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2011: What it could portend for SE, SS


By Zubbie Ekwueme

( Friday, December 5, 2008 )

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"The year 2011 should be designated as the presidential year for the ethnic nations of the former Eastern Region. It is about time. They are the breadbasket, the goose that lays the golden egg for Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Kaduna. " -Zubbie Ekwueme


"Democracy is : Two wolves and a Lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is : A well-armed Lamb contesting the vote!" -Benjamin Franklin

The year 2011 is sneaking-in on us. Very soon, it will be at our door steps. Remember that this is the year when the current occupant of Aso Rock, President Umaru Musa Yar’adua will seek another term or be voted out of office. So, what and how are Nigerians thinking about this date? More importantly, what are Ndigbo and in fact all ethnic nationalities of the former Eastern Region thinking about that date? It would be interesting to know if any sense if at all exists about what is going to happen regarding the presidency. In 2007, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a southerner, literally and undiplomatically handed over power to the Shariarist North. He handed power to President Umaru Yar’dua out of spite and in total defiance of the South-South and South East. He turned up his nose at the East and spat on us. No Easterner had the gravitas or the mettle to be the President of Nigeria. According to Obasanjo, neither Governor Duke, nor Governor Odili, nor Patrick Utomi was good enough. None!

Are we mad? Are we angry?
Seriously speaking, are we mad? Are South East and South-South mad enough? Then, let’s do something about it. The year 2011 should be designated as the presidential year for the ethnic nations of the former Eastern Region. It is about time. They are the breadbasket, the goose that lays the golden egg for Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Kaduna.

Broken Stool What South-East and South-South must do?
We must bury our differences. We must bury the hatchet and resurrect the espirit-de-corp of the former Eastern Nigeria. Revolution of sorts is beginning to stir in the South East and the South-South. First, the South East, the Igbo states might actually have activist governors. These governors, it is reported are doing marvelous work. However, political cohesion is still their Achilles hill. Hopefully they will begin to take baby steps towards uniting the Igbo nation. This is vitally important. The second thing going for Ndigbo is that they have established or seeking to establish South Eastern Economic Commission. Wow! That is exceptionally heartwarming and courageous. We have put our first foot out for our first step in a journey of a million miles. Third, Alhaji Dokugbo Asari is reported to have called for unity among the ethnic nations of the former Eastern Region of Nigeria. This is totally unprecedented - the very best news anyone has heard from former Eastern Region in 45 years. Asari Dokugbo must be followed up on his words. This cannot be let to die due to apathy. Igbo political elites, traditional chiefs and members of the clergy must get on this case and iron it out while the iron is still hot. The states of the South-South and states of the South East are coming together to unify and to fight together and achieve progress together. They would defy their enemies and nay-Sayers. This broken stool must be fixed before the end of the age of hydro carbon. Before oil is passe.’

What to do is simple. There is a need for urgent, soul-searching mea culpa between South-South and the South East. Nothing short of “Truth and Reconciliation” conference - that will include delegates form the Obama administration, Archbishop Desmond Tutu or the President of SA and Wole Soyinka, - must be convened in short order. All our ethnic brothers; Igbos, Bayelsans, Ijaws, Ogonis, Effiks/Ibibios, Akwa-Iboms – who now have their own states, MUST BE ASSURED that no big-brother-domination is even remotely possible. This assurance is very critical. Then and only then, can they feel comfortable sitting down to participate, to plan for a new renaissance for all our peoples. The proverbial phoenix will rise again. Nigeria will never be the same.

