By Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba
I was on vacation and did not have access to internet or much of worldwide news, so missed out on the “Ekweremadu Story”. But I want to be on record with my views. The anger expressed by the Igbo in Germany is in order but they chose the wrong candidate. Ekweremadu belongs to a different class among Igbo leaders. I think he has earned the respect of Igbo communities.
Mr. Ekweremadu is the face of the Igbo in Abuja. He is the only person among the political class who has some measure of influence nationwide. As such he ought not be assaulted and disgraced. He has grown to be both the Prime Minister and King of Igbo nation. As such he deserves the respect of all Igbo worldwide.
For example, it was Mr. Ekweremadu who brought Igbo leadership to work for the bailing of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu. By releasing Mr. Kanu the concept of Biafra is still alive. As he tours the world, Mr. Kanu is highlighting the suffering of Igbo people to the world, so those who worked to free him did the Igbo a lot of good. We cannot forget this.
Mr. Ekweremadu as the deputy Senate President made it possible for the Igbo nation not to be completely forgotten by the hateful President Buhari’s Administration. His presence in the highest place where the welfare of Nigeria was being discussed should be seen as sufficient by itself. Things would have been worse if no Igbo was in the room.
Mr. Ekweremadu was very diplomatic in his approach to the discussion of Nigeria’s future. Being diplomatic means that one would know when to compromise and when to fight so that one will get what is good for his people. Many people question his compromises, but they are the people who do not understand the difference between what is desirable and what is achievable. Politics is the art of compromise. People who never compromise never accomplish much.
The Igbo should not make “good” the enemy of “best.” We should strive for the best where possible but accept good when best is not possible under the circumstances. As a people we need the moderates and extremists, like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X during the Civil Rights fights. In this case Ike Ekweremadu is King while Nnamdi Kanu is Malcom.
I mentioned earlier that the Igbo anger as expressed in Germany is in order. It is in order because much of what is going on in Nigeria is a result of not holding our leaders personally accountable for their actions. There are many Igbo leaders that ought to be stoned, the governors should be prime targets and many of the representatives. The governors have abandoned their roles as leaders of the people and become the oppressors. When they cite a public university is Awgu, they are held as benefactors as if a penny of their money was involved, when they award a contract to build a road, they go back and misappropriate the money for their benefits while the road is not built. They have a lot to pay for and the peoples’ anger is called for.
The people who invited Ike Ekweremadu to Germany to lead the New Yam Festival did the right thing. They are trying to keep a famous Igbo tradition alive. I support every effort geared towards enhancing Igbo culture. And New Yam Festival is one of them. In Boston where I live, I attend the New Yam Festival organized by Mbaise Community here. That’s how our children learn our culture. I hope that German Nigerians/Igbos continue with this tradition. Let New Yam Festival not die because of this incident.
My friend Ike is probably angry, but he should revaluate this situation. He ought to see it as a misguided action by some of the less informed constituency members. Their actions come with his territory. If you are a leader you are by definition the target for angry people for you will never be able to please all. Mr. Ekweremadu should not give up on the fight by the Igbo to claim their place in Nigeria.
I urge him to keep on fighting no matter the odds. He will be rewarded, now or later.
The Ike Ekweremadu experience has lessons beyond the Igbo. Nigerian Leaders heading abroad to deposit their loots are now warned. There are other angry Nigerians beyond the Igbo land. As you enter Europe or America be warned of what could happen. Diaspora Nigerians are no longer happy that they are paying school fees for the family when they have a government, are paying hospital bills while the leaders are getting up-to-date care in London as our president demonstrates. The money the president has spent on his care in London could have helped build a specialist hospital in Abuja where his ailment could have been cured in addition to other such patients.
The revolution that Sowore, Kanu et al is calling for may have started without them.
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba writes from Boston, Massachusetts.