Atiku To Run For President In 2023? Tufiakwa!

Image result for atiku is coming

Enoch Powell was a great British Parliamentarian, a scholar and a writer who developed the maxim; ‘All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs.”

Atiku’s refusal to cut off his Presidential ambition midstream resulted in his political  Nunc dimittis which was recently delivered by the Nigerian electorate and upheld by the Supreme Court. Continue reading “Atiku To Run For President In 2023? Tufiakwa!”

On Border Closure And Nonsense Rice: In Defense of Fisayo Soyombo

ImageI watched with dismay, the rush to discredit the investigative reporter Mr. Fisayo Soyombo for a tweet on a brand of rice he characterized as “nonsense”. But before I mount my defense of Fisayo, I need to make two full disclosures.  Firstly, I am a die-hard supporter of President Buhari and as I tweeted on October 1st, 2019, I campaigned for him and vigorously against Jonathan and Atiku in 2015 and 2019 respectively. Secondly; Fisayo was my editor a while ago at Sahara Reporters.

Here is the tweet from Fisayo that generated the controversy leading to some unprintable name-calling and multiple blocks on twitter; “Just because we closed our borders for a few weeks, see the kind of nonsense rice we’ve flooded our markets with. This one even felt like sandy soil the moment I turned it into water. Is this honestly the best we can do as people? Who cursed us with mediocrity so wickedly?” Continue reading “On Border Closure And Nonsense Rice: In Defense of Fisayo Soyombo”

Community Integration: Kudos To Anambra State Association Inc (ASA DC & ASAWW) In Washington DC Metro Area

ASA Men and WomenSaturday, September 14th, 2019 was an important day in the history of Anambra State Association Inc. (ASA DC & ASAWW) with the successful hosting of a Medical Mission & Charity Gala night. At the colorful event, funds were raised in support of the annual medical mission to Anambra State, Nigeria.

The medical mission includes free medical services that will address the need to provide medical infrastructures in the state to cater to the medical needs of the people. In addition, the mission will provide educational materials and seminars for educators.

The highlight of the event was the outing of the two masquerades including the famous Agaba and the ASAWW’s Atuko Obi dance. The colorful and memorable night was planned to make the Igbo community in the DC Metro fell like a home away from home. Continue reading “Community Integration: Kudos To Anambra State Association Inc (ASA DC & ASAWW) In Washington DC Metro Area”

To Reclaim Political Relevance, Igbos Should Build Bridges, Not Barricades

Image result for ndigbo buhariMax Lucado’s book, You’ll Get Through This, digs deep into what it means to go through hard times and struggles and still come out triumphant. This book, centered on Joseph, from the Old Testament Bible, is meant for anyone or group that felt stuck or discouraged because of circumstance. There is no doubt that in Nigeria, most Igbos are discouraged and stuck, politically.

In the Bible, Joseph’s pit came in the form of a cistern. In Nigeria, the pit of Igbos came in the form of depression and paranoid after losing the 2015 and the 2019 Presidential elections. In the Bible, Joseph was thrown into a hole and despised. And we? Thrown into the political wilderness, confused and feeling cheated by the Nigerian political system.

In the pit, life is reduced to one quest: to get out and never get hurt again. Interestingly, this is not easily done. The first thing you will realize is that pits have no easy exit. But once in the pit, one thing you don’t want to do is keep digging, especially if you are serious about getting out. Continue reading “To Reclaim Political Relevance, Igbos Should Build Bridges, Not Barricades”

Igbo Unpopular Opinion: Authentic Igbo Identity Is Boundless

This is first in a series that I have called “Igbo Unpopular Opinion.” It is an insider’s view of the inside, albeit, from outside looking in. In this introduction, I will discuss the misguided concept of a homogenous Igbo political identity in an ever-increasing multicultural Nigeria. The question at the heart of this prologue is, what does it mean to be Igbo in the context of political disposition in contemporary Nigeria?

Politics-wise, there is no consensus on what it means to be Igbo and never has been. The fierce political rivalry in the second republic between Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Odimegwu Ojukwu in the then Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP) and National Party of Nigeria (NPN) respectively, is a good example. My take as a kid, observing the intense politicking between the two greatest icons in Igboland was that the possibility of authentic Igbo identity is boundless.

There is, therefore, no incorrect answer to the question of which party Igbos should join and support. Just like Igbos were free to join the Ikemba Front or Zik Movement the early 1980s, Ndigbo today, should be free to align with any political party without being reprimanded.

