Nigeria 2015: My position

By John Okiyi Kalu on 14/12/2014

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Many of my friends have wondered why I have slowed down in supporting President Goodluck Jonathan and focused more on Abia politics. According to one of them, I have "refrained from commenting on topical national issues related to 2015 presidential election". Well, they must have been very observant to notice my shift in focus.

Yes, my focus has shifted to Abia 2015. My current political priority is to see that equity reigns in my home state and mercenary politicians prevented from buying over Abia with their "pots of money". The best candidate for equity remains Dr Okezie Ikpeazu of PDP and he has my full support. More so when he is, all things put together, the best candidate for the job of Abia State Governor in the race. Having preached power shift in Abia since 2011 it will be an anathema for me to support any other candidate or sit at the sidelines and watch the noisy crowd throw Abia into another round of avoidable violence and/or rancor. The time for equity in Abia has come and every other consideration must take a back seat as far as Abia 2015 is concerned. While there is no crime in joining the crowd to make some change from our political ite egos, the cause of equity has no price tag and remains a more altruistic pursuit. When equity blesses a man, he is blessed for real. But when ite ego people achieve their objective the cost to equity and good conscience is too high for me to contemplate paying.

With regards to 2015 presidential election, I am a bit conflicted. One of my management teachers taught me that "do nothing" is a valid management decision variable in the presence of a conflict with no clear viable yes or no option. I am choosing option 0 (do nothing) in the coming  presidential election for the understated reasons.

As far as I am concerned, Ndigbo didn't reap any meaningful dividend from supporting President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 with our votes and blood. I have read the presidential mid term performance report and also realized that those who voted against Mr President in 2011 have received more dividends than Ndigbo that supported and adopted him whole heartedly. I need not restate the figures for capital projects in all the zones from 2011 to 2014. Take your time and review. The bottom line is that those who killed our people for supporting Mr President got more capital projects and even better plum public office positions.

I want to assume Mr President "rewarded" them with projects and plum positions as a way of courting their support for 2015 election as against a "thank you for killing Ndigbo". We are now facing 2015 and he and his handlers should feel free to go and harvest the votes from those areas where they invested projects and plum appointment. Oruola na omume....and if there are Igbo leaders the presidency "patronized", let them also do what they were recruited for. Mine is to simply look at the issues that were important to me and majority of Igbo common people and see how we fared under Jonathan.

As a supporter of Mr President, I  asked myself; 'kedu ihe ndigbo ketara na Jonathan nwa Goodluck'? (What did Ndigbo benefit from our massive support for Goodluck Jonathan?).

I asked that question knowing that every good politics is local. If you are going to be a great governor who will hurt Abiriba people I sure won't support you. I am an Abiriba man. Likewise, a good President who will not treat Ndigbo well will be an unwise choice for me because I am Igbo and will always be Igbo. No amount of propaganda will change me to Ijaw or "awusa". God made me Igbo and I am grateful to Him for that decision. It therefore follows that whoever is anti-Igbo is anti-JOK. Forget pretense at nationalism because I am not cut out for pretentious posturing. A Nigeria that works against Ndigbo will not work for me because Ndigbo are Nigerians too. Developing Igbo land is part of developing Nigeria. Abandoning Ndigbo is same with abandoning Nigerians.

After 2011 presidential election I had hoped that with the level of near unanimous support we gave Mr President our interests will be adequately protected in Nigeria. On the very day the results were announced by Prof Attahiru Jega I listed some key roads like Port Harcourt Road at Aba, Aba-Ikot Ekpene highway, Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene highway as well as Enugu-Port Harcourt express road as key infrastructure compensation expected from the president for our votes and blood. Of course I also mentioned Enugu-Onitsha road, 2nd Niger bridge and Enugu international airport among the key dividends Mr President must deliver to ensure that we continue to support and campaign for him and possibly forget the Nigerian equity equation that is skewed against us.

Today, as I type this note, Port Harcourt road at Aba does not exist as a road. Aba-Ikot Ekpene Highway is in a "go and die" condition. Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene highway is the best example of a killer road for those intent on committing suicide. Abia portion of Enugu-PH highway is a perennial mockery of contract awards for road repairs as the contractor, Arab Contractors, rehabilitates 2kms per year since 2011. Enugu-Onitsha highway will kill anyone with less than 5 years driving experience while the Enugu International Airport has not changed from when it was as Enugu local airport. The only difference is that Ethiopian Airlines B727-737 aircrafts now land there to freight passengers to a proper international airport at Addis Ababa before moving them to the world. I doubt if a B747 or bigger aircrafts will risk landing at Enugu for any reason. Still a glorified local airport.

