By Jude Atupulazi
If there is anything that gives me joy in what is happening in this Tinubu era, it is what looks like instant justice that fate is dishing out to those Igbo politicians who sold their kinsmen for personal interests. From former Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, who lost his senatorial ambition; to former Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who also lost his senatorial ambition; and to former Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi, whose ambition; first to get the presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and then to be senate president, both failed;
we have now come to the laughable case of former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, who was humiliated to the point of weeping on the floor of the senate after his life time ambition of becoming senate president was torpedoed by the very people he sold his kinsmen to. I will not even talk about the case of Ike Ekweremadu who was instantly punished by fate after he had also fought against Obi while Obi ran as the running mate of Atiku.
While giving his valedictory speech, Kalu, eyes filled with tears, finally realized that he had been used and dropped by those he groveled on the floor of their table for crumbs.
He complained how Nigeria had not been fair to ”some people” (he could not even muster the courage to give the name of those people) and also lamented how he was labelled a thief despite all he had done to build Nigeria without being rewarded accordingly.
‘Nigeria has not been fair to some people…history will judge us,’ he said as he wept. But rather than cry with him, many Nigerians had instead mocked him and reminded him of what he said when his kinsman, Peter Obi, had the brightest chance ever of any Igbo man becoming president of Nigeria since the end of the civil war. Kalu had said that Ndigbo were not yet ripe to aspire for the presidency but should rather build bridges of friendship.
But not long after saying this, he aspired to be senate president and forgot about building bridges. Thus Nigerians brutally reminded him of his bridge building mantra when he started weeping for being schemed out of the plum position he sought. For Kalu, his case became that of a bridge too far.
Kalu’s present ordeal represents that of all Igbo renegade politicians who have always been driven by greed, selfishness and envy of their fellow brothers to run errands for the north in the false belief that they would be rewarded. What Kalu said about Obi’s ambition is simply unpardonable. It came at a time Obi represented the Igbo man’s greatest chance to be president of the country.
Not even the late Alex Ekwueme came close as Ekwueme’s fate was scuttled in the primary election of his party. But Obi had already gotten the ticket of his party and looked more than capable of challenging and ousting the evil, corrupt status quo which he did but had his victory glaringly stolen.
For the first time Nigerians from diverse divides poured into the streets in loud solidarity for Obi; not because of where he comes from, but because of his quality and what he stood for. It was clear then that Obi would overwhelmingly win the presidential election whenever it was held.
But Obi’s brothers thought otherwise. Because of the twin vices of envy and selfishness, they fought to discredit him. But it was like touching the lord’s anointed. Whatever the masses failed to do to those sabotaging the general Igbo cause, fate did that for them.
Now, some of these Igbo politicians have seen the futility of their crass servility to those oppressing Nigeria. They have seen how they were used as expendable tools who were needed for the dirty job but discarded after the job was done. It was like someone being asked to mop the floor before a party but stopped from being part of that party when it was set.
One can say in the last elections, it was Igbos that joined the outside enemy to fight their own. One can understand however, the mindset of these Igbo renegade politicians. To them, Obi came from virtually nowhere to take the shine off them and become the anointed one. But they failed and still fail to understand that Obi is not cast in the same mould as they are.
While many of the Igbo politicians are mired in corrupt practices, Obi is pure. That was why, despite all the ”onyokometre” used by the federal government to dig up any kind of dirt, Obi stood and still stands firm and is walking freely about. This is something the thieving political class cannot fathom. They cannot understand why any Nigerian can be free of corruption and when they see the masses celebrating, Obi it hurts their pride.
They also fear that an Obi presidency will banish their likes from the corridors of power and being that many of them can only feed from politics they are fighting tooth and nail to stop Obi coming on board.
But they did not reckon with God, or should I say, fate. One by one they began to get their just recompense for their sabotage of their own people.
But, indeed, the Igbo Nation should be thankful to Obi for fighting the way he has done. I have been saying it that if Igbo politicians had been fighting like Obi has done, our lot would have been much better today. It is because our politicians had been too predictably cheap that the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, did not deem it fit to give its presidential ticket to Obi. They probably believed that Obi would fizzle out the way his brothers had always fizzled out after they had carrots dangled before them.
I’m sure that in future if anyone comes up and enjoys the kind of organic support Obi had, his party will think twice before denying him its ticket. It is widely believed that PDP would have easily won had they given its presidential ticket to Obi. At least, with their so-called powerful structure, aligned with those of the masses, APC could have found it more difficult to thwart their mandate.
But Obi is still in court today and while many fear the so-called Nigerian factor, the end can never be predicted, even as we all know the final say will be had by the Supreme Court. For now, however, the likes of Kalu are licking their wounds under the bridges they are yet to complete. As I said earlier, it will remain one bridge too far.