By Chioma Gabriel
The nature of the Igbo is individualist. He doesn’t give a damn about the big man who has nothing to offer the Igbo collectively.
Hence, if you are a big man in the city and you have not touched on the general interest of the Igbo, you are rich in your pocket alone and that does concern the people because your ‘bigmanism’ has not robbed off on the people.
If you are a big man in the city or even in government and you have not touched on what concerns the Igbo as a group, they won’t give a damn about you. You will remain an ‘efulefu, onaniyi’ and a scoundrel in government. Back home in your village or town, you will remain a persona non grata. Even a village loafer can raise a voice at you.
The Igbos knows their king. And that king is not someone of the royal family. It is that person that stands up to be counted when it matters most. He doesn’t have to be rich or opulent and if he happens to be and uses it for the overall interest of the Igbo,he would be eulogized and celebrated. That is why a man like Odumegwu Emeka Ojukwu would never the forgotten. At a time the Igbo needed leadership; he emerged and used his father’s wealth to fight the Igbo cause.
That an Igbo man or woman has money does not bother the average Igbo who know that the money will not be used to fight the Igbo cause.
The selfish nature of Ndigbo was what played out when Peter Obi emerged the running mate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s, presidential candidate. Those who think ‘their Mercedes is bigger than his’ came out and started speaking from both sides of the mouth. But the stature of the man swallowed the voices of dissents. When a man’s time has come, nothing anybody does will stop him.
The Igbo leader emerges at a time like this. An Igbo leader emerges at a time when the people were at a cross road. After several years of playing no fiddle at all, the Igbo need a man whose nomenclature could silence the opposition and there is no better man than Peter Obi.
The confusion that besieged the Igboland over Peter Obi’s emergence could not do much. The confusionists were dead on arrival. One would be shocked that a perceived leader of a pan Igbo group would make one statement in the afternoon and recant it before evening. Where has a governor consulted everybody before choosing his deputy? He does it alone and to suit his perceived vision. Hence, a man like Rochas Okorocha dared to change his deputy twice. Who did Governor Umahi consult before choosing his deputy and how often has anyone heard about this deputy in government affairs? Yet he wants a presidential candidate to consult him before choosing his deputy.
Evidence abound that in Peter Obi, the Igbo are dealing with a man of the people. He is a rare gem: selfless, brotherly and modest. He is not ostentatious, footloose or happy-go-lucky. He is a man with focus and committed to what governance is all about. Above all, he is completely detribalized. To the average Nigerian, he is your brother from another mother; a friend who sticks closer than a brother. He has no airs around him and would quietly move into a place to mind his business in the place at that time.
Those in the know understand that Ike Ekweremmadu is the political leader of PDP in the south east and south east political leadership believes the VP position should have gone to him.
But Atiku who is a tested politician knows about leadership issues. He knows what he wants. So he chose Peter Obi, the best governor Nigeria has ever had.
Peter Obi is not materialistic. He has only one house in Nigeria and despite being a billionaire; he would fly the economy class.
He will always tell you that nothing is wrong with economy class as the person flying the first class; economy class and business class are going to the same destination and the airplane would drop everybody at the same spot. And to drive home his point, even as a governor, he carried his own luggage. He’s not given to retinue of aides.
He refused to be an extravagant spender. Those who impeached him for refusing to be a typical Nigerian politician by signing a contract which was inflated to N481 million instead of N 81 million did not know who they were dealing with.
I am a citizen of Anambra State and I saw what Peter Obi did to communities in the state by bringing them to city standards. It is something in a man that stands him out to be counted that makes him a leader. A good leader has his idiosyncrasies.
Those wondering how a man like Nnamdi Kanu was paid any attention in the southeast should know. The Igbos are yearning for selfless leadership. And when Kanu emerged from nowhere, the youths saw in him that selflessness they have yearned for. But things got out of hand and the rest is history. Our people say that he who fights and runs away lives to fight again.
That Nnamdi Kanu re-emerged at this time is still shrouded in mystery. Nobody knows the other side of the story except that he went missing after the military invaded his Afaraukwu home. How he emerged in Jerusalem is a mystery. What about his parents? We need to hear his side of the story to know what exactly happened to him and how he got to where he is.
Nigerians may have not heard the last of Nnamdi Kanu. Perhaps, he should be brought home to tell his side of the story. Many Nigerians would like to hear him speak again. Let him tell Nigerians what happened to him.
To be an Igbo leader is indeed a serious issue.
Those who tried to pitch Ike Ekwremmadu against Peter Obi have failed. Today, Ekweremadu is at the forefront of galvanizing support for Peter Obi who represents everything the Igbo needs.
Peter Obi does not play politics. The only politics he knows is work.
Atiku understands the southeast predicament, but he wants a Vice President who will not play politics. With Obi’s antecedents, Atiku has no problem.
Those who want to use Ike Ekwremmadu against Obi have failed. Ekweremadu has been galvanizing support for Peter Obi. He believes in a man whose time has come.
Every man has his time and Ekweremadu’s time will come and when it does, nobody can stop him as it happened when he became a deputy senate president even though he belongs to opposition party. That has never happened in Nigeria before.
So, we should all join hands and support Atiku Abubakar/Peter Obi’s candidacy because their time has come.