2nd Niger Bridge presents the only seeming bright spot as the contractors are on site with a 3-year completion mandate. Since we are also going to pay in part for the project (and ultimately the whole cost), for the first time in the history of federal constructed bridges in Nigeria, I can accept that our money is at work. Yet I know that equivalent bridges commissioned by the Jonathan administration were wholly paid for by the Federal government even when the major users contribute next to nothing to our national GDP. 2nd Niger Bridge is therefore making history as the first Federal owned bridge to be paid for by the users and I doubt if any other zone will permit that bit of history to be extended to them. In clear terms, I doubt if Kano, Sokoto, Oyo, or Benue state will agree to pay for part of the cost of a federal bridge and/or accept to allow collection of tolls on such national cake infrastructure.  But we are not complaining: just complete the bridge and give our people an alternative.

Many private sector led projects like the Aba Geometric power plant have entered Presidential power intringues voice mail with elements in this government making sure that the project never sees daylight. What then is the benefit of not only voting for a Presidential candidate but also spending time to campaign for him as well as enduring the pains of your bright stars being decapitated and burned to death in the post election violence that followed 2011 election? I am not sure I understand that brand of politics and really cannot see any major benefit that accrued from my relentless campaign (online and offline) for Oga Jona in 2011.

But like my management teacher will always ask: what is the alternative decision variable?

From all I know in private and public, the alternative to Jonathan and PDP is to vote for a party whose ticket holder is the reason for the murder of my compatriots for exercising their right to make political choice in 2011. That is by no means a good option. A man who never uttered a single word of sympathy after the gruesome murder of hundreds of fellow citizens by his propaganda manipulated supporters but rather sought to blame the dead through his unguarded utterances is not fit to lead a Nigeria for all Nigerians. A man who never visited Igbo land to commiserate with the bereaved after his supporters unleashed sorrow, tears and blood on my people but was quick to point out that "blood of dogs and baboons will flow" if he doesn't win 2015 election is a dangerous proposition to me? A man who has never hidden his desire to turn Nigeria into the  religious enclave of one religion and vowed to "continue to show support within him to sharia movement across Nigeria" without minding that more than half of Nigeria's population are Christians or of other religions has nothing to offer to me? A man who was Head of state when I was barely 13 and promised me then that I was the future leader of Nigeria but is now 30 years after angling to "chop" my present/future after he and his generation ate their past and futures cannot be an option. A man who is out of tune with modern society and cannot even use a Blackberry phone or a computer in 2014 can only lead and appeal to those who subscribe to "boko is haram" ideology.  He must have made a choice to live without western computers and education and I have long chosen the opposite course. How can I vote against my childhood dream to acquire the best of western education and technology? A man whose only connection to me is to borrow Igbo chieftaincy attire for a photo session and insolently wear a red cap meant for Igbo title holders whereas he NEVER bothered with any Igbo title? A man who speaks for a section of the country now wants to be "President of Nigeria"? A man whose agenda I strongly suspect has it's roots in the global Islamic attempt to decimate and dominate my Christian faith using all means possible to get my vote? Even if it is a joke, I will remain JOK than laugh.

Sincerely, I find no joy in any of the two decision variables in front of me. I have therefore decided to remain quiet and "siddon look" as 2015 presidential election jigsaw puzzle is solved. Non of the 2 major candidates is worth wasting my energy to campaign for since I have never been a paid campaigner for any candidate. But as a citizen of Nigeria with a vote to cast, I will most likely cast it for the preservation of my right to worship Jesus Christ without fear of being murdered. My vote will basically protect my freedom of worship and does not represent an endorsement of what any of the two major candidates have done or will do for my local area. It is strictly on that premise that I have decided to vote for President Jonathan but will not campaign or support his quest in any way. Let those he worked for support and campaign for him.

I will rather campaign for Okezie Victor Ikpeazu (PHD) knowing that he alone can guarantee a greater Aba and Abia for me, my children and Abians in general. He told me that he will not wait for the Federal Government, if elected, but will move Julius Berger to Aba within 3 months of his swearing in. I believe him knowing that Aba means more to him than it does to even me. In contrast, I do not have any empirical evidence that my support for President Jonathan will mean anything to him in 2015 given his 2011-2015 disposition to my previous support for him. Let him therefore go ahead and chuo ndi na achu ya (pursue those pursuing him) or come and "show full working" at PH road Aba and Aba-Ikot Ekpene Highway before February 2015, as a minimum condition.

Friends, regardless of what you say about me, I believe that every good politics is local. If that translates to my being a "tribalist", please feel free to call me "JOK the tribalist". When I die I will be in good company with Chief Awolowo, Saudana Ahmadu Bello and others you revere today. Not bad for a common man from Umueso Abiriba.

Post Script: Permit me to wish you a wonderful yuletide celebration in advance. I hope you were in church today. If evil prevails in Nigeria you might not be opportune to attend or skip church services voluntarily. Ask your fellow christians in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa how much of a luxury attending church service is currently for them. Take church service more serious before...Every terrorist group has a political wing: true or false?


Posted on December, 14 2014

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