There is a trending post in the media which has been ascribed to Professor George Obiozor, the President- General, Ndigbo. I have decided to reproduce it here and give my own humble response to it.
The post reads: “I liked the speech of the new Ohanaeze Ndigbo President. Please read objectively. “In my own opinion, the enemy of Ndigbo is Ndigbo itself. I remember a time in this country when all the six ministers in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s kitchen cabinet were all Igbo. Anyim Pius Anyim was SGF; Ngozi Okonjo Iweala was in charge of finance; Emeka Wogu was in Labour and productivity; Berth Nnaji was in Power and Energy; Dieziani Madueke was the powerful minister for oil.
The six of them outside the Federal Executive Council would meet and decide what and what not to be discussed at the larger FEC. Whatever they decided would eventually be the position of government. In six years, this was the situation. Okiro and Onovo had the police under their control. Ihejerika and later Minimah controlled the Army. These powerful Igbo could do and undo. Nigeria was in their pockets.
“Rather than care about the poor Igbo chaps scattered all over d country, they were busy diverting billions of naira into their accounts at home and abroad. The 2nd Niger Bridge, they didn’t do. They shared the money.
The Lagos/Calabar rail lines passing through nine states, three of them in the South East, they were not bothered. They refused to pay the Chinese the Counterpart fund. They shared the money. Enugu/ Onitsha, Aba/PH and other roads of economic importance to their fellow Igbo, they abandoned.
“Who is to blame? who is marginalising the Igbo?
You had your chance, you bungled it. There was only one Yoruba minister worth mentioning at the time, Akinwunmi Adesina. He was in Agric. His budget was less than 1per cent while Emeka Wogu in Labour had over 10 per cent for his ministry. Anyim had unlimited access to the treasury for the benefit of himself and family members. The poor Igbo guys meant nothing to him. If an Igbo becomes President tomorrow after Jonathan, will there be any difference? The Igbo man will marginalise his fellow Igbo people. Simple and naked truth!”
My humble response to the above post I disagree in its entirety with the above post for the following reason:
- The Prof Obiozor I know very well did not, could not have and will never author such profanity and inanity, whether as an individual in his personal capacity, or in his official position as the President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo.
- Nigeria surely fared better under these Igbo or the cabinet mentioned in the above post. Corruption may be said to have been ‘democratised’ under those officials, as every Nigerian could still comfortably live a good life and eat three square meals a day. Nigerians at that time fared far all in every indices of life. Today, CORRUPTION has been ‘PRIVATISED’. Nigeria’s wealth has been cornered by a minuscule few, a little powerful cabal.
Less than 1 per cent of the population sits on Nigeria’s’ wealth.
There is even no attempt at a ‘trickle-down’ process to water the parched throats of beleaguered Nigerians. At the time of the above-mentioned ministers, there was relative plenty, peace and security. Fuel sold for N87 per litre. A bag rice of rice sold for about N8, 000. Today, rice sells for between N28, 000 and 42,000 a bag, depending on the brand.
A bag of garri, which sold then at between N6, 000 and N8, 000 today sells for between N25, 000 and N30, 000. The Naira at that time exchanged at between N165 and N175 to the dollar. Today, the Naira exchanges for between N505 and N515 to the dollar. Nigeria at that time, with Nigeria’s GDP increased by 89 per cent and with a rebased economy of $509 billion USD, was the biggest Economy in Africa, having overtaken South Africa.
It became the 27th largest economy in the world. Today, the same Nigeria has overtaken India as the poverty capital of the world. The entire security apparatchik of Nigeria at that time was never concentrated in the hands of those people mentioned, or in the hands of the Igbo in one fell swoop, as it is today, where over 95 per cent of Nigeria’s security architecture is squarely and firmly in the grip of a particular race and religion (the Hausa/Fulani and Islam).
Have President Mohammadu Buhari and his aides ever read Section 217-220 of the Constitution, which provide that the composition of the Officer Corps and other ranks of the armed forces, including service Chiefs shall reflect the Federal Character of Nigeria.
Though there were cases of insurgency and kidnappings, the Boko Haram menace and armed banditry have today increased geometrically. Boko Haram and armed bandits have now taken over swaths of large expanse of lands in various local government areas across the North and planted their flags of sovereignty and sovereignty.
They now issue passes and demand payment of tax or dues from Nigerian citizens. That is one sure sign of a failed state. A failed state may occur where non-state actors can successfully challenge the instruments of coercion and violence of a legitimate government with superior firepower.
The entire sums of money being allegedly pilfered under all the above government officials combined (and this is not in any way being defended by me by any stretch of the imagination ; and I trenchantly condemn it) ,is less than 1 per cent of the money being brazenly stolen today under the close watch of our Mr ‘Integrity’ President.
