Dear 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?
I know you know I know that you delegated your friend Nwodo through Ohaneze, to take over from Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB. Atiku, in case you have forgotten, one of the lingering effects of the propaganda that was pumped into the psyche of Igbos by Nnamdi Kanu through IPOB is the disposition for Igbos to feel like every other tribe has it so easy in Nigeria except us. This is exactly what you, Atiku, and Nnia Nwodo is feeding into.
Chief Atiku, the more I listen to your friend, Nnia Nwodo, the more I am convinced that there is no difference between him and Nnamdi Kanu who reduced Igbos to ashes before, like those before him, he absconded. I asked if you will sink Igbos because you seem to love Nnia Nwodo’s monotonous, self-defeating, almost masochistic tone filled with negative energy. Nnia Nwodo’s false claim, on behalf of millions of Igbos that we are miserable, therefore, we stand by Atiku is not a tone of positive frequency badly needed by Igbos to reshape our realities and thoughts.
You see, Oga Atiku, in our misery, Igbos ran to you, sinking sand, as our savior. My apprehension is that Igbos anchoring their chances of “regaining relevance” and pushing restructuring through on you, Atiku, is like waiting for the ship to dock at the Airport.
If you, Atiku, do not understand that someone who enriched his family and friends is simply engaged in corrupt activities, how can we trust you to understand the complicated constitutional issue of restructuring? Assuming you understand, does your understanding of restructuring intersect with the interpretation of restructuring by the oil producing states in Nigeria that see “resource control” as the starting point?
If you are truly our savior as you want us to believe at your campaign rallies in Enugu and Onitsha recently, you should know that the people of the Southeast or South-South alone cannot alter the constitution without the support of the core and far north. So, beyond your rhetoric on restructuring, do you have the capacity to mobilize the support of political interest across Nigeria to tackle the monster called restructuring?
If you have the capacity to mobilize, why are you not mentioning restructuring in your campaign rallies across the Middle belt and the North? While you, Atiku, promised the best fiscal responsibility in Gombe; a people-friendly government in Sokoto and in Jigawa, you urged them to return PDP, so they can all enjoy; you were afraid to mention restructuring and resource control in the north. Are you deceiving Igbos and Niger Deltans?
If you, Atiku, cannot deliver on restructuring, assuming you win, but you keep your promise to enrich your friends, as expected, how will that benefit the Igbos? So, I ask you again, will you save or sink the Igbos?
You see, Atiku, there is an Igbo saying that while administering an eye-clearing medicine, someone comes and says to put some pepper in. Igbos may not be in the best of place in the Nigerian political jungle but opting for you, Atiku, because of our treasured son Peter Obi, is equivalent to putting paper in the eye that needs some clearing.
I understand the Igbos are thinking that after our son Peter Obi has served the thief, sorry, the chief, Atiku, the rewards of the chieftaincy will reach him and by extension us. But for you, Atiku, and your friend Nnia Nwodo, to be openly playing the ethnic card in a multiethnic country with Peter Obi is like putting paper in the eyes of Igbos.
Atiku, Nwodo and Ohaneze’s endorsement of your presidential bid because of our “son” is a conscious act of perpetuating an unwarranted sense of marginalization – a victim mentality syndrome. It’s like telling the rest of the ethnicities n Nigeria that their sons and daughters are fatherless.
In a multi-ethnic country like Nigeria, you can’t win votes by emotional blackmail. You win by playing smart politics. It is naive to expect the southwest to abandon their son, Osinbajo, and work for you, Atiku in the Presidential election after watching your embarrassing display of ethnic card in Enugu. That is not smart politics, sir. So, I ask again, is it you plan to pull Igbos into your sinking ship?
Finally, before I let you refocus on your campaign, I want to remind you, Atiku, of the Igbo proverb “may one’s visitor not constitute a problem, so that on his departure he will not leave with a hunchback.” Because I do not wish you a hunchback, may your sinking ship currently docked in Igbo land not compound the problems of Igbos in Nigeria.
I know that you, Atiku, will be wondering how anyone with an Igbo name like Okonkwo, who eats isi ewu and have brothers that sell motor parts not supporting you. The answer is simple; your former boss and current mentor Obasanjo characterized you as a good for nothing thief. I see you as a con artist, a woodpecker that feed on the pantry of the poor but found a way to avoid having boils in your mouth.
While I wait for your answers to my questions, put this Igbo proverb in the bank: Onye ite abughi onye ahia, – a clay-pot retailer is not in business. Nigeria cannot move forward when we are hamstrung by clay-pot retailers like you Atiku. Igbos will not sink with you.
You can email Churchill at Churchill.firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @churchillnnobi