By Clifford Ndujihe
Evangelist Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, the secretary general of the Eastern Consultative Assembly, ECA, deputy secretary of the Igbo Leaders of Thought, ILT, and founder of Igbo Youth Movement, IYM, shares his thought on the state of the nation and the way forward.
On the waves of insecurity blowing in the country.
I have no comment on that yet. We have a leader Nigerians clamoured for, for 12 years, who has been president for four years. They say he is a no nonsense general under whose watch defence and security have received the largest amount of money since the beginning of Nigeria, who came to power in 2015 blaming Dr Goodluck Jonathan for insecurity and promised to stabilize the situation within six months. Please, kindly direct your question to him and his officials. I sympathize with innocent victims of the senseless killings going on everywhere, especially in Zamfara, Kaduna, and Borno states. It is sad really.
The new government will be sworn in, in two weeks, what are your expectations?
No sane Nigerian expects anything new. No magic. It will be the same old old stories and blame game. As long as we stubbornly operate this unworkable unitary structure designed by the military and legitimized by the 1979 and 1999 constitutions, we will continue to hold ourselves down, hurt the future generation and frustrate the present generation. Nothing good will ever happen to Nigeria until we reconstruct the structure of our polity, by devolving more powers and responsibilities to the federating units, probably reverting to the parliamentary system of government. Only a new constitution can save Nigeria now. It doesn’t matter how long one has been on the wrong route, you turn to the right route in order to get to your desired destination.
Nigeria, a deeply endowed country, has been on the wrong road for so long, it is time we turn right and take the right road, which is the direction of restructuring and power devolution. Nothing else can save Nigeria. Having expectations in this unwieldy and wobbling structure, amounts to self-deceit. Nobody expects anything new under this structure.
The insecurity, the agitations, the unemployment, the religious and ethnic divisions, the despair, the hatred and anger, the hunger and poverty and loss of faith in the land will not abate. Our leaders are merely deceiving themselves because they are all in the comfort zone, living like movie stars, enjoying their lives at our expense. That is why they pontificate on television. Deep down in their hearts, they know that only restructuring will save Nigeria.
Again Ndigbo voted in one direction during the last election, did Ndigbo vote right?
The Northerners who voted for Buhari in 2003, 2007, and 2011 when he serially lost elections, did they vote right? The Yoruba who consistently voted for Action Group, the UPN, and the AD without winning at the centre, did they vote right? Ndigbo are republican in nature. They are smart, independent-minded people. They brilliantly evaluate the political barometer and thermometer and make their choice. Their decision is usually anchored on the stark realities of their situation within the Nigerian political space. You cannot change their DNA, chromosomes and chromatids. Ndigbo are great people, they know what is good for everybody, their vote pattern has always been tied to what is best for Nigeria. Right from the NCNC days to the PDP of today, Ndigbo have always voted for peace, progress, unity, equity and justice. Ndigbo have never voted for division, oppression, persecution and domination of others. The rest of Nigeria should praise and learn from Ndigbo. We are very proud of our vote pattern and I urge Ndigbo everywhere to remain steady fast with truth, justice, fair play, equity and level playing field for all. We will do it again the same way if there is another election tomorrow.
Ndigbo cried of neglect and marginalization throughout the last four years, do you expect to be treated better this time around?
The Igbo nation does not depend on anybody to make progress. Ndigbo are hard working, talented, dynamic, gifted and intelligent people. Our progress on this earth is the hands of God, not any man. Anybody who thinks he can halt or stifle the progress of the Igbo race, is wasting his time.
Our only problem now is the offensive manner the great Igbo race is being insulted brazenly by two individuals. Ndigbo are pained by this grave unprovoked insult. One of them is the political over lord of a certain region of this country, who through amassing stupendous wealth and the use of strong arm tactics, decides the political fate of his region. The other is a traditional ruler he anointed not long ago unto a revered traditional stool. Both are taking Ndigbo for a ride, offending and abusing our people, while they both assume they are the smartest people in the universe. Their drama is both funny and sad.
While the political lion made sure Ndigbo were humiliated in Lagos by making sure Ndigbo were denied the right to vote, the monarch is going round humouring our people, telling us that we are twin brothers just for the 2023 presidential ambition of the political over lord. It is funny, he truly thinks our people are fooled.