Ndigbo And The Fallacy Of Representation | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Ndigbo And The Fallacy Of Representation

Posted: Jun 18, 2015 at 12:17 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Nigerian politicians are some of the most comical, most times unproductive and often the most selfish group in the country. It is only here that people are proud to fill in the space for occupation with the word ‘politician’.

More often than not, the average Nigerian politician sees himself or herself as a notch above every other Nigerian courtesy of the opportunities they often avail themselves of when it comes to either the state or national ‘cake’.

The arrogance with which they carry on gets to its zenith during election campaigns as they mount podiums across the land making promises and displaying very flawed sense of messianic syndrome. That is when all the hyperbolic promises of good roads, water, electricity, houses and all those infrastructural necessities taken for granted in other climes are dangled like carrots before the hapless citizens who are consistently deafened by such vacuous promises every election year.

The 2015 elections have come and gone and winners and losers are known to the world. The leaderships of the two most prominent political parties in the country, the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress have all been showing the world their ways of handling defeat and victory.

While the PDP has been whining and trading blames for their loss, the APC’s attitude in victory was aptly described by an old folktale as that of a hunter who went to hunt for an antelope in the bush and ended up killing an elephant. Unfortunately, the hunter’s bag was just big enough to carry an antelope. The hunter having slain an elephant was so confused because his ‘antelope’ bag could not accommodate an elephant and if he decides to go home to get a more appropriate bag, he stands a chance of losing the elephant – a state of total and absolute confusion!

The recent drama played out by the ruling APC and its leadership during the election of the principal officers of the National Assembly is a pointer to the similarity between the hunter and the party. The intra party squabbles and accusations of treachery and betrayal all point to how patriotic and prepared for the job ahead on behalf of Nigerians the party is.

Be that as it may, this column is very concerned about the song and dance that politicians have made of the role or lack same that Ndigbo should be made to play in the present government having seen to have ‘voted’ against the APC at the last election (one wonders who questions other regions’ choices).

Some so called Igbo leaders have been shouting themselves hoarse trying to ‘pacify’ the ruling party to give Ndigbo ‘something’ so that they would have a sense of ‘belonging’ in the Nigerian state.

Given the political odyssey of Ndigbo in Nigeria, it is somewhat amazing that some politicians have decided to play the victim of Nigerian politics and bend over backwards to ‘justify’ their choices.

This writer was one of those who felt happy that the outcome of the election was a wry victory for the average Ndigbo. The reasons are legion but suffice it to say that at least, the people would finally break loose from the infamous ‘Abuja’ politicians that have mainly served themselves and used their access to the corridors of power to cause disunity and chaos in their various states.

Come to think of it, since 1999, we have had Senators Evan Enwerem, Chuba Okadigbo (both late), Adolphus Wabara, Ken Nnamani and Pius Anyim Pius as Senate Presidents. What this means is that Ndigbo had had five of their own as number three citizens of this country. There have been other high profile posts held by Ndigbo at various times since our new found democracy since 1999.

The bottomline is, how has that impacted on the socio-economic lives of the larger society? How far reaching has been the influence of these Ndigbo for people to break coconut with their heads over giving Ndigbo a post to validate their citizenship?

In 1979, Dr. Alex Ekwueme of the ruling National Party of Nigeria became the Vice President of Nigeria while Senator Jim Nwobodo of the Nigeria Peoples Party was the governor of old Anambra state. The political cat fighting between these two prominent Ndigbo cost too much collateral damage to the South Eastern zone as both individuals  allegedly refused to work together for development for fear of who and which party would take the credit.

The few individuals that had ‘Abuja’ appointments in the recent past are known to have sown so many political seeds of discord in their states as they quarreled endlessly with their state governors while boasting of ‘federal’ might. They are those who were then referred to as ‘Abuja’ politicians.

More often than not, they were more interested in their own political egos and ambitions rather than what dividends of democracy they could attract to the people.

Make no mistake about it, this column has nothing against equity and justice in the Nigerian political system. All tribes and tongues should be made to ‘own’ the Nigerian state through inclusive economic, social and political policies. However, the idea of some politicians surreptitiously clothing their own selfish ambitions with some regional pity party is unacceptable to the millions who remain impoverished and voiceless due to the docility of those who ought to have been their voices.

If the agitation for inclusiveness in governance only means these positions going to those who scream the loudest, it does no justice to Ndigbo whose contributions to the Nigerian project cannot be overemphasized.

Ndigbo like all Nigerians demand equity and justice and as such, deserving and compassionate people of the region must be given positions as qualified people not for regional benefit only but for the whole country. Our politicians across party lines must begin to see the country as one and forget all this parochial resort to regional and religious divides in an era where global economies are driven by the most cerebral without racial religious or gender considerations.

Ndigbo are very resourceful and resilient and must be treated with all respect having leaped across most developmental hurdles placed on their paths since the end of the civil war that seriously affected their economic development. Those shouting themselves hoarse over appointments should not continually present the people as ready to lap up any crumbs by those who just want posts for the sake of it.

The good news is, those ‘Abuja’ politicians whose sojourn at the center was purely self-serving now have the opportunity of getting back home and making restitution for their indolence in the past by using the rest of their active lives to make real amends.