Comrade Emeka Nwokocha

By Emeka Nwokocha

The shattering ‘noise’ about marginalization of Ndigbo by successive Nigerian governments seems to exonerate Igbo political leaders from any blames, as widening infrastructure gap, excruciating poverty, economic stagnation, and falling standard of living become a recurring decimal across the states of Igbo nation.

Suffice it to say that since the brutal civil war ended in 1970, Ndigbo’s political relevance in the contraption called Nigeria has suffered a huge setback just as incontrovertible evidence of systemic shortchange of their kith and kin by the Nigerian governments with regard to political appointments, creation of states, citing of federal institutions and infrastructure, execution of projects, and civil service employments blot the chequered Nigerian history.

Beyond Ndigbo’s marginalization sing song however, it is pertinent to posit that Igbo political leaders have further worsened the ordeal of Ndigbo, even when gale of under-development leaves a lasting dent in the psyche of Ndigbo.

To speak truth to power, Ndigbo’s political leaders have done more harm than good to Ndigbo. Their stock in trade has been more of fanning the embers of disunity propitiated by gross misgovernance, self-aggrandizement and kleptomaniac ideological leaning.

In other words, the warped and archaic ideologies Igbo leaders bring to governance crudely and cruelly abort potent, proactive and smart innovations often initiated by patriotic Igbo sons and daughters to make the Igbo nation great. This lack lustre administrative pathway of Igbo political leaders has since become a clog in Ndigbo’s match to greatness till this day.

Then, 51 years after the civil war ended, Igbo political leaders seem not to have learned any good lesson from that fratricidal and hateful war that caused a collosal damage to the economy, infrastructure and political strongholds of Ndigbo.

In the same plank, since democratic government re-berthed in Nigeria, in 1999, Igbo political leaders have callously bungled brilliant opportunities to harness in full scale, the potentials of Ndigbo to kickstart industrial and economic revolution in Igbo land.
Not forgetting the bitter and horrible experience Ndigbo had during the civil war, and still being hounded by their “haters” who wouldn’t want to see them shine in the wobbling Nigerian state, one would expect Igbo political leaders to use their tongues to count their teeth, and know that the onus of strengthening unity among Ndigbo, pioneering topnotch infrastructural development, and eradicating poverty in Igbo land squarely rests on their shoulders.

From that very day – January 15, 1970, that the bombs stopped booming, the shellings stopped pounding and the guns stopped sounding in Igbo land, I mean the very day the war officially ended, Igbo political leaders ought to have put on their thinking cap, and hit the ground running with modest policies that would ignite industrial revolution in Igbo land.

On a lighter note, they ought to have strengthened their capacity in building industries and venturing into inventions and innovations to power Ndigbo’s innate technological know-how to driving industrialization on a large scale in Igbo land.

Suffice it to say that Ndigbo are richly endowed and enviably industrious people who have in their “Shokoto” what it takes to build a great nation, only if their potentials and resourcefulness would be exhaustively harnessed by political leaders who could broach a great vision for the Igbo nation.

Even at the global front, it is no exaggeration to say that the Igbo race has consistently made its mark in scientific innovations and patented technological inventions that sturn the world.

To be precise, there are glaring indicators of failed governance in the five Igbo states: Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo, with attendant failings of Igbo political leaders in making Igbo land an industrial hub. Small wonder, the great vision broached by honourable Igbo leaders of the first republic to make Igbo nation the epicenter of civilization and technological breakthroughs have remained jinxed till this day, just as excruciating poverty bouyed by destitution has become the lot of the masses of Igbo nation.

This writer weeps for Igbo political leaders who have had brilliant and bouyant opportunities in their coffers, but grossly lack foresight and ingenuity to craft a new vision for Igbo civilization and jumpstart a progressive phase of infrastructural development that will prove to the world that Ndigbo have the stuff to call the shots in technological and scientific body of knowledge.

