At last the presidential election has come and gone, with the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari, retaining his seat for another four years, albeit in questionable circumstances. In the run up to that election, the Igbo Nation, under the guidance of Ohaneze Ndigbo, the apex socio-cultural organization of Igbo people, had rightly taken a stand against the candidacy of Buhari and declared support for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the People's Democratic Party, PDP. Their choice of Atiku was predicated on his assurance of restructuring the nation; something the Igbo Nation and other ethnic nationalities in the country had been clamouring for as the panacea for the unequal opportunities in the country.
Although some pockets of opposition had reared their heads, Ohaneze had stuck to its guns, a stand the vast majority of Igbo people also took and showed it by their massive support for the Atiku/ Obi ticket. But in the end, Buhari was declared the winner of an election mired in many controversies. The PDP has however rejected the result of the presidential poll and vowed to challenge it in court.
Now, the major argument advanced by some people who were unhappy with Ohaneze's endorsement of Atiku was that it was wrong for Ndigbo to put all their eggs in one basket. But that is neither here nor there. The fact is that Igbos took a stand and are standing by it. Nigeria is in a democratic rule where every section of the country ought to and should enjoy equal benefits, regardless of their political leaning. And if a leader chooses to marginalize any section thereof because of perceived lack of support, then that is just too bad.
Historically, Ndigbo have been at the receiving end of things in Nigeria despite their past allegiances to certain parties and candidates. Apart from that, Ndigbo who have regarded every section of Nigeria as home and developed such sections have been always rewarded with death and looting of their property, meaning that they are not wanted in the country. Who would then blame Ndigbo for rooting for a candidate and party which promised them a better stake in their country through restructuring?
Now that Buhari has been declared the winner of the presidential poll, it is expected that he will not repeat his first tenure mistake of not treating the entire country as his constituency. But whether or not he changes, Ndigbo should seize their destiny in their own hands by taking measures to live independently of Nigeria; not by seceding, but by developing an economic blueprint for the Igbo Nation.
Under this, the Igbo Nation will tap into the vast potentials of their people, develop them and turn the Southeast Zone into one solid economic bloc that will make the zone the envy of other sections of the country. This will be much like what Nnewi people have done. To achieve this, however, the governors of the region have to discard party affiliations and put the Igbo Nation first by coming together and working for the general interest of Ndigbo.
This may be difficult to start but can be done so long as there is the political will. It has been proved time and again that Ndigbo cannot be allowed to thrive in Nigeria and achieve their true and full potentials. Rather than always complaining about their sad circumstances, they should arise and seize their destiny. It is the only way out of the woods for Ndigbo in a country where they have given so much but received so little.