“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” –Martin LutherKing, Jr.
The 2015 general elections might be over but the indelible footprints it left on our political shore will remain trans-generational in the annals of history. Historians will continue to make reference to 2015 as a year that redefined Nigeria’s political voyage, when taken into considerations landmark successes recorded during the course of this noble exercise and the entrenchment of democratic principles in the polity, which ultimately made Nigeria the true winner of these elections.
It is no longer news that President Goodluck Jonathan of PDP, gallantly lost to Gen. Muhammadu Buhari of All Progressives Congress, who is now President-Elect of Nigeria. Congratulations to the nation’s indefatigable President-Elect, Gen.Muhammadu Buhari, who defiled all the hurdles placed on his way to emerge as the nation’s democratically elected president, but a million congratulations should go to President Goodluck Jonathan, who made it possible for the long-silenced voice of Nigerians to be heard now by creating an enabling political environment that enabled our votes to count, by providing Prof Jega’s led INEC adequate resources and true independence it required to deliver the much-needed free and fair elections. President Jonathan transcended into heaven of statesmen and engraved his name in gold when he made that historic call to congratulate Gen. Buhari, which secured the much needed post-election peace in the country. This courageous step has not only deepened our democracy, but has set the pace for losers in the just concluded Governorship and State Assembly polls to congratulate the winners.
The story of 2015 general elections would not be complete without mentioning the roles played by Igbos in deepening Nigeria’s democracy. I was inspired to write this piece when I came across articles written for the sole purpose of portraying Igbos as being politically naïve for throwing their weight behind President Jonathan. Some of the so-called voodoo analysts described Igbos as a race wallowing in ‘political wildernesses’ because of their massive and formidable support for President Jonathan. Unfortunately, all these baseless and ignoble attacks on Igbo nation for making their choice were borne out of sheer ignorance of what truly defines an Igbo man or woman. These media tigers pouring venoms on Igbo race are simply bereft of the reasons why Igbos voted for Jonathan. Igbos voted for Justice, Equity and Freedom not Jonathan, fortunately for him, he represented the three main reasons why Igbos voted for PDP in bloc. President Jonathan did a lot to heal the wounds of civil war which endeared him to the Igbos; he gave Igbos a sense of belonging by integrating Igbos both politically and economically into the nation’s centrifugal equation of governance. He made Igbos understood that this country belongs to all of us, irrespective of our places of birth, tribe and religion. I can say it authoritatively without mincing words that Igbos will still vote for Jonathan a thousand times again without regrets if he chooses to context again in the near future; as long as we continue to sense that scent of justice, equity and freedom in him. Anyone accusing Igbos of being gullible for voting for justice and self-emancipation in the name of Jonathan, is either drowning in the ocean of naivety or wandering in the desert of illusions, which is the hallmark of a person crying more than the bereaved.
Most of the self-righteous opinion writers are of the school of thought that it would be difficult for an Igbo man to govern a heterogeneous nation like Nigeria base on the current political permutations. Unfortunately for them, an average Igbo person is productive, progressive, industrious, self-determined, republican in nature; and independent of government at the centre to survive. This explains why Igbo has remained the most adventurous nation in the entire black race, which positioned them as the engine propelling Nigeria’s economic development. It is an irrefutable assertion that Lagos State as the economic capital of Nigeria attained this enviable status because of economic dexterity and investment prowess of the wise men of the East who migrated to the city of excellence in search of greener pasture as a result of their metropolitan nature and adventurous spirit.
Political power or not, Igbo nation would continue to thrive, survive and progress in any corner of the globe where human beings have the innate ability to survive. Therefore, those crying for the Igbos for expressing their quest for justice, equity and freedom should spear their tears for other noble cause. President Jonathan lost the election, but the Igbos won the war against agents of divide-and-rule by uniting and speaking with one voice for the first time, which is sending jitters down the spine of those who have being using divide-and-rule to incite Igbo brothers and sisters against each other. Never again will any Nigerian with Igbo blood flowing in his veins be treated as a second class citizen in this forced marriage called Nigeria. Why it is that other region expressed their franchised without fear, but Igbo nation is being vilified and insulted for upholding their fundamental human rights by voting for candidates of their choice? Must everyone be intimidated into voting for a particular candidate? Igbos are not against President-Elect, Gen.Buhari but against the proponents of marginalization and inequality, who view Igbos as a conquered and defeated race that must be kept down at all cost. Igbo nation is ever ready to give their maximum support to the incoming administration provided it will prove to us through its policies and programmes that civil war has ended and Nigeria of 21st century is no longer the same country of 1960s, that every Nigeria irrespective of his language and faith is free to live and work in any part of this country without fear of intimidation or segregation.
As long as humanity persists, Igbos will continue to co-exist peaceful with other fellow Nigerians in any part of this country. To my fellow Igbo opinion writers, who insult the sensibilities of Igbo nation in other to project themselves as pan-Nigeria, or those who have sold their conscience and birth right to be able to eat the crumbs falling from their masters table, posterity beckons! Why I am at a very high risk of being tagged an ethnic bigot for standing up for justice and freedom of my people, I will like to state clearly that a man, who is not ready to die for the cause he believes in; is not worthy to live, apology to Martin Lutherking, Jr.
Comrade Nwobodo Chidiebere, social commentator, writes from Abuja.