For instance, one cannot, honestly claim that an Igbo man committed a “crime” against the Igbo tribe, for supporting Buhari over Atiku. Yet, hundreds of thousands of Igbos have had the authenticity of their Igbo identity questioned by Igbo nationalists for making a choice between two non-Igbos in the 2015 and 2019 Presidential elections.

These merchants of ethnic nationalism that are attempting to redefine Igbo authenticity have failed to, again and again, grapple with the way that geopolitics and multiculturalism have changed and is continuing to change in Nigeria. The mere thought that an Igbo man that supports Buhari over Atiku is an out-of-date kind of Igbo is retrogressive. It is exactly this kind of intellectual hypocrisy that will be attacked in “Igbo Unpopular Opinion.”

Ndigbo cannot excel in Nigeria by clinging to a warped mindset and political views anchored on priori Igboness, that is, an Igboness that is given and remains steady despite the ebb and flow of multiculturalism. We must give ourselves permission to divide into political groups organized around what we like and dislike and none of us should be less or more Igbo for doing so.

In “Igbo Unpopular Opinion”, my most salient target, will be the political, moral and ethical failures in the Igbo community. If you are overly agitated or worried about the increasing number of Igbos contributing to the infrastructural development of their domains in Lagos, or Abuja, then, Igbo Unpopular Opinion is for you.  If it has crossed your mind that any Igbo man that objects to the reckless agitation for an independent State of Biafra as currently being pursued by IPOB is not authentic, then, you will constantly be the object of this column’s scorn.

Every piece in this series, therefore, will raise some uncomfortable questions for Ndigbo. Every piece, though provocative, is not meant to be condescending. I say this because I have realized that, majority of Igbos see my unpopular opinions as designed to communicate a sense of their ignorance.

Of course, this is clearly not my intention. Nonetheless, I will still be blunt, where necessary.

Responsibility demands that someone should offer Ndigbo, a way to engage in a deeper political debate on who we are and how we can navigate the Nigerian political jungle. Igbos need someone to constantly whisper into our ears, “Authentic Igbo Identity Is Boundless.”

Due to the seriousness of the existential issues involved, profound discomfort is, therefore, necessary. So, every now and then, I will say things that will make you squirm as you read my unpopular opinion. But, at the same time, every piece in this series will fill you with hope.

My hope is that as we discuss the issues raised in “Igbo Unpopular Opinion”, such as multiculturalism, inter and intra ethnic relationships, religion, development of Igbo states, Biafra, wealth acquisition and the place of Ndigbo in Nigeria, we will agree, at least, that for us to be stronger together, authentic Igbo political identity should be boundless.

Unfortunately, Igbos that express “Unpopular Opinion” in the public and social media platforms have faced ad hominem attacks and frequently called self-hating Igbos. This is misguided because the reality is that they love the Igbo in themselves so much that they are willing to absorb the abuse for the sake of the greater good of all Igbos.

I want to remind every Igbo person that has a minority opinion that what is important to them as Igbos must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. For me, I am motivated and undaunted because the views in “Igbo Unpopular Opinion” are inspired and directed by the Spirit of God and our forefathers.

As with inspirations that emanate from the Spirit World which makes mortals uncomfortable, my audience will find my opinions intentionally provocative. Views expressed in “Igbo Unpopular Opinion” will, as the name implies, be unhinged. The clear intent is to frequently offend my readers to an informed debate on critical issues within the Igbo community.

Finally, in a bowl of isi ewu, you put in different things. You want every part of the goat’s head blended with utazi leaves, akanwu, onions, some spicy peppers and red oil – to maintain a broad, yet, unique taste.  Similarly, authentic Igbo identity should not be monotonous.

We don’t need a predictable Igbo political identity, folks. The only requirement in Igbo authenticity is the exhibition of characteristics that don’t veer from our key identity – outgoing, resourcefulness, and fearlessness (and I MUST add, with traits of integrity).

We are all Igbos, together, we will all win. So, I urge every Igbo person (with popular or unpopular opinion) to read every piece in this series. It will challenge us to embrace a radically different, but more mature way to see and relate with ourselves, and ultimately liberate ourselves. Igbo identity is boundless. Together, we can remain rooted in but not constrained by our Igboness.

Together, we can.

You can email Churchill at Churchill.okonkwo@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @churchillnnobi

2019 Presidential Election: I Stand With Sowore

Churchill Sowore

More than two years before the former U.S. President Barack Obama declared to run for the United States President, Oprah Winfrey appeared on Larry King Live on CNN, described Obama as her favorite senator and hoped he would run for president.  In June 2008, after Obama secured the Democratic nomination, Winfrey said that “I’m euphoric; I’ve been doing the happy dance all day. I’m so proud of Barack and Michelle Obama and what this means for all of us … the new possibilities for our country. And if he wants me to, I’m ready to go door to door.”

