just as fabricating and distributing brochures with mobilizing content at rallies and Town Hall meetings would be.
Nigeria’s abundant natural and human resources ought to have catapulted her to greater heights. Alas! Ndigbo are saying enough of Nigeria making motions without movement. From the days of yore, divinely anointed leaders have been known to provide purposeful leadership and enduring solutions to problems. In the case of Nigeria, a deossification of her socio-politico-economic milieu under a divinely anointed president of Igbo extraction emerging through the envisaged labyrinth of divine invocation will evidence her joining the league of nations under God.
Making hay while the sun shines is always apt.
Ogbonna writes via [email protected]