2023: Igbos Don’t Want To Be President Under APC – Uzoma Ahamefule

Can an Igbo man be allowed or supported by other ethnic groups and tribes to be the president of Nigeria? This question is currently a domineering topic in the political discourse. It is a big question that has prickled the conscience of so many Nigerians for too long and grilled their integrity because of the way the Igbos have been so highly discriminated and very unjustly treated in the Nigerian union.

As events in contemporary Nigeria seem, and 2023 presidential elections draw nearer, this very question of equity and fairness has triggered the affection of many from other ethnic groups with conscience to crusade for justice on behalf of the Igbos in the political arena. Currently, notable voices particularly from the north and southwest have joined the frontal forces of those genuinely clamoring for an Igbo president.

This new development has made it imperatively vital to this article to retrospectively, contemporaneously and concisely too view the way the Igbos have been treated before, during and after the Nigeria-Biafra war. It will be an insightful review that will solely capture in summary the pains, the agonies and the regrets/disappointments of the Igbos in Nigeria as a prelude to why they would not want to produce a president through All Progressive Congress (APC) as a party.

Before the war

It was as a result of the unprovoked attacks, destruction of properties and the killing of Igbos in the north that led to the war. After all peaceful resolutions failed, the Igbos, led by now late and respected Col. Ikemba Odimegwu Ojukwu went into self-defense and declared Biafra.

During the war

It was the cruelty of the government policies to block the supply of food to civilians from those that wanted to help that led to the very painful and horrible death of millions of Igbo from kwashiorkor due to hunger and starvation. It was evil to have deliberately allowed blameless children and pregnant women starve to death.

After the war

The Nigerian government was even more ruthless to the Igbos as the government led by Gen. Gowon deceptively declared immediately after the war, “No victor, no vanquished” but affirmed the policy that usurped every Igbo man’s landed property outside Igbo land as an abandoned property.

As if such evil was not enough, and without any justification except hatred and malice for declaring Biafra, his government again enacted a policy that callously seized all the money Igbos had in banks and gave each person only 20 pounds – just 20 pounds – heedlessly of how many millions the person had in the bank. 

Irrespective of all odds, the Igbos survived every penance meant to destroy them. With their consistent hard work, shared love, team work, cooperation and enthusiasm for survival, these resilient and industrious people were able to overcome all plots to the shameful astonishment of those who carefully designed devilish policies to permanently keep them down and make them perpetual paupers and beggars.

Every successful Igbo person one sees in Nigeria today has a 20 pounds background. But in the nature of the Igbos they still forgave the horrible things done to them, spread their wings of love to every nook and cranny in Nigeria and embraced all.

Wherever Igbo people find themselves, they make their homes, as they buy lands, erect houses and even sometimes companies, thus contributing qualitatively to the development of that area. As people who foster relationships everywhere they find themselves, the actions of the Igbos in Nigeria testify that they extended hands of friendship to other tribes, built bridges for togetherness, trust and love immediately after the war.

But what did they get in return? Contrarily, the properties of these Igbos and their lives are continuously still under heavy threat of attacks and destructions at every little or no provocation at all by the same people they have embraced. Surprisingly too, some of these aggressions could sometimes be because of a cartoon in a foreign newspaper somewhere outside the continent of Africa.

With visible and quantum evidences of Igbos’ presence everywhere, they have demonstrated enough love, peace and unity, yet the Nigerian environment still has continued to be very hostile and aggressive to them and their possessions 52 years after the civil war.

The worst show of threat, hatred and incitement against Igbos of recent time was even from the number one citizen of the country – supposedly father of all – President Muhamadu Buhari. In his exact words of the threat, he said, and I quote, “That IPOB is just like a dot in a circle. Even if they want to exit, they will have no access to anywhere. In any case, we say we’ll talk to them in the language that they understand.

We’ll organise the police and the military to pursue them. That is what we can do, and we will do it.” Why this high level of bitterness against a people? Why this distrust? Why this hatred against the Igbos? Why? If other Nigerians do not want the Igbos and accept them to coexist in justice, fairness and mutual respects etc. they should let them go and have their Biafra.

Having succinctly narrated the agonies of the Igbos before, during and after the civil war, and the danger they face in Nigeria, let me also state sincerely and unequivocally too that every ordinary Nigerian is a victim of injustice, brutality and suppression under the cruel leadership of a very few cabals that controlled and are still controlling this country analytically speaking.

To expatiate, let me shortly focus on the northern region and use it as a case study to portray that the major problems of Nigeria are fundamental issues that the political leaders do not have the political will to address and not where a president comes from.

Before I conclude part one of this article, I want to equally lend my voice to all those that have called for the release of Nnamdi Kanu and appeal to the federal government and also to all Igbo leaders to please find a neutral ground and set Kanu free as quickly as possible for peace to reign.

