What worries any Igbo person presently is how to make Igbo land a thriving region where the institutions work for the people as they go about in pursuit of their daily bread through the use of their talents and skills. From the old to the young, people want to contribute positively to the development of the region but such urge to contribute is often challenged when one drives through the roads; both federal and state roads which are in deplorable condition. When a journey of one-hour takes about four-hour to complete, it evokes anger and contempt in the minds of the people.
The basic thing the common person needs from the government is the provision of the basic social amenities and he will go about his daily activities.
The inability to pursue these daily activities due to lack of these social amenities like the roads has pitted the people against the government. Igbo people feel strongly disenchanted over how the federal government has been implementing an unwritten policy of exclusion on the region and the injustice perpetrated on a people that have contributed immensely to the country whose people are all over the nation contributing positively to the development of the country as they are often reminded about.
Despite these positive contributions, they often receive the shortest end of the stick from the government. A journey across the region will attest to this.
Igbo people are not only suffering from the injustice meted out on them by the federal government, they are also suffering from injustice in the hands of their leaders who use the marginalization of the people to negotiate for their personal political interests.
Most of the sufferings in Igbo land today are attributable to the bad governance by the political leaders. From the governors to the members of the house or national assembly; they have failed the people.
They have the political mandate to work for the people. They receive revenue allocations and constituency allocations that are awarded to the region through their spheres of leadership and they have the mandate of the people to not only draw the attention of the federal government to the peoples’ plights but also have the mandate to pressure the government. From the look of things, these leaders not only shy away from these duties, they see the mandate as their personal gain and for their cronies. And the region and the people continue to suffer.
In response to the growing insecurity in the region, the South-east governors formed Ebube- Agu which is existing only in the communique. In the bipartisan struggle over the collection of the Value Added Tax between the federal government and the states, started by Rivers and Lagos states, the South-east governors are nowhere to be seen. In the fight against open grazing by the herders, some of these governors are sleepy. The legislators will approve federal loans with no project for the region in it. To fight for the rights of the region, they will become absent. If not, why will the railways in the region continue to be in comatose while other regions are experiencing the revamping of their railway system? The only international airport in the region has been shut for a while and has only one international airline operating from it and these leaders have not protested and so many other issues I cannot list for want of space.
When it comes to fighting for the rights and dignity of the Igbo people, these leaders would choose to act cowardly or become silent.
How should Igbo people express the marginalization if not through them? Or are political appointments more important on which these leaders normally speak out, which serve their interests more?
But if I may inquire further, how have these appointments helped the Igbo people?
In the Jonathan administration, Igbo politicians got plum appointments and positions like the Coordinating minister, Secretary to the federal government, Deputy Senate President, Deputy Speaker, ministerial appointments and others. What did they use these positions to do for the Igbo people? At the expiration of their service, social amenities in the region became worse.
The Enugu-Onitsha, Onitsha-Owerri, Aba-Owerri, Owerri-Umuahia, Enugu-Abakaliki, Oba-Nnewi-Okigwe roads, among many others are agonizing to travel by.
It is the abandonment of these amenities by these leaders and their inability to defend the region and the people in all ways that made the people lose interest and trust in them.
One would imagine if the Igbo leaders of the first republic would allow the region to be as bad as it is presently.
It is the insensitive, cowardly and selfishness of these leaders that has kept the region down.
The people are also part of the problem as they sell their votes to elect these leaders for a measly amount of money paid to them or a plate of rice or a sachet of salt, which makes them instead of working for the betterment of the people are marginalizing them.
Pressuring the federal government over the injustices on Igbo is as good as pressuring these political leaders who have plundered the region. The fight should start from the inside out. They should be the voice of the region and be in the forefront of the peoples’ fight for justice and fairness, yet they are always found wanting.
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