I believe the above slogan, ‘my people, my people’ is peculiar to just one person in the present dispensation of our political history; no other person but the present amiable governor of Imo State Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha. This is one Igbo man who over the years has seen himself to be qualified to be the president of this nation called Nigeria. Despite being unsuccessful in various attempts he has shown an attitude of one who is not just aspiring to be the leader of just a tribe in this country but one who will one day be remembered as a national leader. The choice to lead a faction of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) which is seen as an Igbo party to the All Progressive Congress proved this point. He doesn’t want to be a tribal champion.
Though not successful in the outings for the presidential ticket in the All Progressive Congress primaries, whatever is driving him whether personal or a collective vision of Nigeria, selfish or selfless; one thing is sure he wants history to reckon with him for something more. I see a man who wants to do more for his people and country.
Nigeria as a country still working to be a true nation in the midst of so many ethnic groups and affiliations does not need leaders who care more of their tribal origins to be at the helm of affairs. It will only polarize us more, increase tension and take us back to the dark ages of tribal wars and conflicts. We can’t afford to make the mistakes or tread the path of our founding fathers, who at their time thought having parties representing their ethnic groups would make us better forgetting we were more than Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba.
The just concluded election that has brought in a new government to be led by General Muhammadu Buhari will be seen as an alliance between the North and South-West against the South-East and South-South. The South-South obviously voted massively for their own the incumbent and outgoing President which I think is a problem for a Nigerian some of us want but the South-East on the other tolled the same road because they felt our dear President is of the same extraction by his sudden choice of nomenclature during the 2011 elections.
The Igbo as it were, always cried that it has been marginalized in the present dispensation of our political history but when you look closely we have been the cause of our woes. We have refused to look beyond personal ambition and focus on the big picture called Nigeria. From the result of this election, no Igbo politician under the APC was able to secure a seat in the Senate or House of Representative as at the time of writing this piece. This just means that the post of the third person in the political hierarchy that would have gone to an Igbo man/woman since the North- West and South-West have taken the first two will now go to another geo-political zone. It then means the elective positions have eluded the Igbo and we would now be compensated with political appointments. Does this mean there are no Igbo politicians of goodwill that their people can confidently give the mandate of their votes? Does this also mean we have no Igbo who can be tagged as a progressive with the clout to garner votes of his people?
I am a proud Igbo but first I am a Nigerian and I believe every Nigerian should speak this way. The diversity of our roots has made it such that we try to consider the ethnic affiliations in choosing some of our political leaders in order that everyone can be well represented and development coming to every part of the country. The Igbo I will say have been myopic except for a few who see themselves as more than just Igbo leaders but national leaders hoping to be remembered by history as such.
Our democracy is improving and the outcome of this election has proved it and it will be a thing of joy to see that the third largest ethnic group which I am a part of will take their place in deciding the future of our great country. We just must be part of this history that is being made in our democratic process. My heartfelt prayer is that the younger generation will act differently not just of Igbo extraction but all across the country, in participating actively as we build this great nation.
I love Nigeria as a Nigerian and as an Igbo I would like to contribute to the greatness of Nigeria which will in turn affect the Igbo and every other ethnic group.