(By Ikeotuonye Chris Murphy Chuka)- As 2019 approaches there are two efforts occupying space in South East Nigeria. The one is the Presidential elections – where Ndi Igbo will stand and the other is the effort to sell All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, as an Igbo interest representing party. Incidentally many who are throwing this slogan around do not know Igbo enough to spell it right.
Now to the presidential election, all political indicators show that an Igbo man won’t be president come 2019. But that is okay. Ndi Igbo have never needed to be President to do well.
However in four out of the five states in the South East there will be gubernatorial elections and in all there will be elections into the legislature – both at state and federal levels. These offices I believe are pivotal to the direction Ndi Igbo will be heading post 2019, even more so that of the presidency.
That is why the slogan APGA is our own, which is steadily gaining traction can be a good thing or a bad one that has bedeviled all other zones. Like other zones, we must not allow ethnic identification become an albatross. In the North many bad governments will return overwhelming votes for someone, not because of performance but parochial identification. In the South West, for a similar reason a governor owing almost a year’s salary of civil servants and teachers, with strikes everywhere was returned to office in spite of these glaring anomalies.
Now for Ndi Igbo this slogan is striving to shift our focus to commitment to a set of alphabets – A; for Amadi, P; for Panya, G; for Gaba, A; Amandianeze. The slogan is striving to play on our tribal identity and desire to unify against a false federating system that seems primarily preoccupied with oppressing Ndi Igbo. While I have nothing against our unification under a common roof we need to chart a course for ourselves. The danger here is that, having been galvanised into this one that they say is ours, some cabals (yes they are everywhere not only in Aso Rock) will hijack the system and produce candidates that will be voted into offices that will not only be answerable to them but won’t even perform.
So to Ndi Igbo I say: it is good for APGA to be nk’anyi (our own)but we must insist that APGA nye anyi (give to us)the best of us as candidates. We must insist on internal democracy. We must insist that the governors do not hijack the process to throw up stooges they will end up fighting with like we have seen in the past.
If the South East will be great again we must put our best foot forward. If APGA will not give us good candidates then it will not be nk’anyi ( our own) but nke fa(their own).