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IGP Appointment & The Igbo Marginalization Theory

Greetings!

If there was anything that I grasped from President Yar’Adua’s inaugural speech on May 29, 2007, it was his solemn pledge to run Nigeria in a Business-Unusual mode. In other words, the president pledged to do things right for Nigerians, for a change. Maybe not in so many words, but his pledge actually means that he will not be anything like his unpopular predecessor. Doing things the right way means that the president will listen to the heartbeat of his people, not a select few, but all his people, and carry us along in his decisions and acts. It also means that, unlike his predecessor, he will obey both the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the court that is empowered to interpret it. Most importantly, Yar’Adua promised us that he will be fair and just in dealing with all Nigerians.

          It is obviously too early to start passing conclusive judgment on Mr. President already, but I must respectfully mention that his appointment of Nigeria’s current police chief does seem inconsistent with his fairness and justice doctrine. A fair play would have made Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Ogbonnaya Onovo the new Inspector General, because he is the most senior officer in the Nigeria Police Force. Indeed, consistent with the president’s fairness doctrine, Onovo was the name spontaneously mentioned when the matter of IGP handover first came up in the news. I cannot help but wonder what went wrong to necessitate the switch from him to DIG Mike Okiro in the 11th hour of the actual handover.

         Please don’t read my meaning wrongly, Okiro may also be a fine officer, but all the information available to me says that Onovo is his senior in rank. If we must hold our dear president to his own word on fairness, then the IGP job should have gone to Onovo. Obviously, some horse-trading must have taken place for the switch to happen. And, this is where I have a major problem with the Igbo race. Onovo probably lost the job because there was nobody to lobby on his behalf.

          The Igbos are the only people in Nigeria that woefully fail to rise up in defense or on behalf of one of their own. I can take a bet that Okiro got the IGP job because somebody somewhere lobbied on his behalf. I am also pretty sure that the lobbying came from his home constituency, probably some community leaders from his state. Definitely, one cannot fault Okiro or his people for lobbying for the position. The Yorubas and the Hausas are also out there everyday lobbying for their chosen candidates for various positions, in effort to achieve collective relevance in the national scheme of things.

    And what do the Igbo people do? They are busy conniving against each other, backbiting and pulling each other down. Everybody is out there for what he can grab for himself, with absolutely zero regards for common ethnic interests. Prominent Igbo leaders have had access to Yar’Adua since his election, and you can be sure that none was there to solicit for or protect the Igbo interest. They were all there for what they can grab to feed their insatiable quest for personal aggrandizement. You can be sure that it does not bother them one bit that PDP has zoned out all the significant positions in this dispensation without much consideration for the Igbos.

          What really pisses me off big time is that the so-called Igbo leaders seem to equate their personal interests to the interests of the Igbo race. You never hear them say a thing against the government of the day, or speak out for their tribe, as long as their personal interests are intact. As soon as they get schemed out of their selfish interests, they cry that the Igbo race is “marginalized” in the country. They shamelessly whip up one “Igbo-cause” sentiment or the other to regain relevance.

          The presidency and the vice presidency eluded the Igbos in this new dispensation. So did the Senate presidency and the Speaker of the House positions. To crown it all, a well-deserving Igbo man was denied the position of IGP in last minute horse-trading. But I am sure that the so-called Igbo leaders do not give a damn, as long as they eventually get their little individual pacification from the PDP. Some are jostling for the PDP chairmanship, and one of them will probably be pacified with it, but then what next? He only becomes a yes-boy to baba, who will continue to make all the decisions for the party as the Board Chairman.

          The booboo of IGP appointment notwithstanding, I still do say that most of President Yar’Adua’s few moves, and mannerism or attitude so far do portray him to be on the right path of his pledge. He seems to be truly humble and lovable. I only pray that the Almighty God will give him whatever it takes to break all the crazy cycle of dirty political power play, which characterized General Obasanjo’s reign. I pray that God gives him the fortitude to fulfill his pledge to be independent of, and different from General Obasanjo. I pray that deserving Nigerians such as DIG Onovo will begin to see fair play and justice in our society.

        Who knows, maybe Yar’Adua is the messiah that we have been waiting for. For instance, he has already spoken very passionately about the necessity of reforming the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). I understand that Professor Maurice Iwu did not find the president’s pronouncement on INEC very funny, since it was a clear indictment on his competence, credibility, and integrity as the present boss of the commission. Poor Iwu! He had been so sure that Yar’Adua would endorse his fraudulent elections since he benefited from it to become president. I don’t know about you, but if the president can actually correct the ills of Nigeria’s electoral process, I will score him a distinction pass mark. I wouldn’t care if it turns out to be his only achievement in office. Well, maybe I should say if it turns out to be his second achievement in office. We do need him to give priority attention to our electricity problem.

        I also heaved a sigh of relief when I read the news that Yar’Adua already had a cause to instruct Nuhu Ribadu on rule of law. He directed him to go strictly by the book in his constitutional assignment as the boss of the EFCC. This means that EFCC is about to become the true great institution that it was meant to be. I have always believed that Ribadu is a fine crime-fighting officer, and it was baba’s frequent mischief that gave him a bad name.

         Essentially, I am saying that, with the advent of the Yar’Adua presidency, things seem to be looking up for Nigeria. My only concern at this point is that the president’s appointment of Inspector General of Police is not quite consistent with his character of fairness and justice. It does get worrisome when one thinks about the purported conspiracy to “marginalize” the Igbo tribe, which, again, is purported to be a fall-out of the Biafra war. However, I am also quick to admit that the Igbos are primarily responsible for their own woes…no Bullshitting!

Harry Agina rites from the USA.

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