Immediately after the Nigeria/Biafra Civil War, the Federal government through Gowon, then president, declared ‘No Victor, No Vanquished’ as the after-war policy for national integration. Igbos have been vanquished in many spheres of life which they have risen above but one area which this vanquished spirit is still rearing its ugly head is in politics. Igbos have struggled hard these past 43 years to be relevant politically, all to no avail thanks so much to lack of genuine political leaders. Genuine Igbo political leaders have been in short supply! What the vanquished spirit of the war gave Igbos are political harlots who rarely define their stand. I call them ‘concubinal’ politicians because they are very ready to engage in a political ‘concubinal’ relationship rather than the real deal: political marriage, association.
Igbos have got it too good until recently! When Rochas emerged as the winner of the 2011 gubernatorial elections in Imo State, jubilations were wild in the air. Finally, the beautiful one has been born! This atmosphere of happiness and jubilation has been cut short by the activities of the beloved one, Rochas. Popular opinion was that as he has emerged Governor of Imo State, he will use his massive goodwill to turn around the fortunes of his new found political party, the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). Such was the opinion that even advice on how to achieve it was freely given even on the pages of newspapers and on social networks. I read on how revered
technocrats and professors were advising Rochas to take this line of action. Well, the man has got his own plan!
Most of the political strategies of the beloved one have called for serious questioning! Rochas has shown blatant disregard for the rule of law, failed to abide by the court ruling to reinstal sacked local government council chairmen whom he sacked unconstitutionally. His administration so far has been nothing but a clear lack of political maturity, of great cordiality with opposition, and of tested and popular political strategies. In all honesty, on the average, performance-wise, Rochas has tried but his efforts are not good enough. To whom much is given much is expected of him! The masses of Imo State gave Rochas their undivided votes believing him to take them to the promised land. Have they asked for too much? Have they reached that promised land? It is so easy to be loved as a philanthropist but as a politician, it is another issue.
An area Rochas has shown his seeming lack of political strategy and thinking is in his new political ‘concubinage’ to the new opposition: All Progressive Congress (APC) or whatever name she takes in the future. Political associations are themselves wonderful only if one brings something to the table. Personally, his association with the merged opposition political parties is a classical lesson in how not to become a politician if one doesn’t know how to lead a people. What will this association
benefit Igbos by taking an already divided party to the merged opposition? What is his bargaining power in the new association? Will he command respect in the new opposition? One enters such alliance as equals! An unequal in an alliance of this nature will always come out an unequal and also be given an unequal treatment! Is the unequal treatment worth it? Hear George Orwell, author of Animal Farm: 'all men are equal but some are more equal than the other.' Then, what will they be in politics? Equals? In politics, men are never equal and never will they be! As far as we know, the only parties that can truly lay claims to the new formed opposition are the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). All Nigerians People Party (ANPP) can lay a fair claim also. All others, I say all others, are there to eat from leftovers! Are leftovers good enough for Igbos?
Rochas should have understood that he is not ripe to partake of such an alliance. The divided party he is taking with him to the alliance cannot compete for influence and attention with other parties in the alliance. Political theory is quite different from practical politics. He is dealing with human beings who are predominantly interested in 'what's in for me' and 'what did he bring'. Human beings that are predominantly selfish and self – centred! They will surely take him to the cleaners in the alliance when it comes to the spoils of political office! Again, the popular opinion was that Rochas should have made effort to make APGA the sole party in South Eastern (SE) Nigeria. Is the task difficult? No! The masses of SE Nigeria, at least myself, have been waiting patiently for such a killer move! Igbo politicians and political harlotry! Look at what ACN is to the South West (SW) of Nigeria.
Who dares not to respect ACN? Can APGA be respected like ACN now? I beg to differ! Igbos badly need a party that is very local to them and understands their problems. Since after the civil law, the SE has turned an undeveloped area majorly because of the nonchalant attitude of the government at the centre and also of corruption.
The SE needs APGA! APGA truly is a local party that can attend to the plight of Igbos. What does Rochas do to APGA? He tears it apart because of his selfish interest! Selfish because the interest of his people should be above his! Again, this is a classical lesson on how not to put too much trust and hope on untested politicians. Rochas has turned a traitor! Rochas abandoned a grand plan for his selfish interest! Rochas would have been revered like a demigod by Igbos had he achieved this
grand plan of APGA as the sole party for the SE.
A leader is known by the sacrifices he makes! Rochas is not ready to make hard political sacrifices that are really obvious for everyone to see. Not a sacrifice of security vote when we know there are other avenues to still get back such money! Contract kickbacks are one! Nevertheless, the sacrifice of security vote is praiseworthy! The best his political harlotry with the new opposition will get him is a deputy – presidential slot. That is if he gets it! Who says Rochas cannot be President of Nigeria with APGA? Patience is just what is needed! Good strategies work with time. Had Rochas achieved this grand plan, when he entered such alliance as the new one, he would have entered with great respect and could ask for almost anything. Being the National Leader of a strong party in Nigeria gives one a demigod status.
Rochas can still take APGA to that great height, becomes a strong National Leader of APGA and also becomes the President of Nigeria. All these things are possible if only he learns to keep good political strategists around him or be one himself. Time structures everything! He should learn to wait on time. He should not put the cart before the horse. This writer still believes in him and hopes he will listen to the appeal of this article. Good men are hard to find in politics and if one is found
he should be encouraged.