It is a heart-wrenching scenario the orchestrated marginalization of the South East of Nigeria by the Government of Nigeria; everything to strangulate the region is being thrown at it. However, I am extremely miffed by the simple fact that Igbos appear to be part of the grand design to self-destruct this once vibrant Zone-our politicians at the top level of the scheme of things in Nigeria are continuously failing to fight for the people that elected[?] them. We have been abandoned by our Abuja politicians who collect huge sums of our money as salaries and perks while lying openly about representing us.
I find it particularly immoral for Igbo politicians who climbed on the shoulder of Ndi Igbo to scale the fence of hunger into opulence to now abandon the people to their wretched fate. It is true that Nigerian politicians represent the worst pack of capricious leeches and liars, it is true that they are notorious for pocketing obscene sums of money meant for societal development; what is however very true is that the politicians from the South East are men and women who see politics as a means to an end-the end being a break away from want and hunger. Although it would be wrong and insensitive of me to address all the big-politicians of Igbo extraction as belonging to this class of selfish clowns, the disturbing fact remains that collectively, they are not getting it right.
Of particular interest to me is the state of roads in the entire South East region of Nigeria; a place sinfully notorious for having the worst road network in the entire country. In an earlier essay, I likened a sojourn to the South East to an attempt at traversing the Biblical Golgotha-a place that is abundantly wretched and depressing. Our roads are completely treacherous and lives are lost daily on them while both motor vehicles and the human minds are shattered. There is no denying the fact that the Federal Government of Nigeria remains sinfully aloof to the plight of the Igbo nation; what with the lies and outright pettiness that is employed in handling every calamity that befalls Ndi Igbo? President Goodluck Jonathan should be man enough to admit his shame by apologising to us for being part of a government that orchestrated this neglect and for now leading a government that continues to snuff the life out of the South East.
I expect to hear what the Federal Government and its errand men and women of Igbo origin will say to us about the state of the Enugu Onitsha Highway, Onitsha-Owerri Highway, Enugu-Port Harcout Highway and Nnewi-Uga road. These are roads that aptly paint a picture of a war-torn Biafra during the civil war; totally dilapidated and washed out. Though Julius Berger Nig Plc is known to handle serious road repairs and construction in Nigeria, I fail to see the comic relief in the choice of a not-really-funny CCC to undertake the repairs of Federal roads in the South East. This is a company that at best appears more like an apprentice in roads construction-from the Owerri-Onitsha road to the now non-existent Enugu-Onitsha "express road", this company is engaged in what could best be described as an act of war against the people of the South East. The story is that the Federal Government is not releasing the needed funds to power these contracts.
This is where I have a serious grudge against all the elected members of the National Assembly who are Igbos; what are they doing about the apparent neglect of their region by the government they serve? Where then is that moral justification for throwing caution to the wind by "voting for Jonathan and not the PDP" when it has been revealed by no other person than the current Minister for Works, Arc Mike Onolememem that instead of the N7b required, only N300m was budgeted for the repair of Enugu-Onitsha "express road" in 2011? I did not vote for President Jonathan because I refused to be seduced by that sinister argument presented by the leadership of Ndi Igbo that they were voting for Mr Jonathan Goodluck, and not the PDP-nothing could be farther from the truth. Elected members from other regions of Nigeria form pressure groups to press the case for a greater government investment in their regions and they most times succeed- the South East is best known to have elected and selected members whose agbata-ekee mentality propels them towards fighting for their own welfare and pockets! Instead of fighting to bring development closer to their people, our elected members of NASS continue to pollute our environment with fumes coming from the many SUVs they use in driving us further into extinction-not forgetting the loud sirens that announce their presence.
The collapse of the South East of Nigeria is complete; the glaring lack of any form of infrastructural development makes the place a horrible place to live in. The average Igbo folk is comfortable with a thick sense of apathy and total disregard to anything that reeks of government; this is borne out of the fact that Nigeria as a nation continues to close its nose at the stench wafting from the sore wounds of Ndi Igbo. This could well explain the Igbo man's shallow pride at being egalitarian and republican in nature; I have everything against this mind-frame because it nurtures a situation where we fail to hold our governments accountable. By surrendering our rights to our government, we have accepted to expect that government to cater for our needs and provide an enabling environment to help us achieve our dreams. We have thus chosen representatives to help us tell this government what our needs are but alas, one continues to see a case of total betrayal and abandonment.
It is not yet late in the day for our elected representatives to rise up to the occasion and bring development to Igbo land, it will be really uplifting for any Igbo member of the National Assembly to point to one completed project financed by him/her using the millions collected in our name as "Constituency Development Funds". I chose the word "uplifting" carefully here because, it is no secret that these men and women pocket hundreds of millions of Naira which they collect in our name without bothering to give something back to the society. Everywhere in Igbo land, I continue to see men and women who went to Abuja as either "Distinguished Senators" or members of the House of Representatives as honest individuals only to come back physically bloated with the attendant now macho financial muscle. I continue to marvel at this rapid growth, I continue to wonder at the speed with which they build giant mansions and acquire expensive motor vehicles and tastes, and I continue to cringe and tear at my head at the apparent misplacement of values and priorities. And then I ask is this what politics is all about?
A politics that celebrates lying to your own people and using them as a means to an end is pathetic and sad. Because of the obscene money accruable to elected politicians in Nigeria, it continues to be an enterprise that promotes the worst set of charlatan values and mediocre characters. For the purpose of this essay, I pray the politicians from the South East and Nigeria as a whole to see their trade as instrument to be directed towards a service to humanity. The evil that continue to thrive in Nigeria will not be wished away by the prayers offered daily by our religious men and women, the hunger, the diseases, the crimes, the total lack of trust, the hopelessness that stalk our nation will not grow wings and fly away. They won't; but I genuinely believe that much difference will be made if our politicians who claim to fight for the people come out to do so. God will not come down from the sky to better our lot. We, the people are dying and those elected to work for us should better give us succour before it is too late.