Telling ourselves, the truth
There wouldn't be any need for this article if a section of this country have not taken it upon itself to continue to blackmail other parts of the country politically at every opportunity; by shamefully playing the victims of a perceived political marginalisation engineer against them by other geo-political zones.
Some Igbo readers will surely join issues with me on this article; I am also not forgetting the insults directed to my person about a month ago over the article titled "Bringing Jos to Lagos?". I can understand some of the emotional outbursts from my Igbo readers but that will not stop me from coming with yet another truth about their elites and their politics of blackmails.
Supporting the aspiration of President Goodluck Jonathan, to continue in office after May 29, 2011, was a collective one. Therefore no section of the country should take the glory, because it was borne out of the personal convictions of eligible Nigerian voters that he is the man to take us and the country to the next level of development. That is why he needs the free hand to operate without any distractions from elites looking for political favours at the expense of the country's progress and development. Most Nigerians do not care if Goodluck surrounds himself with technocrats and intellectuals from one particular geo-political zone, what we want is leadership that is both constructive and progressive. The era of my zone must have this or that, has not help us. It only add up in manacling the country's growth through the promotion mediocrity in governance.
The cry of Igbo elites that the region is being marginalise in the newly adopted zoning formula of the ruling PDP, is just another ploy in their quest to continue to take other parts of the country for fools. No other part of this country have enjoyed political patronage more than the Igbos in federal appointments since our independence from the British in 1960. Even the so-called Hausa/Fulani long grip on federal power is only a fluke, when compared to the Igbos.
Facts not lies will tell the story better; in the first republic, Igbo men were the president, senate president and speaker of the country. In the second republic, almost the same pattern played itself, the igbos were vice president and speaker of House of Representatives. As if that was not enough, in the aborted Babangida's third republic, they got the speakership of the house. And were senate president for eight years in this present republic. All this while the Yorubas got nothing; yet Yorubas are an integral part of this country and going by territorial space and established population figures are more than the Igbos. The only time Yorubas ever tasted democratic power at the Federal level was when Obasanjo was made president and later Dimeji Bankole as Speaker. For thirty-nine years, no Yoruba man or woman held any of the four powerful political offices in the three political era Nigeria had. No one heard any cry of marginalisation from the Yoruba-nation. Even the presidency we later got in the forth political dispensation, was gotten after a grave injustice was done against a Yoruba son, who won a legitimate election, clean and square.
Today, there is no powerful political position someone of Igbo extraction have not occupied. They've been President, vice president, senate presidents, and speakers of Federal house of representatives. Funny, only in the last twelve years did Yorubas attain the political offices of President and speaker. Even the Hausa/Fulani that the southern press vilify at every opportunity, have never been senate president. So who is marginalising who?
Moving to the military, though positions are suppose to be based on merits, the Igbos elites are never short of shouting the marginalisation songs, yet they have enjoyed all the powerful positions in the military at different times in our history. No one would belief that the only Yoruba man ever to be appointed chief of Army staff lasted for only a month before he was replaced by then President Shagari in what was obviously an ethnic agenda. His name is Lt. General Alani Akinrinade. No Yoruba Officer have been given that position ever since.
The Igbo elites seem to be in a competition with Yorubas. They are forever after what is allotted to the Yorubas. Is either they want the speakership of the House presently given to the south west or the same number of states with the Yorubas. The Igbos want six states in their zone like the Yorubas; forgetting that only North, East, west and Mid-western regions existed in the past. Today, the old northern region is nineteen states, the old eastern region is nine states, the mid-western region is two, while the old western region is just six states. Now, the big question is who genuinely deserves more states?
If there is any justification in the marginalisation songs and rhymes being amplified by Igbos, then Yorubas are the ones truly marginalised. Yorubas have suffered more than any of three major tribes from outright denial or being short-change in top federal appointments since independence. The fact that Yorubas have remain devoted to making sacrifices as the opposition to government in the centre, while the rest of the country shared positions in the federal level, is not a reason for any part of the country to take them for fools. Yorubas have never complained because all we wanted is a federal government that is responsive to the plights of the people. For once lets see the Igbos do the same.
The Igbos should learn to take a clue from Yorubas and stop acting like spoilt brats. It does not matter who is in charge, what the Igbo elites should do is to produce the master plan for the development of their region and put it on the negotiating table. This apply to all the zones in the country. That's the only way we can make Jonathan's presidency work for us.
President Jonathan should be given the freehand to pick his team. The man should be allowed to give Nigerians constant electricity supply, create employment, clean water, improved education, transport and agricultural sectors. These are the reasons the masses of Nigeria overwhelmingly gave him their votes. Every vote from all the six geo-political zones matters in the victory of President Goodluck Jonathan; that's why these Igbo elites must be told that the era of cheap blackmail is over.
By Olurotimi Adeola