Corruption did not then imperiously strut about and around like a proud Peacock as it is doing today. Nigeria was not then, as she is today, the number 148th most corrupt country in the world, out of 180 nations surveyed under the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index.
The above named president and government officials did not give preference to their cousins in Niger Republic, or any other country for that matter in developmental issues, at the expense of their own country, Nigeria, as is the case today.
They did not send, condone, or tacitly permitted or encouraged their kit and kin to invade, kill, maim, rape, and dehumanize other Nigerians in their homes; nor seize their ancestral lands with impunity, using AK-47 riffles. No Nigerian Leader, not even Gowon, during the war, ever regarded the Igbo as a dot in a circle, or 5 per cent voters, who must be humiliated and ostracized from the mainstream of national affairs.
They did not practise hegemony, irredentism and conquest of other ethnic nationalities and religious groups. Nigeria did not at that time mortgage her future and the future of her generations yet unborn to the Chinese and other lender countries through unspeakable over bloated loans that cannot be repaid for centuries.
- Even if all those things ascribed to the public officers were wrong as stated, President Buhari has had six whopping years, not only to right those wrongs, but also to actually show nerve and verve by doing better. Rather than show class, he has actually increased Nigerians’ woes and misery.
Recall that he had personally begged, lobbied, campaigned for and even cried, to be made President during the 2003, 2007 and 2011 presidential elections .He believed and promised that he would make a big difference.
Nigerians had also believed him and ensured that he finally won the election in 2015, and repeated it in 2019. Nigerians had believed that things were indeed wrong and that Buhari would rectify them and make Nigeria a better place.
But, can any Nigerian today (aside the few powerful ones at the corridors of power and their elite collaborators, both military and civilians), swear by the Holy Bible, Holy Quran, or by his gods, that he is indeed better off today than he was in 2014, in terms of prosperity, welfare, peace, tranquility and security of lives and property? I do not know of any. Or, do you?
So, let the 5th columnists, hackers and hatchet writers tell Mr President to his face, to develop a more people-oriented template of governance, walk the talk and stop aggravating Nigeria’s woes. Let them stop blaming every and all other Nigerians except themselves for their crass mis-governance, lack of capacity, cluelessness and opaqueness.
It took Barrack Obama less than 3 years of his 8 years stewardship to put a battered America back on track after George Bush Jnr’s era. Damage assessment and finger-pointing as are currently being done on a daily basis, cannot a great President make, nor solve our dire challenges.
With less than 2 years of the Buhari presidency, this strategy of blaming one particular race for Nigeria’s inexorable slide towards balkanization and a failed state will certainly not work at all. It merely keeps Nigeria further divided, dislocated and disunited, more than ever before.
Let us laugh
The stress is abhorrent and torturous. The fears are enormous. To ease these, we shall henceforth, week after week, share some laughter to kick-start a fresh week. Laughter is the biggest medicine for stress. It is therapeutic. Says Mary Peterbone Poole, “he who laughs, lasts!”.
The Ordinary Thief steals your money, bag, watch, gold chain etc. But, The Political Thief steals your future, career, education, health and business! The hilarious part is: .. The Ordinary Thief will choose whom to rob. But, you yourself choose which Political Thief should rob you. The most ironic one: Police will chase and nab the Ordinary Thief.
But, Police will look after and protect the Political Thief! That’s the travesty and irony of our current society! Yet, we blindly say we are not blind! The stupid part of the whole issue is that we insult and fight the Ordinary Thief but we fight each other to protect the Political Thief. What ironies of life!
Why don’t thieves burgle politicians home?
It’s simply professional courtesy!
You drink regularly or occasionally?
I drink occasionally but the occasion comes regularly. If you can’t be a pencil to write someone’s happiness, then try to be a nice eraser to remove their sadness. A child’s towel was stolen during a school swimming class.
The irritated parent confronts the teacher: “What kind of petty thieves are in your class” The teacher calmly replied, “I am sure it was picked by someone by mistake. What does it look like?” “It’s white” said the parent. Teacher said “Almost every towel is white, any other mark?” “Marriot Hotel is printed on it” said the parent.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
“Back then, as a teenager, I kept thinking, why don’t the adults around here just say something? Say it so they know we don’t accept segregation? I knew then and I know now that, when it comes to justice, there’s no easy way to get it. You can’t sugarcoat it. You have to take a stand and say, ‘This is not right.” (Claudette Colvin).
Fellow Nigerians, synergise with me every week, to put our heads together on how to retool and re-engineer the fabric of Nigeria.
Right here on “The Nigerian Project”, by Chief Mike A. A. Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, FCIArb, LL.M, Ph. D, LL.D.
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