‘Buhari’s style of governance will determine PDP’s fate as opposition party, others’



How do you assess the emergence of Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari  as Nigeria’s president at this time?
I don’t want to go into the role the international community played nor do I wish to talk about the key roles some powerful Nigerians played.  I also choose not to talk about the traditional regional and sectional struggle for power in Nigeria and how they all played out. 

The important thing is that God knows everything. It is God’s will that Buhari would be president today. How he runs the country will greatly decide the future and answer your question.  His style of governance will also determine the fate of the opposition party, the PDP. 

If we march along a divisive or sectional agenda, by not treating all fairly, then the aggrieved zones will gather round the PDP and strengthen it. The future depends largely on President Buhari’s large heart and style.

Do you have faith in the new administration? Can it make the change being yearned for in some quarters?
President Buhari seems to mean business. We all must support him and pray for him. I think he knows that Nigerians expect so much from him. At 73, I do not think he came on board merely to play around. I think he wants to put his name in history as the man who united and rebuilt Nigeria. I think he knows this is a very serious business.

How is the South East welcoming the new government?
Well, we in the Southeast voted for President Jonathan massively and he didn’t win. So, the normal adjusting to the reality will take some time. Some clever Dicks, Toms  and Harrys will like to exploit the situation to drive their personal agenda, and cloak it as if it is the  Southeast agenda.

All these things are to be expected, but what is on ground is that people of the Southeast have accepted the reality, and we support President Buhari to rebuild, restructure, and grow the country. We have nothing against him. We wish him well, and we are praying for him to succeed.

The South East seems to have suddenly become the bastion of opposition for the PDP. How does it go? 
Yes, the PDP would like to use anybody to bounce back to relevance, but whether they deserve the continued support of the zone depends largely on how the ruling APC treats the zone. 

If the APC is smart enough to generously carry the Southeast along, I don’t think my people really care  about any political party. We don’t know the difference between the APC and the PDP; we just want to see a restructured Nigeria where no man is oppressed, where all are equal, where nobody is born to rule, and where true federalism reigns. 

Political parties are merely constitutional vehicles politicians use to drive their quest for power. The Southwest has moved from AD to PDP to ACN then to PDP/APC; the North has moved from APP/PDP to ANPP to CPC and PDP and now to APC.Political parties do not matter to us; justice and equity matter more to us. We want to see a functional Nigeria. Regrettably, Nigeria can never function well under this quasi-unitary structure.A section of the political class are trying hard to deceive Nigerians by pretending that once the new government fights corruption and Boko Haram, all will be well. That is not true. 

I agree we need to fight sleaze and the Boko Haram madness. But beyond both lies the foundational disease of a dysfunctional political structure of 36 unviable states and 774 local governments on a monthly cake-sharing formula that will never grow our economy nor create jobs. 
We are simply stuck with a clearly unworkable political structure; we are deceived by the euphoria and excitement of a change of guard amongst the guardians of the till and the dispensers of political patronage. Not much has changed really. New guys just took over the till.

Ohanaeze Ndigbo especially its youth wing, has  allegedly given President Buhari a list of people to appoint as ministers. Is this the position of the Southeast in this regard?
My dear brother, I am as embarrassed like those that feel so. The same Ohanaeze youths went to Otuoke to welcome Jonathan the day he returned home. A week after, they issued a statement, calling on the Buhari regime to collect a list of the south eastern PDP members who just finished working with Jonathan, whom they want him to prosecute.  This really became embarrassing to people.

The same Ohanaeze youths called for Uwazurike’s arrest. When I spoke with Uwazurike on the phone, he said he believes it is the elders that want to sacrifice him, and use his blood to endear themselves to Buhari. The same Ohanaeze youths, who said that they were another Ojukwu to fight Buhari, are now giving Buhari a list of people to employ.

It is obvious they can’t do all these without their elders prodding them, but the desperation to endear themselves to Buhari is embarrassing the entire Igbo nation. Not even the Arewa or the Afenifere has drawn a list for Buhari. People are wondering why Ohanaeze should be drawing a list of ministers for Buhari. Is it not so idiotic. 

I don’t speak for Ohanaeze; I don’t even know the one that is the right Ohanaeze. There is so much confusion. I have stayed away from them for a long time. I have not spoken to any of their leaders for more than two years. I have not seen them, I have not spoken to them and I’ve not met with them; so, I am not interested in speaking about Ohanaeze. I can only tell you that I am as embarrassed like others that are.But you and I know that the so-called youth wing cannot be saying all these without the prompting of their elders.

So, what one can take away from it is that the elders are desperate to be relevant, and desperate to endear themselves to Buhari. This is the bane of Ndigbo since the (Nigerian civil) war ended. And it is so unfortunate.