Map of the World Primed for Two party state
Senate President Ken Nnamani and Former Secretary General of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Frank Kokori at the end of 2007 election, made some memorable statements that resonated with me. They both separately and independently advocated for a two party system in Nigeria. What are Nigerians waiting for? What is the South East waiting for? South-South, what are you waiting for? The map on the right was first published on the internet by Jihadists’ website. The militants boasted that all GREEN areas of the map have more than 60% strong Islamic worshipers. Yellow areas have less than 10% Islamic worshipers. Well, that YELLOW speck, that little sliver of yellow is South East and South-South. Take a look at that little yellow spot. Look at it again! I want us to convince ourselves that true democracy will and can exist here. I want us to determine that a vibrant democratic party would exist in that small yellow area, that it would sally forth from the east. The East is 90% Christian and western-oriented. The East (South-South and South East) must work together to protect that little yellow spot in the interest of ideological Democracy? Every age has its own jobs cut out for them. This is our job.

Map of Nigeria Nigeria must become a two party state because it is already primed for it. It is unavoidable. It is imperative. Primed by religion and geography, urgent introduction of two-party state system must be advocated. Please, take a look at the map to the right. Two-party system is clear for all to see. The orange and ochre areas have been incontrovertibly separated into two ideological blocks – Conservative Sharia in the north (orange) and the western Democracy (yellow) middle and south. This is, ladies and gentlemen, the delineation by religion and ideology - Northern Islamic Sharia

The North have shown us the way
Ten northern states have carved out their collective Islamic Sharia – a political space. The South East and the South-South should collectively carve out theirs too? The boundaries of the former Eastern Region ought to be politically defined. Just as Sharia harkens to the law of Islam and draws inspiration form Saudi Arabia, former Eastern Region should be able to have theirs based on the Judeo-Christian principles. And look to the west for inspiration. This is critical. Inadvertently, the north has shown Nigeria the way; they have pointed us to the way to achieve true democracy and two-party system - Islamic Sharia Party in the north and Christian Democratic Party in the south, headquartered in the East. Unwittingly, they have solved our problem if we in the South East and the South-South have the gumption, the prescience, the political temerity to do the unthinkable.

Ten Ndigbo who wanted to be president
In 2007 election season, not less than ten men of Igbo ethnic nationality wanted to be president. Yes, not two, not three but ten. What a disaster of esoteric magnitude? What were those men thinking? Igbo political naïveté can be frightening and troubling. With a kaleidoscope of meaningless acronyms and alphabet soup of letters masquerading as parties these Igbo men went on the chase the fool’s gold. Nothing so shameful or asinine had ever been perpetrated on Ndigbo by Ndigbo themselves. It was like none of these so called parties ever knew that the others existed. Everybody just went about doing there own separate agendas, no Igbo agenda, no Eastern agenda, not even a credible Nigerian agenda, no nothing. It was shameful as well as stupid. Now, the question is; are we heading once again to the same debacle? Have we learned anything?

Democracy can radiate and beckon
From the east hopefully, a formidable ideological Democracy can radiate like a breath of fresh of air. It will beckon to all Christians as well as non-Christians alike. The choices between the ideologies will be stark clear - Western-Christian-Democracy OR Arabic-Islamic-Sharia. You make your choice. There is no doubt in my mind that a vibrant, ideological based Democratic party must be created as a matter of urgency in preparation for 2011. Hopefully, this party will expose the foolishness of divided Igbo; it will also attempt to bring all peoples of ethnic states of the former Eastern Region into one ideologically-based party. All western-oriented and democracy loving peoples of Nigeria will be fought for Obama style; block-by-block, brick-by-brick, calloused -hands-by-callused hands until Democracy is established in Southern Nigeria. The age of oil is fast coming to an end. We must act fast to unite. The marginalized, the neglected, the disunited breadbasket of Nigeria must rebuild itself from oil. There is very little time left.

Can the South Eastern states as well as South-South leave the third world behind and match boldly on into the 21st century. A political sea-change had just occurred in the United States of America. A black man is now at the helms of world’s most powerful nation – Barack Obama

South East and South-South please repair this stool and give Nigeria an Obama?

Zubbie Ekwueme lives and writes from New Berlin, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
Email: zekwueme@wi.rr.com

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