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HOW NDIGBO CAN CHECKMATE THEIR MARGINALISATION IN NIGERIA.



By: Hon. Egbuna Amuta 

It is an open secret that since the retirement from active politics and eventual demise in 1996, of the first President of Nigeria, late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Igbo race has regrettably taken the back seat in the country's political affairs. This is not the case with the two other major ethnic nationalities in Nigeria namely; the Hausa/Fulani and Yoruba, whose present political elite have, unlike their Igbo counterparts, imbibed the philosophies of their iconic leaders, late Sir Ahmadu Bello and Chief Obafemi Awolowo. 

Since the abortive Third Republic or Diarchy under a military President, retired General Ibrahim Babangida, the two major contemporaries of Ndigbo have sustained the conspiracy, which they forged during the Nigerian Civil War, against the people of the Southeast geopolitical zone. This explains why the candidates of the only two political parties foisted on the country by the military regime had a Yoruba man, late Chief Moshood Abiola of the then Social Democratic Party, SDP and an Hausa/Fulani, Alhaji Ibrahim Tofa of the defunct National Republican Convention, NRC, contest the controversial June 12, 1993 presidential election. 

Again, in 1999, when the military junta of retired General Abdulsalami Abubakar decided to return power to democratically elected government, it choreographed the process in such a manner that guaranteed that the Yoruba and Hausa/Fulani would be at the zenith of political power in Nigeria. Hence, the PDP joint presidential ticket of Olusegun Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar while the APP/AD Alliance threw up Olu Falae with late Umaru Shinkafi as his running mate. That was in spite of the invaluable efforts of the Second Republic Vice President of Nigeria, late Dr. Alex Ekwueme, an Igbo man, to bring about the prevailing Fourth Republic.  
Be that as it may, it is advisable for the present crop of Igbo politicians to stop lamenting their plight and take the bull by its horns. They should waste no further time to band together in the All Progressives Grand Alliance, which is dominated by them in order to effectively protect and project their collective interests in Nigeria. It is the plain truth that attempts by Ndigbo to cut corners in order to get to Nigeria's apex seat of power through membership of political parties in which they have little or no influence is unlikely to yield positive results. Igbo people should in the spirit of "Igwe bu ike" also begin to de-emphasise individualism, materialism and their so-called republican nature and re-embrace unity of purpose in the country's political affairs, as their forebearers did in the First and Second Republics under the leadership of late Dr. Azikiwe. 

Indeed, Ndigbo should begin to make conscious efforts to reject the false notion of 'Igbo enwe Eze". This is because they had on the contrary in memorable past totally subscribed to the leaderships of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Michael Okpara, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu and Alex Ekwueme, all of blessed memory. 
Today it is an undeniable fact that the permutations and calculations of most Southeasterners and their main sociocultural organisation, the Ohaneze Ndigbo, on the 2019 general elections is a clear political mis-step. Disregarding political pragmatism they put all their eggs in one basket by voting overwhelmingly for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and outrightly rejected the ruling APC. To some extent, they also  shunned the All Progressives Grand Alliance, a political party founded mainly by the Igbo intelligentsia in 2002. With the defeat of the PDP by the APC in the Presidential and National Assembly polls, the Igbos seem to have landed  themselves in another political limbo. They are now faced with the option of either kotowing degradingly to the ruling party in the country for political patronages or remain steadfast with an opposition party which had since 1999, merely given self serving political appointments to a few of their sons and daughters without making any significant or enduring infrastructural investments in Igbo land. The party had in the past nineteen years also undermined fundamental political interests of the Igbo nation. 

Therefore, the only honourable, dignifying and respectful alternative for Ndigbo for their political salvation is to wholeheartedly adopt and embrace the All Progressives Grand Alliance, as their political party,  in accordance with their disposition in the First and Second Republics when they were in dalliance with the National Council of Nigerian Citizens, NCNC and Nigerian Peoples Party, NPP. With both parties, the Igbo race in conjunction with their minority allies from other parts of the country, negotiated fruitfully with the defunct Northern Peoples Congress, NPC and National Party of Nigeria, NPN to form coalition governments in the two Republics. With Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra state as the National Leader and Board of Trustees Chairman of APGA, the party has the capacity to re-enact the political exploits of the NCNC and NPP led by the pragmatic and sagacious Dr. Azikiwe, popularly known as "Zik of Africa".

An APGA with very strong support of Ndigbo, who are living and doing businesses in virtually all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria, in amity with some minority ethnic nationalities in the North Central and South South geopolitical regions, would definitely prevent either the APC or PDP from winning future presidential elections in the he first ballot. Such scenario, coupled with the bitter rivalry between the two major parties would compel them to seek alliances with the All Progressives Grand Alliance. When such overtures are made to it, APGA would be in vantage position to negotiate for more powerful and influential appointments for its members and for provision of greater democracy dividends to people living in its strong support base. 


HON. EGBUNA AMUTA is the Senior Special Assistant on Grassroots Media Mobilisation to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State. 

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