By Dr Ugoji Egbujo
Gov Soludo has hit the ground running. But while running on slippery ground, haste should be made slowly.
Soludo has taken the bull by the horns. He is courageous. But with an angry bull, deep in a china shop, courage must be tempered with tact. While brimstones are still falling and daggers are still drawn, what’s the incentive to tell hurtful self-indicting truths? If Soludo had timed his truth commission with tact, he would have scheduled it for the post ceasefire period.
The magnificent Aguata local govt headquarters has been razed. A senseless culture of arson is afoot. It was razed the day Soludo named a truth commission. Hands and feet must be on deck to check the menace.
But a truth commission, no matter how noble, is not a fire bridge squad. A truth commission is supposed to excavate skeletons hidden by the rubble so that the living can heal. So that tomorrow can see yesterday. A truth commission constituted in the active case of atrocities will become, at best, a commission of inquiry. If Soludo wants a spade, let him go for a spade.
It’s important to make haste to alleviate poverty. A sensible governor must hurry to clear the mountains of filth choking and dehumanizing Okpoko people. Gov Soludo started well. Prosperity and well being can’t return without security. So Soludo started well. But politicians are politicians. And sometimes, the cheering carries them away.
So instead of running, they start galloping. Otherwise, how did Soludo, who touts himself as a solution provider, seek to inject a truth commission into the crises in the southeast without involving the other governors. Truth commission sounds lofty. And politicians want to claim ownership of ideas. But even lofty ideals, hastily and poorly conceived, can be grandiose.
Truth Commission is Restorative justice. The aim always is to unearth and consequently help healing and prevention. It’s hoped that Soludo Solution, at its core, isn’t this roadside cosmetology that this Truth Commission reeks of. It can’t be arrogance. And it’s not charlatanism. Soludo should know; he should know that going solo would be futile.
He should know that true leadership involves the building of cohesion. His first task ought to be the mobilization of his brother-governors and Igbo leadership to collectively pull in the federal government. A clear-eyed, soberly reflective pan Igbo village meeting with the full involvement of the southeast governments and the federal government is the only solution.
Hopefully, Soludo isn’t playing to the gallery. Because he is a breath of fresh air. It would be sad to see him fall prey to charlatanism which has crippled Igbo politics. Any truth-telling must start from Soludo and to Soludo. If Soludo bothered to study the South African Truth Commission, he would have appreciated the caliber of the head of that commission. And the pivotal role the acceptability of the head of the commission played. A divisive character can’t head a truth commission. If Soludo had reflected on the Oputa panel, he would have appreciated that everything rested on the gravitas of Justice Oputa. Any truth commission instituted in Igboland over this crisis must be headed and peopled with people like Justice Oputa and Desmond Tutu.
A truth commission is not a playfield for rabid sensationalism and cunning political chicanery masquerading as human rights crusading. Of what use is a truth commission in which the stakeholders have not expressed any confidence. How will that commission attract confidence if it looks like a knee jerk contraption? Bringing in people from across the Southeast states to participate in an Anambra Truth Commission is divisive in itself. The Igbo nation should sit together, Oha and Ezes, to harness the power and spirit of the collective. The Igbo need thoroughgoing, bone-deep unity, not facades. This isn’t the time for showmanship.
Soludo’s immediate job is fire fighting. Since he looks like the natural leader, yet a newcomer, he must stoop to forge fellowship with other Southeast leaders. Then the governors must come together to reason with the youths. The IPOB and the other youth groups should yield to dialogue with the governors and southeast politicians, and religious leaders. That way, any criminals feasting on the motherland can be isolated. When common grounds are reached, the governors and other leaders should go to the federal government with demands, concessions and guarantees. It must be done in the spirit of give-and-take. A concerted political effort from the southeast will yield peaceful and progressive outcomes.
Any one-man show is a kindergarten comedy.