Nasir El-Rufai And The Igbo Marginalization

By Carl Umegboro
As 2019 general elections draw closer, incontrovertibly, politicians would utilize all available schemes, strategies and means to capture their prey; the vulnerable electorates purposely for their usual ‘used and dump’ tactics prevailing in the society. As a strategic means towards winning elections, haters would suddenly become admirers tactically for accomplishing set objectives. After all, in politics they say, no permanent friends, no permanent enemies but interests. The southeast geopolitical zone is visibly shortchanged in all ramifications; infrastructural development, participations in decision makings, federal presence and security of lives and properties.
Evidently, since after the civil war which ended merely in the field, the war remains intensive in the minds leading to chronic ethnic hate, religious hurly-burly, and marginalization among others. Nonetheless, despite the ill-treatment against the Igbos, the geopolitical zone remain committed in nation building particularly through radical investment drives across every nooks and crannies of the nation. As a complement to the character, the people rarely molest their visitors. Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu for instance appointed a northerner in his government while in office as the governor of Abia state while his counterparts in the north shielded northerners slaughtering Igbos like beasts. Similarly, Owelle Rochas Okorocha of Imo overwhelmingly extended hands of friendship to the northerners in the state and provided adequate protections. In return, the national leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu appointed Mr. Ben Akabueze as a Commissioner for Budget and Planning in Lagos state while in office, and his successor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) maintained the arrangement throughout his two tenures although on merit.
Without a doubt, the Southeast geopolitical zone as attested by the Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai is synonymous with marginalization albeit traceable from the nation’s independence in 1960. Unfortunately, the same southeast people had been butchered mercilessly under the watch of Governor El-Rufai in his state without any condemnation over the heinous crimes against humanity. Igbos had been heartlessly slaughtered like rams, goats and cows in various parts of the northern Nigeria; yet not even one public condemnation from the patriot. Some in churches, in their houses, at business areas and even young graduates on National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme posted to the north, yet the new patriot feeling bad for the Igbos never observed them. Without mincing words, Governor El-Rufai owes the people of southeast geopolitical zones unreserved apologies for all the innocent bloods of their relatives wasted in his state and the north at large by his tribesmen without any condemnations before he could sign up against the lopsided appointment of the federal government. To swiftly lament against the federal government on the media rather than at Federal Executive Council (FEC) meetings over the ill-treatments against a group is political with sinister motives.  For the records, El-Rufai cannot overnight become aficionado of the Igbo nation more than President Buhari that in his four attempts for presidential ambition picked Igbos in two; late erudite political scientist, Senator Chuba Okadigbo in 2002 under the platform of All Nigerians Peoples’ Party (ANPP), and later, Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke in 2011 under the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN); unfortunately lost the elections in the two shots. The remaining two attempts were given to Southwest; first to Pastor Tunde Bakare under the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and presently, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) under the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) which materialized in 2015 having beaten unprecedentedly the incumbent President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). Meanwhile, Mallam El-Rufai who has been in the corridors of power since Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration from 1999 cannot show any instances of attempts of his patriotism vis-à-vis empowerment of Igbos as he did to northerners while in office either in terms of appointment or economic empowerment. Furthermore, Mallam El-Rufai headed the OBJ political-squad then, that almost shattered the constitutional structure of government, to the extent that the nation’s Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubarka was severally and openly disrespected, verbally attacked and almost gang-beaten at FEC meetings which led to his tactical withdrawal from attendance till end of the tenure. Thus, sometimes, while taking messages, the messenger ought to be cautiously scrutinized to ascertain the logic behind the profound messages. Without a doubt, the situation of things in southeast geopolitical zone deserves state of emergency and will inevitably play a crucial role in the next general elections.
Apparently, with El-Rufai’s plots and calculations, or schemes believably towards the presidential ticket, if eventually adopted as the PDP’s presidential candidate to contest the forthcoming presidential election against President Buhari, will imply, if he wins, that he has subtly schemed the southeast out of the presidency even in 2023 as he would certainly wish to go for second term as any other citizens. In other words, the good message of Igbo marginalization may become a designed gizmo to unconsciously elongate the marginalization if not played with caution. At this point in time, as majority of Nigerians voted for Buhari from the northern region against PDP that presented a southern candidate, the best all northerners that feel concerned over some inadequacies of the present administration should do is to resourcefully and collectively rally around President Buhari for redress on the policies uncomfortable with, and not to run down the administration on media deliberately to get strong support from same zones facing marginalization, aimed at swapping Buhari with another northerner who would certainly go for another two tenures. To the public, Buhari represents the north on a geographical level; hence his success or failure will be accorded as that of the north same way it happened to Goodluck Jonathan. Conclusively, for any northerner, sadly in the same APC to become its critic overnight, certainly there is a gigantic skeleton in the cupboard.
Umegboro is a public affairs analyst and publisher (07057101974 sms only)

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