BY OJUKWU INNOCENT ENE
Thursday, 17th October 2019 was a red letter day in the chequered history of Ndigbo. It was a day that they felt an uncommon sense of belonging in the Nigerian Nation. It was the
day that their cheers rose up in great billows of enthusiasm for their leaders in the zone and the President of the Country. It was a day that the taciturn, unflappable, some say insensitive and cruel President Buhari displayed a humane side to the Igbo race. It was the day the President in a rare show of kindness, magnanimously doled out the humungous sum of N10 billion special intervention fund for the repairs of Akanu Ibiam International Airport, the only International Airport in the South East,which was closed down for repair works in August 2019.
The President’s action was remarkable as the President who is known to have a firm grip on the nation’s purse as that of a miser on his last bar of gold, did not allow the Igbo leaders to grovel before him pleading for assistance; the way a female dog grovels for love, as he had announced the release of the sum of N10,
billion before they met him, having been apprised ahead of time. It must be noted that this was not the statutory Federal Allocation but an Intervention fund, exclusively at the discretion and benevolence of the President.
This successful visit of Igbo leaders to President Buhari which was led by the Chairman of South East Governors Forum and the Governor of Ebonyi State, His Excellency, Engr.(Dr) David Nweze Umahi, has come and gone but its effect or outcome will continue to ricochet for a very long time to come.
For one, thisachievement recorded by Governor Umahi for Ndigbo through his leadership based on respect for constituted authorities, humility and candour invites us to review our strategy in engaging leadership, especially at the Federal level. We should be able to ask ourselves “which strategy serves our zone better, antagonism or
With the volume of verbal attacks that is daily directed at the leadership in the Zone and the Centre, the general impression that one comes out with, is that the pathway to relevance and the solution to the marginalization of Ndigbo lies in bashing the leadership. But time after time, this strategy has only proven to
be a debacle. The failure of this strategy to adequately convey the desires of Ndigbo and to record success, calls for a rethink
and a reversal to the one that has manifestly shown results.
Every strategy must be evaluated on its effectiveness, efficiency or appropriateness – the bench- marking of its effects against set
The use of intemperate language is not democratic nor excused by the doctrine of Freedom of Speech but is indicative of poor
upbringing and lack of training. Igbo existential philosophy emphasizes, “Nwa Ewu tukwuru ala onnuo nneye ara; stooping to conquer”. As the Governor of Ebonyi State, Gov. Umahi has deployed this philosophy to great advantage in his state, and is deploying same in the South East Zone to great acclaim too, as evidenced in his success with President Buhari.
Ndigbo are blessed with intellectual timbers and calibers, business moguls and industrialist of note, we should be able to leverage on the acumen of these great men and women for
positive engagements that will reposition our imperiled Zone. We must return to constructive engagements and adroit politicking
that defined the past generation of Ndigbo. We must say no to the “He is the President or Governor and so what?” mentality.
We must embrace tact and diplomacy, It is not a sign of weakness. It takes strength to remain humble and keep your head when every other person is losing theirs.
Armed with vast managerial experience in public sector and strategy with ability to initiate, organize and direct substantial
work, Gov. Umahi’s mobilization and interaction with Igbo leaders from all works of life, hues and ideology, since he assumed the
position of Chairman South East Governors Forum have been deeper and wider with no room for partisanship, a development that has given birth to so many initiatives that are representative of the generality of the aspirations of the Zone and capable of
addressing them as they are dispassionately arrived at.
Continued support for Governor Umahi and his leadership of the Zone has the potential of positioning the South East in her right
place in the Country in no distant future. This much have been proved.