Anyway, will Buhari be fair to the Southeast?
Inasmuch as a lot depends on President Buhari’s style, Ndigbo themselves must sit up and decide on what they want. Igbo will never survive nor get justice in Nigeria until their leaders learn to lead by example, chart a noble course, work hard and walk steadily towards the goal, and make the needful and necessary sacrifices that will lay a solid foundation for a better tomorrow. 

The rat race of falling over themselves for crumbs in every government will not help us. It is a calamity when any people are led by a bunch of hustlers who are only out for themselves. No people ever made meaningful political progress that way.  Buhari and his team made huge sacrifice for 12 years. They got there because they persevered without compromising their set goal like the biblical Esau, who mortgaged his tomorrow for the fleeting satisfaction of today. Only sacrifice and commitment pays in the end. Cutting corners does not pay.

Ndigbo are ashamed of the bootlicking culture their elders seem to have mastered since January 1970. It is nauseating, it is despicable, and it is unacceptable. People should be able to stand up for the truth. The situation is so bad that the younger generations are forced to break out on their own in desperate search of how best to redeem their honour and better their lot as a people. 

Nigeria, as constituted, does not offer them hope or assurances of justice for their children in the future. They are trying out both sensible and not quite sensible options, including secession all in a desperate bid for solution to their fears.

If Buhari gives Ndigbo a true sense of belonging, will they embrace the APC?
My dear brother, the answer is neither here nor there. I do not belong to any political party; I do not speak for any political party. What I want President Buhari to know is that if he doesn’t give Ndigbo a sense of belonging, then those elders, who told us that he is an Igbo-hater will be proven correct. 

If he gives Ndigbo a sense of belonging, by listening to our cry to restructure this country, Ndigbo will finally come to see that he is not as evil as we have been told, and they will begin to maybe appreciate him, to work with him, even embrace him. The choice is entirely his. 

We are a people oppressed and marginalised. We came into Nigeria with all our heart, but some other people convinced themselves that they had to blackmail Ndigbo in order to remain relevant. No section of this country has suffered pogrom, like we did. No section of this country has suffered a civil war, like we did – three million died in 30 months. 

No section of this country has been hunted and afflicted like we have. We lost all our savings in the banks. No matter what you had in the bank in Nigeria in 1967, all you got back in 1970 after the civil war was twenty (20) pounds. No other section has ever been oppressed that way. And yet we continue to work to make Nigeria great. 

But as the years pass by, we have come to see that the envy towards Igbo man’s industrious nature is growing by the day. When the FCT was constituted and built – go and check the records – the people that allocated the lands at the FCT made sure that Igbo people got less than five per cent of all allocations. Yet, 20 years later, Ndigbo owned almost half of Abuja.

Because they bought from those who got the allocations. Those who got the allocations finally sold them to the Igbo man. And that has raised a lot of envy, and our generations are afraid, that if nothing is done to stem this tide of envy, which is growing by the day, there could be another genocide against Ndigbo tomorrow. 

We don’t have to wait until it happens. We don’t have to fold our hands until it happens, and then the United Nations will send a peace-keeping force, and the whole world will focus on Nigeria killing Igbos again. We don’t have to wait until it happens. 

The degree of envy towards the Igbo man is so frightening. Just look at what is happening. Some people are working hard so that President Buhari will not appoint an Igbo man as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. That is a clear example of the degree of hatred towards the Igbo man. 

Those people know that that will turn Ndigbo against President Buhari, and that that will create an animosity that will be difficult to heal. But some people are seriously working towards that. They are envious of the Igbo man, and they have convinced themselves that they have to bring down the Igbo man before they can be relevant themselves. That is the reality of the Nigerian situation. 

That agenda to oppress and afflict the Igbo man is causing so much ripples and so much problems in Nigeria today. In the Southeast where I hail from, millions and millions of Ndigbo have lost faith in Nigeria, and the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not care, they don’t want to know, they believe it doesn’t matter, they want to keep it like that until something happens tomorrow, and then the United Nations will send a peace-keeping force to Nigeria. 

But until something happens, they will not see the wisdom of nipping in the bud this emotion, this feeling of alienation, which causes people to lose faith in Nigeria. I think it is quite proper to begin early to nip in the bud these feelings of alienation that result in millions of Ndigbo losing faith completely in Nigeria, and believing that the only solution lies in a separate nation.
I think if Nigeria nips in the bud that emotion, and begins to correct it early, it will save all of us a lot of headache in the very near future. 

How would you judge former President Jonathan?
He meant well for Nigeria. The hyenas, who held him hostage, grossly deceived him. Some of them from the Southeast, who loved to be called Jonathan’s handlers, who walked with a swagger and blocked everybody else from him, have all abandoned him; they are now all in hot pursuit of Buhari’s boots. 

With their tongues dangling out, they are desperately searching for anybody who will lead them to Buhari’s boots. They are expert bootlickers. Surprisingly, when I spoke with some of them soon after the elections, they were heaping all the blames on Jonathan and his wife.

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