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The South East loses out completely

At lastthe conspiracy has gone full circle. The plotters have delivered on their ignoble mandate. The design was that of willful decapitation. The target was the South East, the whipping boy of Nigerian politics.

It all started like a piece of blackmail. An entire zone was being harangued. It was being brow-beaten and derided for refusing to support a particular political party. The price to pay for this is what took place two days ago at the National Assembly. It was the day an entire zone was shut out from the leadership of the national legislature, in line with the directive of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The party and its leadership had, following the outcome of the 2019 general election, vowed that the South East must be punished for refusing to support it at the polls. The threat of annihilation has finally taken place. The National Assembly has now settled the contention for its principal officers. And the South East was not taken into consideration.

By now, the APC leadership led by Adams Oshiomhole must be congratulating itself for teaching the South East what it will, probably, see as a bitter lesson. It must be patting itself on the back for a job well done. But such triumphalism is laughable. It is cheap through and through. It can only excite little minds. It can only be the handiwork of a benighted army who follow neither the heart nor the brain. Their action, as a matter of fact, comes close to mob hysteria. It is an instrument of blackmail and its outcome is a product of hate. But the purveyors of hate need to be reminded that hate is a destructive emotion. It is a well-worn instrument in the hands of nation-wreckers. It has no place in nation-building because it necessarily leads to a counter-productive end.

The irony of it all is that those who are working hard to tear apart the fragile fabric that holds the country together still lay claim to nation-building. They still lay claim to some strange form of patriotism. But those of us who are not taken in by outward displays know that this rapacious breed is anything but patriotic. We know that patriots are scarce in this land and these nation-wreckers do not fit into the shoes of patriotism. In fact, the better way to put it is to say that Nigeria is peopled by patriotic do-gooders. What you have in real terms are pretenders to the throne of patriotism. The real patriots are nowhere close to the corridors of power. They are still virgins cocooned in the island of innocence. The venomous publics are eagerly waiting in the wings to corrupt them.

But beyond spiting the Igbo, what do the plotters intend to achieve? Do they expect a stable, progressive Nigeria? Certainly not. There is no reason, as a matter of fact, to imagine that they understand the meaning of national stability. These are ravens who do not care a hoot about what becomes of the fatherland. Nigeria, for them, is an abstract entity. It does not exist in real terms. They do not see the country. What they see is the madding crowd that populates the geographical space. That is why the struggle for the soul of the country has become a huge rat race. The shuffle has gone berserk. Sanity has taken flight. And it will surprise no one if the devil takes the last man.

But as idols of the tribe, the hate-mongers cannot see beyond their nose. They are inexorably being propelled towards Armageddon. The staccato rhythms have rent the air; and we are twisting away to the macabre dance of the jungle. Nigeria under the present order has become a boring and miserable piece of music. Those whose heads have turned torrent on account of the formlessness that is wafting out of the orchestra need some rescue. And that is where we will begin our intervention from.

If we rescue this dirge from its debilitating overreach, and deliver our message in clear, everyday language, we will be saying that the APC as a political party has erred. The party, to all intents and purposes, does not wish Nigeria well. Otherwise, it would not have comfortably gone to town without the South East. By its action, what the party wants to foist on us is a lopsided, unstable and crippled Nigeria. The point has been made time and time again that it is futile to think that Nigeria can work without a major component such as the Igbo nation. Nigerians have been told as well that as they strive to bring down the Igbo, they are, unwittingly, dragging down the country. But the yahoos that populate our political space will not understand, let alone appreciate, the point that is being made.

As a mark of discredit to itself, the APC has introduced the worst form of fractiousness into Nigerian politics. For the 16 years that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held sway, we did not have a situation where any part of the country was isolated from the national scheme of things. But the APC appears to have made discrimination a state policy. And it is usually easy to apply this divisive, non-inclusive agenda once the South East is involved.

Let us remind ourselves of the argument that ensued after the 2015 presidential election. Goodluck Jonathan, a south-southerner, stood for the presidential election and lost. The South East was made the scapegoat of the entire drama. It was subjected to ridicule and attack on account of this. Those who see life from only one prism derided the South East for voting for Jonathan. They made the action of the Igbo look like a mistake. They almost gave us the impression that everybody must vote in one prescribed way. But of course we know that nature does not permit such uniformity. It can only exist in the world of utopia. In the real world that we live in, there are as many choices as there are individuals or groups. The Igbo simply made a political choice and they have good reasons for that.

But something is worthy of note here. Like the South East, the South South also voted for Jonathan. But nobody accused the South South of having made a mistake. Nobody accused the zone of voting wrongly. That is a case of selective vilification. Or what else should we call it?

And now, the South East stuck to its guns. It has repeated what it did in 2015 by standing with the PDP in 2019. That is the crux of the matter this time. The APC establishment is incensed that the South East has rejected it again. That is the reason for the wilful exclusion. But again, like the South East, the South South voted massively for PDP. But the owners of APC are not angry with the South South. They are not disappointed with the way the South South voted. That is why they reserved a slot for the South South in the leadership of the National Assembly. You then begin to wonder why the focus is on the South East. Why are the ‘transgressions’ of the South South subsumed under the ‘sins’ of the South East? Somebody should tell us why.

But the Igbo should not weep. William Shakespeare tells us that sweet are the uses of adversity. The South East geo-polity may be down, but it is not out. Sooner or later, we will take stock. When we do, we will then come to appreciate the resilience of the Igbo. In the long run, Nigeria, the behemoth, will be the worse for it.

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