Since the return of democracy in 1999, one of the Igbo political interests is to secure a chance to occupy the seat of the president of Nigeria. Several sacrifices were made for other zones to build alliances needed to actualise the interests but 23 years after, the dream has not been realised. Wearied, the people now see the country as operating a systemic exclusion of Igbo people who have contributed immensely to the growth and development of the country.
The Igbo people are not only denied any pathway to the presidency, they are made to sacrifice for the interest of other regions in hope of a better strategy and the promise of support for future elections.
The future is here for the 2023 election which is the justifiable time to realise the dream, yet, like ice in the face of the sun, the dream is on the verge of melting away. The two most popular political parties ensured that the Igbo people of the South-east region failed to secure the parties tickets.
Power rotation which has been used to ensure inclusion and partnership in Nigeria has also been hijacked. The South-east is the least represented as they have the least states and least local governments, which makes them the minority in the power equation of the country – the country they worked for its independence. Their least representation often makes it hard to negotiate from a stronger position.
Knowing the aspirations, the South-east political leaders, as expected of them by the people, should pursue vigorously the rights of Igbo people but in this period, like always, they became lame as events unfolded. In fact, their actions portrayed betrayal of the people’s interest. They neither fought hard nor demonstrated the same in their voting pattern, even though the delegates put together, cannot win the nomination. But to show the seriousness of the collective interest, they should have voted to state that they are also part of project Nigeria. They instead threw their votes to the very directions that had blocked the region’s political aspirations.
Not only that the delegates betrayed the Igbo interests, two PDP governors in the South-east; Governors Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Okezie Ikpeazu had campaigned for a South-South aspirant. The Senate Majority Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu and Governor Hope Uzodinma, campaigned for Ahmad Lawan even when they had strong aspirants from the South-east in their parties.
This development made the South-east a laughing stock and may result in difficulty to convince Nigerians of the need to have the South-east on a presidential ticket in the future. It also lays credence to the saying that Igbo people could sell their rights for money. But this characterisation cannot be used for all Igbo people as there are many who are honest, principled and independent.
There is still an option. There are other South-east participants in the presidential race from other parties, but from the look of things, are they going to be supported massively by the politicians who often pursue the interest of their political parties and their personal political interest rather than the collective interest? Governor Dave Umahi is currently canvassing support for Mr. Bola Tinubu of the South-west.
As the momentum continues to build for Mr Peter Obi, it is expected that these Igbo political leaders will galvanise support for him. The South-east is often divided by affiliation to political parties that these politicians would rather stick with their parties than work together to achieve that collective interest.
The Igbo political elites have over the years acted in cowardice and selfishly which makes people wonder the type of political leadership they represent. This absence of leadership is what brought about the social upheaval in the region that the youths have taken up, on their own, to determine the fate of the region.
The political leadership of the Igbo people by their conduct during these primaries brought shame to the people.
They argue for power to be in other zones based on their personal ambitions after which it rotates to the South-east zone but what they don’t remember is that many years of such permutations and sacrifice have not favoured the region.
Most of them do not care about Igbo collective interest. They rather ride on the collective interest of the people to assume power and look out for their self-interest and the upgrade of their political positions as soon as they get the opportunity.
They toy with the wellbeing of the Igbo people. The roads are in shambles and many infrastructures are in decay. They supervised the socio-cultural decay of Igbo land.
While they wallow in their oftentimes empty strategy of a better tomorrow, they are mortgaging the aspirations of the millions of people who want a better life and pride in being Igbo.
The recent events have also shown that the youths of the region and Nigeria are ready to take their destiny in their own hands. They are eager to correct the injustice by standing behind Mr. Peter Obi. Whether they succeed or not is left for tomorrow. If they do, what is the place of these politicians in the future of Igbo socio-politics?