When in one of the many constitutional conferences in the country a decision was taken to divide the country into geopolitical zones, the driving motive was to reduce the marginalization and injustice in the sharing of political booties.
Former Vice President Dr. Alex Ekwueme who was the brain behind this geometrix being from the South East was properly thinking of a way to end the injustice against the region many years after a no victor no vanguished was declared of the 30 months civil war.
But soon after the regional configuration was agreed, the short changing of the south east continued. Every region got six states with north West having seven but south East got only five states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo.
This development finally laid the foundation for the sustaining of Ndigbo marginalization. When governors assembly, while other regions are six or seven as the case may be, the South East would be only five. If Ministers and other top political positions are created on regional basis, South East will remain short changed.
Since contracts and other political patronages like jobs come through this top positions, the short changing continues down the lines, no wonder the unemployment situation in the South East remain critical.
This deliberate action gradually eroded the tripod foundation up which the politics of this country was laid along three major ethnic groups, the ibo, Yoruba and the Hausa-Fulani.
The sound of South East marginalization has become like a broken record and hardly is anybody interested in listening to it any longer even as it’s effects rather than diminish continues to grow. For instance, members of House of Representatives from Kano and Jigawa ( old Kano) states out number members from the five states of the South East. When every region produce 18 and 21 Senators, South East produce only 15. Any major institution that is established in every state, including Universities, the region would be short changed by one or two.
In the last constitutional conference in 2014, delegates made up of prominent Nigerians assembled in Abuja the nation’s capital for six months.
The main motive was to address the numerous challenges of the country and proffer a lasting and workable solution. Among the many matters they considered and agreed on was the correcting of the geopolitical imbalance in the South East. They then resolved to create one more state in the South East to bring it to a level with the rest of the regions and if more States needed to be created, it should be in addition for the region.
That decision was the first courageous attempt at addressing the geopolitical injustice in the country but it needed further push from the executive and the legislature for it to go through.
Indicators so far shows that some persons still feel that the status quo should remain so long as their interest is not touched.
Your sincerely carefully followed the two main Presidential candidates, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP and General Muhammedu Buhari of All Progressive Congress APC all canvass for votes in the South East not one of them in any of the campaign rallies made mention of the imbalance and the need to implement the decision of the Constitutional conference . The visitors did not nor the home boys. Even the clueless Ohanaeze leadership that said recently that it has not endorsed any of the frontline Presidential candidates have not been able to come up with clear cut demands or requirements of the people.
The report of that conference seems dead on arrival because the two main ethnic groups the Yorubas and the Hausa Fulanis appear not to have gained much from it and to them status quo should remain but for the other ethnic minorities who should take advantage of their being in power to correct this imbalance, have all been successfully intimidated out of the radar. Charles Bukowski perhaps noted rightly that “the only time most people think about injustice is when it happens to them.”
The truth which is bitter is that head or tail, Jonathan or Buhari, PDP or APC, the South East remains the loser. What they need now is to settle for the lesser evil and who is the lesser evil between APC and PDP or Buhari and Jonathan?
To answer that question satisfactorily a look must be taken of a number of variables in the two political parties.
What does the two parties mean to the zone? The ruling PDP can rightly claim to have had solid foundation in the region especially given the role played by some Ibo leaders likeAlex Ekwueme , Orji Uzor kalu, Okwesilieze Nwodo, Jim Nwobodo among others but beyond that what really has it to show why the people of the region should continue to keep faith with it.
What really has PDP done in its 16 years of existence and 15 years of being in government at federal level and in most parts of the states and local Government areas in the geo-political zone. There may not be much really to show from the federal level but some PDP states in the region have done some visible things.
Except for the appointment of Ogbonnaya Onovo as the first ibo in a post war Nigeria to occupy the position of Inspector General of Police and Lt General Azubuike Ihejerika the first in similar circumstance to occupy the office of Chief of Army staff, PDP government has not done much to address the geo-political imbalance and infrastructural development.
As for the opposition APC it may look too virgin to judge it but since a closer look at mother in law can give insight into how wives may look at old age, one can begin to envisage.
In all the time Gen Buhari held sway in this country how did the region .fair? As a military Head of state did he care to look beyond his region,
While other leaders from the north and Muslim gave consideration to balancing by picking either a Christian or Southerner, Gen Buhari settled for a Muslim like himself and also a northerner General Tunde Idagbon.
During his Petroluem Trust Fund PTF era, he almost did not remember that other regions existed outside the north.
In all his previous Presidential campaigns he never bordered to visit the region to seek vote, a clear indication of his disdain for the people. As a public officer who had spent over 53 years of his 72 years on earth serving the nation at various levels, the much link you can remember of Buhari and Ndigbo is the un verified claim that he has an igbo as one of his domestic servants.
If you talk about northern leaders like Atiku Abubakar, Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulslami Abubakar, General Yakubu Gowon and Alhaji Shehu Shagari, you can easily associate them with numerous Igbo leaders. Even Chief Mike Ahamba SAN who was offering Buhari near free legal services in his previous elections was
But for the vehemence resistance from prominent Nigerians, Gen Buhari was bent on picking his breadwinner Ashwaju Bola Ahmad a Muslim, evening though he knew too well that such will injure the sensibilities of the people of the South East. First class Igbo politicians like Senator Chris Ngige, Dr Ogbonna Onu were surplus to requirement to him.
In Buhari’s campaign in the South East no mention was made of any attempt to address the imbalance and injustice against the people. There couldn’t have been because he believes in the status quo ante so long as his northern interest is not jeopardized. So dear readers, here we are, a region faced with two evils to chose from and must have to settle with a better of the two.
From the foregoing therefore, the people of the South East are like orphans and slaves in APC even though their free born status in Pdp is still very shaky.
If you have not collected your PVC better go for it and on February 14, put off your African magic, suspend your valentine day bash and go and cast your vote not necessarily for Jonathan or Buhari , or PDP or APC but for Ndigbo. God bless. [myad]