Buhari, Ndigbo and political permutations
Sir: Truly Ndigbo largely worked for the re-election of former President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 Presidential election as they did in 2011.They did not reckon that President Buhari and the APC would make any surprising turn-around considering the legendary power of incumbency then.
That was why even the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo turned down several requests by Buhari to have audience with Igbo leadership before the elections. That stand by the apex Igbo body contributed to the detached and not-too-keen attitude of President Buhari to Ndigbo at the early stages of his government. If we are sincere to ourselves, who will not do that after his experience with Ohanaeze Ndigbo leadership.
Was it not the same Buhari that picked Chuba Okadigbo for VP in 2003 and Edwin Umezuoke for same position in 2007. He only put his searchlight in the west in 2011 and 2015 when it was glaring to him that Ndigbo had already made up their mind. Who will not do that in his position, if we are to be sincere to ourselves.
Yes, Buhari may have fought against Ndigbo during the war, but was it not the same Buhari that later became a good pal of Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu, the Biafran leader. We have to be careful when we judge people. Did some Igbo not sabotage or even fight against Biafra?
Yet, the Buhari camp has to realise that Igbo did not give Jonathan the kind of total support they gave him in 2011. For instance Abia State gave Jonathan 300,000 votes in 2015 but more than one million in 2011. The same thing happened in other Igbo states showing that Ndigbo also helped Buhari to win the 2015 election. Besides, the ANPP led by an Igbo son and a faction of the Igbo based APGA facilitated the formation of the APC which Buhari used as a platform to win the Presidential election.
The purpose of this highlight is to pinpoint the need for President Buhari to try and win the hearts and support of Ndigbo more in the present and the future. His approach to them both on the current pro-Biafra impasse and other issues should be more fatherly and empathic. Ndigbo don’t hate Buhari or any other Nigerian leader. All they want are leaders that will appreciate them and treat them on a level playing ground with other Nigerians. That is why even against the currents, some notable Igbo politicians are decamping to the APC , not because they cannot stand up in opposition but to prove that Ndigbo are ever politically liberal in the interest of the nation.