The last time I was intellectually stimulated by a South-East governor, was when ex-governor Chimaroke Nnamani started his lecture series. I followed the publications, thinking a philosopher king has emerged in the Nigeria political climate.
But this flash in the pan, sizzled out before I could understand the ideological populations and solutions he was offering to the hydra-headed problems confronting the Igboman and Nigeria. As they say, the rest is history, as ebe ano has a pyramid of EFCC allegations to clear, which obviously will not give time to articulate intelligently. A man, whose house is on fire, does not run after a fleeing rat, except he is a Tiv man!
At the twilight of Nnamani lecture series, came Kalu Leadership Series. It still runs fortnightly in sun newspaper, â€˜writtenâ€™ by ex-governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu. Kaluâ€™s series is more of an infantile column than what the younger generation of budding leaders would have loved to read.
Leadership has been blackmailed as the of Nigerianâ€™s problem, yet those who have held leadership positions have not deemed it fit to dust this bad image of leadership. I expect Orjiâ€™s series to focus on leadership, drawing from his personal experience as governor of Abia State for 8 years.
We want to know how to deal with erring deputies and commissioners foisted by godfathers and political considerations. Interestingly, another Igboman is on board to chart the part. Former Senate President Ken Nnamani with his leadership institute has woken up a desire in me. I honestly await the opportunity to study at this centre. Till it comes on full swing, let us look at another governor that is intellectually tantalising me; Governor Ikedi Ohakim.
My opinion of Ikedi Ohakim has been document in A letter to My governor Ikedi Ohakim. Here I shall not address the new face of Imo which is indeed green going by the algae in the stagnant gutters but the call by Ohakim at this yearâ€™s Aka Ikenga lecture held at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos. I am in firm accord with his excellence that the Igboman had lamented enough.
But the first rebranding has to be an exorcise of the Oha na Eze mentality of the Igboman. Oha means crowd, while Eze stands for royalty. It is a common knowledge that Igbos are republican, but the introduction of paramount chiefdoms, foisted a class on the psyche of the igboman. Hence some see themselves as the true rulers, while the rest of the people are ndi oha. This has been at the root of an average Igbomanâ€™s agitation against any form of political structure that will subdue him, especially, when he can afford to feed himself and never conceded any authority to any group to rule him. There is need for ndi igbo to redefine egalitarianism in the face of political reality in Nigeria. There must be a social contract among the igbos to elect their political leaders. This Abuja/other tribes anointing of igbo leaders should stop, the people should groom their own leaders.
Akin to this, is Governor Ohakimâ€™s crab mentality. According to this theory a gang of crab bottled up, pulls each other down rather than â€œpeacefullyâ€ find a way to crawl out of the bottle/calabash. This mentality can be erased, if the Igboman is made to understand the full meaning of the concept of division of labour. All Igbomen cannot rule from Aso Rock. Till the igboman stops having the owa na etiri ora mentality the igbo nation will not advance beyond the political bride to groom. Every igboman wants to be the only source of anything good in his community hence each title ends with nke mbu (the first. 1)
Another needful baggage ndi igbo must jettison, is the onyibo mentality. Of all the over 200 tribes in Nigeria, the igboman is the most desirous to forget his root. Evidence abound of the attitude of igbo oga in a federal government parastatal once the ibo language is spoken. Hardly does the igbo language sound as a clarion call for help to a distressed brother. Other tribes are united and once a non member of that tribe speaks the language, an affinity is developed, even if itâ€™s not true love. Furthermore, there is need to stop organising world igbo day in the United States. Let the brothers in diaspora see each yearâ€™s congress as an exodus to motherland. This will put pressure on the South East governors to develop their areas and arm twist the federal government into making her presence felt in the Igbo land. If nothing, in the federal roads and the airports.
The most needful rebranding of ndi igbo, is the burial of the ghost of Biafra.
The impotent attempt at resurrecting the ghost makes the other nationalities skeptical about the igbo agenda. The igbo elites, should stop playing the ostrich and denounce this irritant call for the actualisation of Biafra. The more the discordant chants rent the air, the more the neighbours of ndi igbo are ill at ease.
For the new Igboman to emerge and politically capture power at the centre, there must be genuine reconciliation with ndi mbamiri (South-South). These are kit and kin of ndi igbo but the Biafran war dealt a fatal blow on the fragile unity among the minorities of the East Central States.
I wish governor Ohakim well in this is quest for the rebranding of ndi igbo and pray that those who have been feeding fat on the marginalized mentality of ndi igbo, will see that a rebranding is necessary for us to hold our own among others in Nigeria.