S-East Presidency: The Incalculable Damage Done By Igbo Delegates, But Where Is The Justice

Ifeanyi Okali

By Ifeanyi Okali

The just concluded special conventions of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, All Progressives Congress APC and indeed that of other political parties did not end without a sour taste in the lips of many Igbo patriots. While some were left highly disappointed, others have totally surrendered to fate on whatever becomes of the position of Ndigbo in the project Nigeria.

The popular belief that the Igbos don’t support themselves openly played out with the voting choices of PDP and APC delegates from the South-East region of the country. From the results of both presidential primaries, we saw how the Igbo aspirants were embarrassed by the same people who claim to be firm believers that Igbo presidency is a pathway to national peace and unity.

It is beyond imagination how a right thinking person will prefer servitude over freedom, slavery over liberty and subjugation over leadership. If the Igbo themselves as represented by those unpatriotic delegates have not mustered sufficient confidence in the course they are pursuing, how can they have the support of other regions? If the PDP and APC delegates believe in Igbo Presidency, what is it that may have hypnotized them to vote against competent, brilliant and trusted Igbo sons aspiring to lead the country as a matter of right?

Former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka was among Igbo leaders to have lamented the pattern the PDP delegates voted. According to him, no Southerner did more damage than a large number of delegates to PDP convention and I totally agree with him. None of the Igbo presidential aspirants came third at the convention and it speaks to internal sabotage by those who have been paying lips service on producing the next president of the country. We saw how they mortgaged the collective interest of our region to chase after mess of portage.

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Take a look at this. Former Vice President Atiku scored 371 votes which is three times more than the Northeast votes at 112 votes and more than 298 the combined votes of the Northeast and Northwest. Gov. Nyesom Wike scored 237, which was almost twice the vote from the South-South. Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki’s 70 votes indicates a strength beyond Kwara state, same for Gov. Emmanuel Udom’s 38 votes. So in all these, where are the Igbo aspirants?

Sen Anyim Pius Anyim got 14 votes, 13 clearly came from Ebonyi, and Sam Ohuabunwa got one vote. Fifteen votes from 95 delegates? So where are the rest? How could they not have decided to vote in a particular pattern that promotes the interest of the region? This is betrayal at its peak and it speaks to how the delegates were interested in grabbing the Naira and dollar that allegedly flew around as against the efforts to reverse the perennial unfair treatment against the region in the contraption called Nigeria. Does it mean that they did not find any of the aspirants from South East region worthy enough to fly the party’s presidential flag?

In APC special convention which produced Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the presidential candidate, Dr. Ogbonnanya Onu got 1, Dr. Emeka Nwajiuba – 1, Rochas Okorocha – 0 and David Umahi – 38. In totality, the region got 40 votes from Enugu’s 51 delegates, Anambra’s 63, Abia’s 50, Imo’s 81 and Ebonyi’s 38 delegates where obviously Gov. Dave Umahi’s votes came from.

Now one can safely reach the conclusion that Igbos are architect of their own problem. The clamour for Igbo Presidency may be on our lips for a long time. There is nothing to show that our strategic plan is fertile enough to make our dream a reality. While other regions are making visible progress with their plans, we the people of South East are always with the shorter end of the stick simply because of our approach since 1999.

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If we had played our card well and strategically align with the centre when we needed to, by now the tone of marginalization would not remain as loud as it is. The signs are everywhere that the country’s first and second positions will not reside in the Southeast region in 2023. This is disturbing and disappointing.

We have severally misfired in the past. Time has come to sit down and rethink our own approach. No region makes political progress by sabotaging its own self. Again, the need to stand out and support yourself even if other voices are against cannot be over-emphasized. It places you in right path with posterity. For now, the PDP and APC delegates did not display a good sense of loyalty to the Igbo agenda and that will for a long time haunt the entire Igbo race.

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