The north has produced more presidents than the south, but if one goes to the north and sees the poor embarrassing level of human and structural development in that region, the troubles they birthed, nursed to maturity and the dangers still incubating presently – in Amajiris and the number of children out of school and those who are not even in school – under the watchful command of these very few clique of so-called leaders, one will sincerely understand that the problem of Nigeria is not where the president comes from but insincerity, parochialism, incompetence, corruption, absence of political will, hypocrisy and lack of qualitative leadership etc.

When one painstakingly looks at the pitiful conditions of Nigerians, an objective mind will agree that ordinary northerners like in other regions are victims and equally in pain and agonies.

They equivalently need help to be rescued from the hands of their merciless political leaders who think only about themselves, their immediate families, relatives and their cronies while using religion and tribe to divide all and protect their evil.

Ordinary northerners whether Fulani or Hausa are not really the problem, they are just victims of brainwashing and mental cruelties – badly used and abused for too long and schooled wrongly by their leaders.

The longevity effect of their neglect by their successive leaders have narrowed their thinking into believing that it is normal that a male teenager who is supposed to be in school and still under parental care should be given cows by their leaders and sent into bushes to rear.

And he is schooled to believe that he could destroy people’s crops with his cows, kill and rape women etc. in bushes without any consequences because he would be protected. Meanwhile the same leader who sent him into the bush sent his own biological children to high quality standard private schools – since public schools have been overlooked and abandoned to deteriorate by government officials.

Mothers have also been conditioned to accept it as a normal thing that their minor females are mature enough for marriages. To put this one mildly here, the northern politicians shamelessly considered it very wise to make an embarrassing and absurd educational policy that lowered the standard of education for the northern children to gain admission into Nigerian universities.

While the average JAMB mark for the southern children to gain admission into any Nigerian university is 200, the scores for some states in their northern counterparts are as low as 40 and 50 marks etc. for them to gain admission into the same university a southern person will not be admitted with 150 marks.

Why this high level of insult on northern children? Are the northern children inferior to their southern folk? Consequently, an ordinary northern child is a victim of longevity of mental cruelty who deserves not only pity but also our collective help and not vindictiveness. 

Unless one is a sycophant, otherwise it is obviously clear that the past and present leaders of this country failed the people of Nigeria woefully. How else can one sum up the irony that Nigeria has no steady electricity supply, has no reasonable structures like industries that employ people. Former governor of Lagos State, Chief Ahmed Tinubu recently attacked Buhari while addressing some Nigerian youths in Lagos in view of him becoming the president of Nigeria in 2023.

He accused the president of failing to provide electricity for Nigerians and as such cannot call Nigeria youths a lazy people. But he forgot that he was part of the problem and one of those that promised to give us electricity in six months under APC.

The leaders of this country did not fail us, but they are very cruel. They siphoned the Nigerian airways monies, destroyed post, killed railways, mismanaged Ajaokuta Steel Mill etc. and kept air and sea ports in sorry states. There is virtually no government owned company or structure in Nigeria that is still working properly or that government officials have competently handled and cared for appropriately.

The only industries they have been able to sustain perfectly well are fraud, corruption and embezzlement. Many of the newly built roads they constructed for our use are all death traps. Government owned schools and tertiary institutions are at the lowest ebb as teachers and lectures are not paid well, even sometimes they are owed months of salaries.

We produce oil, yet we have no fuel. We have refineries and yet we import refined oil because we are too corrupt and cannot manage and fix our refineries as we prefer to import refined oil from smaller neighboring countries and give fraudulent subsidies. What kind of country is this?

If there should be any government company still functioning properly in Nigeria it simply means that they are still stealing from such like the way invisible ships come to steal our crude oil on a daily basis without notice by any of our security agencies. Unfortunately this is our story, and that is where we are today.

The narrative above that described the high level of injustice, moral decay, cruelty and corruption in Nigeria today and without any sign of ending does not give joy, and it is very sad.

Therefore, let me unambiguously and ardently too state that the erroneous statement that Nigeria is a non-negotiable entity is a fallacy that the incompetence of President Buhari, his nepotism and the disaster of APC as a national ruling party have nakedly unmasked and exposed beyond comprehension and cover.

Make no pretense about this; the people of Nigeria are in excruciating sufferings and intense pains under Buhari and APC’s led government. The situation of Nigeria from all perspectives has never been so bad and catastrophic like it is currently.

While it is true that every problem of Nigeria today cannot be solely traced or blamed on Buhari and his government alone, far from it, but the ugly truth is that the current disjointed and discontent voices of separation currently on the lips of many people from different ethnic groups are in response to the nepotistic, brutal and unfriendly policies and the general failure of governance under his command.

Uzoma Ahamefule, a refined African traditionalist and a patriotic citizen, writes from Vienna, Austria.

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