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De Moment of Truth

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Ndigbo are facing a very trying period with the current quit order given to them by Arewa to vacate the northern parts of Nigeria before October 1, 2017. While it may be easy to accuse Hausa Fulanis for their insensitivity, I believe that in retrospect, Ndigbo should have by now identified why, how and where the rains started to drench them in Nigeria.

Ndigbo are facing a very trying period with the current quit order given to them by Arewa to vacate the northern parts of Nigeria before October 1, 2017. While it may be easy to accuse Hausa Fulanis for their insensitivity, I believe that in retrospect, Ndigbo should have by now identified why, how and where the rains started to drench them in Nigeria.

Personally, I have identified this problem as absence of political unity arising from a dearth of leadership. This is the third time this subject is featuring on this column, the last time being on August 2, 2016. It is being repeated for emphasis.
With the coming of the APC federal government and the hue and cry of marginalization and alienation of Ndigbo by other ethnic nationalities, a new consciousness has arisen in Igbo land. This new consciousness is identified as “Political Unity". With this development, it appears that Ndigbo have suddenly realised that their marginalization and alienation are the consequences of the absence of political unity. If this is true, what then is political unity and how can Ndigbo achieve it?
The definition of political unity was captured in my articulation of “How Ndigbo can Survive Nigeria's Politics" which was published on this column some time ago as "The ability of Igbo political class to close ranks and subscribe to a single political party to dominate Igbo land". The definition of political unity was also provided by the governor of Imo state, Owelle Rochas Okorocha while addressing an assembly of Igbo leaders recently in Owerri thus: "Let us break the jinx of disunity caused by politics because what unites us is far more than the political parties that divide us. We shall know the points to speak about politics and the time to speak as Ndigbo. Let us know when to play politics and when to be Ndigbo".
The indispensability of political unity is eminently pronounced in a polity like Nigeria with several ethnic groups struggling for the control of state resources.
Political unity holds the key to the selection of priorities and development of a people. In addition, it is an eloquent testimony of unity and strength, a veritable antidote for marginalization by others. For example, the strength of Ndigbo during the first and second Republics were respectively anchored on NCNC and NPP which dominated the region then. Political unity accounted for why NPC invited NCNC to join it in forming the federal government in the first republic. It was for the same reason that NPN invited NPP to join it in forming the federal government during the second republic. Political unity amounts to political power. The beauty of it is that Ndigbo shared political power with the Hausa Fulani who won federal elections in the first two republics and Zik became the President while Edwin Ume- Ezoke became Speaker of the National Assembly.
On the other hand, Igbo political class during the fourth republic decided to join mainstream national politics and disbanded political unity in Igbo land. With the help of the military under PDP, Igbo politicians rigged elections and stole the people's mandates. For example, APGA which clearly won the gubernatorial elections in Imo and Anambra states were awarded to PDP. The same was the case in Abia state in 2015. As we have seen, our politicians stole political mandates and therefore owed no  allegiance to the electorate.
Unfortunately however, while the rigging of elections lasted, the Hausa Fulani partners of the Igbo political class realized that the political unity which existed in the days of NCNC and NPP no longer exist. That realization made them to look the direction of Yoruba land for a new political partnership. The result is that Ndigbo lost their grips of political power and hence the marginalization and alienation.
This is the position we are in right now simply because the Igbo political class failed to develop their political base, the grassroots. Therefore the challenge before Ndigbo now has to do with how we can achieve political unity.
If Ndigbo will achieve political unity, it means that the political class has to close ranks and develop a single political party to dominate Igbo land. It means that we should be playing politics in such a way that we can "speak as Ndigbo" as canvassed by Owelle Rochas Okorocha. The question that may be asked at this stage is this: Can Ndigbo political class close ranks and  "break the jinx of political disunity" without a leadership to drive it? This then brings us to the leadership question tormenting us.
Talking about leadership, Ndigbo should borrow a leaf from the Yorubas where Afenifere provides leadership to their political class and that is the reason it is not possible for them to dither from clearly set programs. This is the area Ohaneze is failing Ndigbo. No organization can succeed without leadership. The Hausa Fulanis have their leadership. The people of Israel had their leadership. In fact, the case of Israel is very instructive and needs recounting here for effect.
For example, the bible made us to understand in 2Chr18:16 that Israel had assembled at Ramothgilead for a battle against the Syrian army but without a leader. As was their tradition, Ahab the King of Israel enquired from the Lord concerning the battle. When Prophet Micaiah made the enquiry, the first thing God asked the prophet was if Israel was ready for the war to which the prophet confirmed. But because the Prophet told God that Israeli soldiers were scattered at the war front  " as sheep that have no shepherd ", God told the Prophet to tell Israelites to return home as according to Him, "These have no master..."
The lesson which we can learn from the case of Israel is that notwithstanding the fact that Israel had assembled for war, every man was ready, the absence of a leader who would have organized them made them "scattered" and therefore rendered them incapable of fighting, which was God's reason for ordering them out of the war front. The picture of Israel fully assembled for war without a shepherd is exactly the condition of Ndigbo in present day. Nigeria and this explains why we wield no political power at the national level. The truth is that Ndigbo should establish a dominant political party, whose leader can serve as our shepherd instead of dissipating our energies in several political parties where we play second fiddle. And it is also instructive to draw attention to what Israel said to Samuel when they demanded for a king. They told Samuel that they wanted to be like other nations who had kings that led them to wars. Although God led Israel, but since they had no person as king, their enemies used to frighten them by the presence of their kings at war fronts. This is the reason for that demand for a king: “That we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles” (1 Sam.8:20). If Israel saw the necessity for a king to “go out before us, and fight our battle”, then it behooves on Ndigbo, with what we are passing through in Nigeria where the Yorubas and Housa-Fulani frighten us with their kings, to also get a leader who will “go before us, and fight our battles”. 
The truth of this Ndigbo predicament therefore revolves around the absence of an authentic leadership to unite Ndigbo under a strong political platform. Ndigbo politicians take delight in playing national politics irrespective of the extent of relegation. The absence of leadership made Igbos to abandon their regional party, APGA, a party that was nurtured by Ojukwu. If successive Yoruba leaders after Awolowo used his party as the dominant regional political party to extend to other regions and eventually captured the entire country, why then can't Igbos grow Ojukwu's APGA to become the dominant political party and then go ahead to conquer the nation politically? Since Yorubas succeeded, Igbos can also succeed. The difference between Yoruba and Igbos lies in the existence and absence of leadership. Without a political bargaining power, Igbo land became a poaching ground for political parties from the other two dominant ethnic groups in Nigeria.  As things stand today, Ndigbo are neither PDP nor APC. Ojukwu's APGA has severally been robbed to pay both PDP and APC because Ndigbo have no leader.
Finally, it is time for Ndigbo to come together, work together under one party for their common good. A rolling stone garders no moss. Ndigbo should rebuild APGA as it remains the only viable party in Igbo land which can later be used to build political alliances across Nigeria. Rebuilding the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA under a visionary leadership remains the only pathway for political unity and the survival of Ndigbo in Nigeria's politics. At a time like this, the necessity has arisen for the emergence of a pan Igbo organization to lead us instead of groping in the dark owing to political disunity. The type of political leadership Ndigbo need is a type cast in the mould of Yoruba's Afenifere a leadership with a clear vision for the emancipation of Ndigbo.

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