By Vincent Ujumadu
A Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr Obiorah Okonkwo warned weekend that the only way for the Igbo to remain relevant in the Nigeria project was for her people to re-strategize on how to achieve their desired goals under the circumstances they found themselves.
Delivering a paper titled, ‘Ndigbo in contemporary Nigeria: Social, Cultural, Political and Economic Reflections’ at the 2019 Umunri Colloquium at Enugwu Ukwu in Njikoka local government area of Anambra State, Okonkwo, who is aspiring to govern Anambra State in 2022, observed that individual achievements of Igbo people could not be equated to the collective achievements of the Igbo nation.
According to him, despite the mansions and individual successes being recorded by the Igbo in all parts of the country, the allegation of marginalization against Igbo had continued because the people were not getting equitable share from the nation’s commonwealth.
He said: “We need to constantly interrogate ourselves in order for us to build a future that will work for the Igbo people. I believe that the sort of individualism that has replaced communalism in Igbo land has left us at the mercy of development. This individualism has left us thinking more about the self than our communities.
“Today we see a new wave of Igbo entrepreneurship, which is a growth from what the Igbo had been known for, namely innovation, ingenuity and risk-taking, which are all core requirements for success in business.
“What has happened is that we have transformed from mere trading in goods to developing and managing big businesses across various sectors. Despite all that, the Igbo people still lament.
“The Igbo must, therefore, quit lamenting and begin to see the opportunities we have missed as new opportunities for growth. If the Igbo political landscape must be reworked, the Igbo must ensure that their businesses lead.
“When we achieve that, then we can use it to swing political power to our advantage. It is simply about using economic power to negotiate political power to your favour, even if you are not the one sitting in the office.
“The central message is that we have to go back to our old values, which is what made us who we are. And we have to look into our leadership selection process. I am advocating selection plus election.
“The system of democracy of all comers has not helped us to produce great leaders who are groomed and who are prepared for the service of the people.
“So, until we get that right, we will continue to have wrong representation in this country and we will continue to lose our grip on the affairs of the nation.