One could imagine the huge transformation that would’ve happened in the five Igbo states if the Igbo political leaders had discarded their proclivity for selfish pursuit and clannish politicking, and given their all to making world class cities in the five Igbo states. That way, Owerri would’ve been a sprawling city in the class of Dallas, San Diego or Alaska; Aba would’ve undergone transformation and become the Japan of Africa; Onitsha would’ve become famous as a sprawling world class commercial city and business behemoth in Nigeria in the fame of Guozhou of China; Umuahia would’ve become a bursting city in the class of Tokyo; Enugu would’ve become a tourist attraction in the likes of Paris; Awka would’ve taken the form of Istanbul, while Abakiliki would’ve metamorphosed to become the Seoul of Africa.

In the same light, just as Lagos is the economic ‘behemoth’ of Nigeria currently, the economic power of the Igbo states would’ve surpassed that of Lagos state long ago, then there wouldn’t have been any need for Ndigbo to waste precious time and energy rigmaroling in the ignominious failure, delusion, primitive politicking and abysmal system of leadership the Nigerian state is known for.

It is worrisome to note that Igbo political leaders have unashamedly chosen to go the dishonourable and corrupt way synonymous with Nigerian political leaders and their cohorts at different strata of governance.

Funnily, the messy economic situation of Nigeria doting her chequered history affirms the fact that Nigerian political leaders are not done with corruption, squandering of public funds, and stealing of the people’s common patrimony to satiate their greed and inordinate quest for ill-gotten wealth.

This sadistic development, no doubts, subjects the gullible citizens to perpetual agony, servitude, excruciating poverty and penury.

Against the backdrop of the tumbledown in the Nigerian economy currently, one would incontrovertibly say that “corruption virus” is at the verge of sinking Nigeria, the most populous black nation and largest producer of crude oil in Africa, but flaunts her despicable pedigree as the poverty capital of the world (Reference: Brookings Institute, 2018).

The question on the lip of this writer therefore, is, “must Igbo political leaders join other ‘thieving’ Nigerian politicians to steal and squander the common patrimony of Ndigbo?” Truth is, if Igbo political leaders were noble patriots, they would’ve extricated Ndigbo from the misery of unemployment, poverty and decadent socio-economic situation ravaging the Nigerian state like a wild fire.

In the same token, if the Igbo nation has had visionary leadership since 1999, they would’ve piloted Igbo states out of the wobbling Nigerian economy which has become comatose in recent time. This would be possible through harnessing of the potentials and capacity of Ndigbo in manufacturing of goods and domesticating global technologies.

Popular opinions submit that if the Igbo political leaders had been wise, patriotic, prudent and sincere about leadership, they would’ve prioritized the welfare of Ndigbo and work assiduously towards making a great Igbo nation that would boast of a booming economy, state-of-the-art infrastructure, modern urban cities with network of first class roads, rail infrastructure and functional water transportation.These are achievable feats Igbo political leaders could make happen over the decades after the end of the civil war in 1970.

As agitations for good governance and improved livelihood of Ndigbo continue to be on the front burner following decades of misrule by successive governments in Nigeria, the people of Igbo nation are passionately calling on Igbo political leaders to beat a detour from taking Ndigbo to perdition.
There is heightened call to Igbo political leaders to as a matter of urgency kickstart a new phase of leadership that promotes industrialization of Igbo states at unprecedented scale.

Without mincing words, Ndigbo has stayed too long in the lurch resulting from visionless leadership, just as the wellbeing of indigent and gullible Igbo masses has worsened over the decades.
Igbo political leaders must be told the plain truth that the sure way to grow a nation is through massive industrialization driven by massive investment and development of critical sectors such as the petroleum and gas industry, agriculture, manufacturing, including tourism, sports and the hospitality business.

The time has come for the masses of Ndigbo to take their destiny in their hands by interrogating Igbo political leaders and compelling them to take a departure from the exploitative Nigerian system of government famed for corruption, draconian policies, antagonizing of the citizens, despoliation of rule of law and subjecting the citizens to unbearable and perpetual suffering.

Emeka Nwokocha, journalist and human rights activist, wrote from Warri, Delta State.



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