– by Innocent Ndubuaku
— I remember telling some group of students in 1987, when I led the Students Union Government to Chief Awolowo’s burial; that if there’s any tribe in Nigeria that wants the unity of the country, it is the Igbos. One of the reasons for this assertion is if anyone who has the courage to live and invest in any where in the country will not want to jeopardise his investment or risk his live.
The Igbos are naturally peaceful and proud people, who guard jealously their heritage. They easily make peace with someone who values them. They couldn’t warm up to Chief Awolowo because of his perceived role during the war. During Abiola saga, majority of the Igbos turned against him when he was alleged to have said that he could rule Nigeria without the Igbos. The Igbos warmed up to Ya’radua because of his patriotic and nationalistic views
They supported Jonathan not because he is a Christian or from the south but because he valued and recognised them. The Igbos seem to be warming up to the acting President Osinbajo just like other well-meaning Nigerians are doing because of the pragmatism he has demonstrated so far.
So why is it that President Buhari is struggling to get significant support from the Igbos. It is apparently because of his leadership style which lacks inclusiveness but is coloured with divisiveness. The president doesn’t see the Igbo race being worthy of his recognition, he sees them as so corrupt. This is evidenced by his famously lopsided appointments. Even when he was the military ruler, he became the first country head that voted against his own candidate at the OAU because the candidate was an igbo man. Then General Buhari voted against the candidature of Onu in place of a Chadian fulani for the office of secretary general of OAU.
There are numerous examples of where PMB has not demonstrated respect and recognition for the Igbos. The Igbos being what they are do not care about your position so long you use your position to intimidate them. Let PMB embrace the Igbos today and he will get their total support, and the country will be better for it.