At least five fundamental issues confront Ndigbo in the new decade. Politicians and analysts have positioned two as if they have a shelf-life of three and half years within which they must happen, but it is not necessarily so. The call is for strategic planning that takes in short, medium and long-term perspectives.
The issues are the quest for a President of Igbo Extraction, Restructuring of Nigeria, Biafra, Accountability in the homeland and Aku na Madu Ruo Ulo. The ordering here does not speak to relevance or importance but to the way they appear in popular discourse. The last two are the most important in my view for the profound reason for the imperative of charity beginning at home.
The issues feature in the Igbo wars that resumed after the 2019 general elections but assumed prominence last December. Interestingly outsiders seeking to undermine the quest, such as Isa Funtua, began beating the drums early in the new year. Igbo groups such as the World Igbo Summit Group also came out with statements on the direction.
Accountability in the homeland of the five states of the SouthEast should be a primary concern of its elite and middle classes. Professionals from the South East have gathered like their counterparts elsewhere on various WhatsApp and Telegram platforms. The discourse, however, focuses mostly on the external. There is often masturbation on the matter of the quest for Igbo presidency by persons. Most of the contributors do not belong to and have no plans to get party cards or be part of the process of ensuring adequate representation to ensure that this happens.
Accountability is becoming a top burner issue forced on by various events. I mentioned last time the NDDC revelations concerning projects in Abia State and how its citizens joined in raping the state by not delivering on the projects for which NDDC contracted them. I call on the Abia State Government to release fully for the public record its findings concerning all the projects including sums involved, contractors, stage of work as well as plans it has agreed with NDDC for remediation. It should not end as half-hearted disclosures in a muted press statement.
Accountability for the state of things in the South East went up a notch higher during the week. Positioning as a bete noire of the region, Presidency official Lauretta Onochie weighed in with a salvo aimed at Senator Ike Ekweremadu. She alleged that constituency contracts awarded to the assistant on projects of the distinguished former deputy senate president suffered the Nigerian Factor. She claimed that Jonathan Ivoke, the official, did not deliver on the contract. Onochie made a telling remark: “Those who asked to serve Ndigbo must deliver to Ndigbo everything they have received on behalf of Ndigbo from the Federal Government”.
It sounded like a bomb on many of the platforms on WhatsApp. Handle with care has been the approach. Yet, it speaks to the matter of accountability. To get it going anywhere, you have to name, not necessarily to shame but to get a full accounting. I expect that in the days ahead, the constituents of Senator Ekweremadu in Enugu North would hear from him. More importantly, the Federal Government would go beyond naming and shaming by Ms Onochie and get all parties involved to deliver on the abandoned project.
Aku Ruo Lo and Madu Ruo Ulo is more than a rallying call. As they make the call, governors must realise that the onus is on them to deliver the policies and enabling environment. Information on fund releases to all the states of the federation is now available on various websites. They show that money sufficient to do significantly more than is currently visible has passed through the bank accounts of the governments in the South East. Why do we not have more to show and why?
The external matters call for circumspection, and for hard-nosed strategic thinking and planning. As Kenichi Ohmae of McKinsey Consulting firm affirmed, “Faced with problems, trends, events or situations that appear to constitute a harmonious whole or come packaged as a whole by the common sense of the day, the strategic thinker dissects them into their constituent parts. Then having discovered the significance of these constituents, he reassembles them in a way calculated to maximise his advantage.”
Senator Enyi Abaribe, Mma Agha, has pointed to this need to look carefully before jumping either way. The quest for the presidency by the South East is valid and just. The region should press its case hard. It should listen to persons such as Isa Funtua and Dr Chris Ngige, pick the sense in the seeming nonsense, and stride steadfastly ahead.
One of the lessons of the last four years is the need for less noise and more action. “A seed grows with no sound but a tree falls with huge noise. Destruction has noise but creation is quiet”.
The decibel of political communication for the many causes dear to Ndigbo must be creative, loud where necessary, but not noisy. There would be many baiters and mockers. Focus is desirable. The rank ordering of the priorities is also essential.
Credit: Business Day