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Ninth NASS: The Treacherous Exclusion of South East and the Hypocrisy of One Nigeria, By Alex Enemanna

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If there is anything the ruling party, APC will be remembered for by the future generations and in the annals of our history apart from the medieval flight mode it has locked the country in, it is the treachery of alienation and the orphanisation of the regions the party has a factory-installed, unpretentious hate against. Worst hit is the South East region, which incidentally for a long time in our national journey has been treated like the child of nobody.

Just Tuesday last week, the leadership of the ninth National Assembly was inaugurated amid Machievelian hijack by the Executive and game plan manipulation by forces from Lagos State. Expectedly, the conspiratorial divisiveness which the ruling party has brazenly fanned came to play in the (s)election of the presiding officers of a critical arm of our government like the legislature. Guess the region that was schemed out of the power block! The South East region.

This is irrespective of the critical role the region plays as one leg of a tripod upon which Nigeria stands. In commerce, industry, trade, technology, education, agriculture, South East has proven beyond every iota of doubt to be a potent forces to reckon with. Above all, the region has been in the vanguard of ensuring that this carelessly and hurriedly sewed entity called Nigeria sticks together in oneness and moves forward despite the plethora of orchestrated provocations against the people.

Instructively, it is expected of any leader in a country incubating a wide range of ethnic and religious diversity like ours to be as nationalistic, urbane, cosmopolitan and all embracing as possible in order to further blur the lines that differentiate the people in language, mode of worship, dressing and general culture. Paradoxically, ours exist in the opposite and in a way that our national unity and peaceful co-existence is exposed to a perilous jeopardy.

That President Muhammadu Buhari since he came to power, albeit unprepared after contesting for previous three barren times has been operating like a 19th century sectional emperor in a country of over 180 million brews much ado. He also uses any opportunity available to him to not only advertise his red hot loathe against the Igbo in spoken words but in action too.

His popular 97/5 percent gaffe is an open advert of how a leader should not tabulate the voting decision of a region in order to decide how to incorporate them into his government after the elections are over. Little did the president understand that whoever emerges the winner becomes the leader of the country and not only leader those that voted him. Again, the president’s choice in the appointment of his security architecture brought to fore the clannish and the narrow prism of sectionalism with which he chose to shoulder the security and welfare of a people hungry for a “tear-leather” Messiah after Jonathan. Do you wonder why there is a minimal result in the fight against insecurity, banditry and mass slaughter of hapless citizens?

Apart from totally excluding the Igbo in the formation of his security team in the pretence of working with those he trusts and believes in, the contagious hate also splashed on South South region when they harvested their own share of pre-planned relegation. This is despite the fact that over 90 percent of our national treasury is mined in the zone. Matthew Seiyefa, the most senior officer to Mamman Daura, was denied confirmation as the substantive DG DSS but instead, was hurriedly sent home after the kinsman of the president was disgraced out of office by the then acting president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo following the terroristic invasion of the National Assembly in 2018 by masked masked officers of the service. That is one of the few good deeds for which the VP has received accolades against his boss that has gone down history as the president that harboured the most corrupt and ineffective team but refused to ease anyone off, including his former Inspector General of Police Abubakar Idris who brazenly flouted his order to go to Benue to quell the killing spree taking place there last year.

That the National Assembly which otherwise should be at the forefront of enhancing the federal character principle and indeed the championing inclusiveness decided to openly rape our diversity by knocking off the South East region from the power equation on the alter of deeply entrenched animosity did not come as a surprise to some of us. They have been tutored in the Executive’s school of exclusion.

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This is the first time an entire region will be totally missing in both the Executive and Legislative arms of government without a shadow of representation in a country that seeks to be one in all sense of the word, yet we move on, thumbing our chests as a nation making progress to live in unity and harmony.

This is happening at a time when one region, the North has singlehandedly produced the heads of the three arms of government while the other, South West has secured the slot of number two and four citizens, leaving one, the South East with nothing. This tells you that this ruling party that has failed to rule has an agenda it is poised at implementing to the later. Do you remember former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s recent outburst?

The imbecilic justification for constantly stirring up the bad blood against the region has solely been predicated upon the exercise of their constitutionally enshrined right of choosing their association which ordinarily should come without harassment, intimidation, victimization and vilification. The political alignment the people of South East have decided to tow is without any shadow of doubt the reason a ruling party that pontificates itself as “progressive” has launched this revenge mission against a people it should incorporate into governance structure.

