By Nnamdi Nelson Uzuegbu
First of all I must say the election are done and gone and it is time for the truth. Both the APC and PDP have the same patrons and neither of them produced saints but the real winners are Nigerians as they have shown with the electioneering process that they are ready for both parties. A curious zone however in this past elections is where I come from, the South-East and before questions are asked or before I claim to be non-partisan, my social network pages would show a clear bias of me being more sympathetic to the change party but I would try my best to be as unbiased and objective as possible.
The people of the South-East have been singled out as the losers in the process having voted en-masse for the PDP. In fact, even in the president’s home zone of the South-South, the APC scored the 25% required in Edo state. The only zone where the winner did not score the required 25% in any state is the south-East. The rest of the country had pointed fingers at the Igbos describing them as culprits who did not want change. Cries like tribalistic voting, mass rigging could be heard and the Oba of Lagos’ statement did not help either. The people including the youth, some of whom I had had the privilege of speaking with have started shouting the word marginalization. This curious word ‘marginalization’ is what I want to address as it affects the youths from the east.
The Oxford Advance Learners Dictionary defines the word ‘marginalization’ as to make somebody feel as if they are not important and cannot influence decisions or events or to put somebody in a situation where they feel as if they have no power.
Therefore, going by this definition, the Igbo youth are complaining about what is likely to be the result of abject shortage of personnel close to the seat of power in Abuja. Those fears have become even stronger with Rochas Okorocha looking likely to stay on as governor of Imo state, leaving only Chris Ngige as the only hope for a Federal appointment having proximity to the president, our almighty smiling general himself. Now to me, I would tell these youths to shut up. This is why I would beg them to desist from uttering such backward statements.
First, I must point out that President Goodluck Jonathan was not kind to us. Yes, he was kind to a few of us, such that we were not marginalized. Pius Ayim Pius was positioned as Secretary to the Government of the Federation. An Igbo man was even the Chief of Army staff at one time. So much did the Igbos appreciate this appointments that when I went to my uncle’s place in December last year, the only reason he had to convince me to vote for the incumbent president was that he made two of our people from Abia State ministers. Okonjo Iweala and Emeka Nwogu are ministers of finance and labour and productivity respectively. The questions he could not answer are the same ones I am going to throw to the general public which an honest answer by Igbo youths would mute them for the meantime.
What have the appointments achieved for the east”?
Was the Second Niger Bridge completed or even started at all?
Has the Onitsha port issue even been discussed recently”?
Was another state created from the South-East?
Have the bad roads in the east been rehabilitated?
I would go on but I have limited space but my answers to these questions are a resounding “NO”. So in this light, I beg the Igbos to shut up about the cry of marginalization and urge the youths to clamour for development of their region. They should demand suitable employment while shunning the appointees who for their selfish interests would want them to keep suffering and shouting ‘marginalization’.
Personally, I pray and hope that Buhari would keep to his promise, the promises he made wearing his ever sparkling white baban rida, vowing to make Nigeria a place for all where everyone would be treated equally without partiality. In that light, Igbo youths should demand positive answers to both the questions I raised and the questions I was unable to.
Yes, General Buhari, marginalize us, but develop our region and employ our youths. We would be more grateful for those than you making a handful of us ministers or other appointments.
NNAMDI UZUEGBU writes from Okada, EDO STATE