Nigeria is standing on the threshold of a crucial Presidential election that will determine the direction of the country for the foreseeable future. Twenty years from today, our kids born and unborn will look back at this moment in our checkered democracy and ask where I, you, we stood on February 16th, 2019. I want to state for the records, that I am standing with the African Action Congress (AAC) candidate Omoloye Sowore. Like Oprah Winfrey, I am euphoric in standing with Sowore, a presidential candidate with the promise of bringing new possibilities to Nigeria. Continue reading “2019 Presidential Election: I Stand With Sowore”

…Just One More Thing…

election disappoinment

For weeks, Atiku campaigned across Nigeria.

He boasted of how his campaign caged Buhari by holding Daura and Katsina hostage.

He locked down Kano to prove that with Kwankwaso, he is guaranteed of 5 million votes from the state.

He stormed the desert of Sokoto two times to prove that the Caliphate is in his back pocket.

He conquered Kebi, swallowed Kaduna, Jigawa,  Zamfara.

He stepped on the head of Boko Haram as he rampaged across his base in the Northeast – Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, Borno, Yobe and Bauchi.

After the mother of all rallies in Lagos, he was assured of over 2.5 million votes. The story across the Southwest was so successful that Atiku and PDP were bragging on how they will trample an elephant at the market square on Election Day.

But, wait, it looks like all the grah-grah was for show. Continue reading “…Just One More Thing…”

Dear Atiku, Will You Save Or Sink The Igbos?

Atiku useDear Atiku, I intentionally approach my writings on Igbo affairs as a philosopher. Writing philosophically is my vocation, a deep calling, and a deep urge. As you may know, a philosopher raises questions that are existentially heavy to bear. You recently asked Nigerians to “ask [you] a range of questions and hear [your] answers. As onye Igbo, the only, yet very heavy, question on my mind is, will you, Atiku save or sink the Igbos?

Chief Atiku, this question is born out of the admission albeit, wired, by your good friend Nnia Nwodo that Igbos are living in hell in Nigeria. I know that there are millions of Igbos living and thriving in Nigeria, but, lets for the sake of argument, assume that your friend Nnia Nwodo is right. The question to you, Atiku, is; are you on a rescue mission or are you going to worsen the lives of Igbos already living in hell in Nigeria? Continue reading “Dear Atiku, Will You Save Or Sink The Igbos?”

Peter Obi: The “Saint” Who Sinned

Peter Obi as a Governor was equivalent to the tortoise in the animal kingdom.

Saint Peter’s eight years of governance was never about job creation; it was not about human capital development; it was not about re-engineering government institutions; it was not about the state economy or improving revenue generation; it was not even about restructuring through local government autonomy you and your boss Atiku are promising; it was not about transparency as you were the alpha and omega that indiscriminately awarded contracts without bids.

As a governor, Peter was the only ‘wise man’ in Anambra State, the king that deceived his subjects, and ultimately a one-man administration that had no regards to democratic principles and ethics.

In the words of Chinua Achebe from ‘Things Fall Apart’: “Travellers with closed minds can tell us little except about themselves.”

Peter as a Governor was an embodiment of deceit, corruption, lies and worst still the arrogance.

Atiku’s Endorsement, Nwodo, Ohaneze And The Deficit Of Political Intelligence

Ben-Nwabueze-and-AtikuIn a multi-ethnic, multicultural country like Nigeria, you can’t win votes by playing the “ethnic card”. In endorsing Atiku Abubakar, the PDP Presidential candidate last week, the Igbo Social-cultural group Ohaneze Ndigbo claimed that the “the nomination of our son Peter Obi as the vice-presidential candidate has given Ndigbo an opportunity for inclusivity. Ndigbo must seize the moment.” For including this line of argument -ethnicity- in their endorsement, Ohaneze Ndigbo led by Nnia Nwodo failed the political cum emotional intelligence test.

Political intelligence is made up of five things, integrity, self-awareness, emotional intelligence about others, strategy, and execution. Having a high political intelligence means doing all five. While someone will still have political intelligence without being good at each of these; one absolutely lacks political intelligence without any of the five things. Unfortunately, it looks like the leadership of Ohaneze lacks these five things. Continue reading “Atiku’s Endorsement, Nwodo, Ohaneze And The Deficit Of Political Intelligence”