There has never been a time the country had a uniformed voting pattern in all regions. No past president has recorded a landslide victory in the six geopolitical zones of the country. Infact, the South West was firmly opposed to the candidacy of Obasanjo in 1999, leading to his fatal loss in the region including his own polling unit yet other regions voted him massively.

Despite the fact that the voting pattern in the North West never favoured any candidate apart from Buhari prior to his emergence as the president in 2015, the region enjoyed a full incorporation into national affairs through equitable distribution of power.

Why has the voting decision of South East that disfavoured president Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 and 2019 become a reason to crucify the region? Or is freedom of political association with any political group or individual now a crime in the Nigerian constitution? If anyone should accuse the Igbo of supporting a clannish agenda, is Goodluck Jonathan an Igbo man? Is Atiku Abubakar an Igbo man? Are they not simply Nigerians? If the Igbo exhibit a level of confidence in these men, should that amount to why the APC will carry on with its mission of hate against South East?

The party failed woefully to reciprocate to the impressive outing it recorded in the South East in the last election compared to that of 2015 courtesy of the efforts of the Senator representing Abia North Senatorial District and the former governor of the state, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and few other leaders of the party in the region. The party lost an opportunity to engender confidence in the minds of the people of the region. From 3% in 2015 to over 25% in 2019, the party stood the chances of consolidating on that in subsequent elections but alas, it lost that. Do you envy Kalu and those who supported the APC?

A party that prides itself as the architect of uprightness went ahead to elect a man who should be cooling off in prison, Ovie Omo-Agege, a notorious gang leader who led thugs to disrupt the activities of the senate in 2018 and eventually carted away the symbol of authority of the hallowed chamber, the mace as the Deputy President of the Senate. Saner climes don’t reward criminality and gangsterism with juicy political positions like the APC that gloats as the champion of anti corruption does. All those accused of corruption in its fold have today been sanctified by the purity of presidential handshake. More embarrassing is that of Danjuma Goje whose multi billion Naira fraud case has been summersaulted upon by the EFCC for for the role he played in creating room for Ahmed Lawan to emerge the senate president.

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The Executive may have succeeded in installing a Legislature that could be perfectly described as an annex of the Presidency. Who was not disgusted by the infantile genuflection and the open advert of 100% loyalty Omo-Agege exhibited on the feet of the president when he went to pay a thank you visit? Coming days will reveal if the arms of government in a democratic institution is still three or one has been collapsed to the other in Nigeria as we can clearly see.

For those who keep living in fool paradise that the APC is the only platform to realise Igbo Presidency in 2023, how market? Is the signal to make that dream a reality still clear? With the Lagos strong man salivating for the number one position in the land, together with the assurance by Vice president Yemi Osinbajo and Babatunde Fashola that the South West will produce the president in 2023, is the pendulum still swinging in your favour?

Whatever campaign tool the leaders of the APC in the South East want to deploy in subsequent elections to galvanize another 25 percent success for this party of treachery and exclusion will be known in just a matter of time.

It has also gone down in history that the APC presided over a Nigeria where citizens witnessed the highest form of economic exclusion, depravity, abject poverty, penury and want like never seen before. It has gone down history that the name of the president is synonymous with hardship and difficulty, “for this Buhari regime?” It has also gone down history that the APC presided over a country where the electoral body is in fierce competition with the Lucifer on whose art of deception and lies should bow to the other. The truth of the 2019 presidential election is yet unraveled.

Let it also be known that a government that promised to unite Nigerians and foster change has consistently broaden the lines of divisiveness, amplified palpable hate and mutual antagonism among Nigerians like never seen since after the Civil War. Let is also be noted that President Muhammadu Buhari runs the affairs of this country like a leader of a sub clannish movement who alienates himself from any form of responsibility and feign ignorance of everything while his kinsmen clinch on to power like it lasts forever. The first lady’s constant outburst is a clear pointer to this effect.

Now that it is obvious that there is no future for the region under an APC government, governors of the region must step up in providing a more people-oriented leadership for the people. A man who has been rejected by the community should not reject himself. If the governors can exhibit competence in the discharge of their duties and shun lethargic attitude and pillaging, there is a limit to which the region will miss this evil exclusion. Even the SGF position, for which our kinsmen keep bowing to unknown gods, there is no indication there will be light at the end of tunnel. In 2015, Ogbonnaya Onu was rumoured to have been penciled down for the job, did that happen?

Leveraging on their God given ability to make advantageous use of any circumstance, the region will come out of this evil plan better and stronger. The signs are there for everyone to see. The Pharoahic authorities must know that power lasts only for a while.

ALEX ENEMANNA
ALEX ENEMANNA

Enemanna is the political editor ABN TV.

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