LEGAL IDEAS FORUM

SOUTH EASTERNERS AND OUR APATHY TO NIGERIA’S POLITICS, CONSEQUENCES, LESSONS FROM THE LAST PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AND THE NEED FOR ATTITUDINAL CHANGE IN VIEW OF THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION BY ODERA ODIONU

South East is one of the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria
comprising of Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi and Imo state.
The people of the region thrive well in trade, business and
commerce and boast of producing successful men and
women in all spheres of profession.
In addition to the history of the region, it is the only region
that has gathered the wherewithal to wage a secessionist
war against the Nigerian entity and this afforded us the
opportunity to assert our strength, manpower, and creative
prowess during the civil war
The effects of the deliberate and articulated genocide
committed against the region remain a controversial topic
that some attribute to be the reason for our peoples’ apathy
to the Nigeria project. The psyche of the civil war really
affected and continue to affect our people
South East is the most densely populated area in Africa after
Nile valley. The last consensus figure in 2006 placed the
population of the region to 16,381,729
THE APATHY TO NIGERIA POLITICS
Political apathy among the people of the region have been
said to account fo our inability to project a common front in
the politics of Nigeria. This has cost the region several top positions that has rotated and continue to rotate among
other regions of the country
Since 1963, after the military coup that toppled the head of
state from the Eastern region (Gen Aguiyi Ironsi), the people
of the region have been pushing for fairness without
concerted and spirited effort to actualize them. This is
attributed to our unperturbed and nonchalant apathy to
Nigeria’s politics.
The “Igbo enweze” saying according to some is another
factor to our disunity and not being in the forefront of
Nigeria’s politics. The priority placed on business and trade
by the people is also another reason for our apathy and
irrelevance to Nigeria’s politics
We are gradually heading to the next general election, how
prepared are we? The voter’s registration has started, how
much public enlightenment have been done at strategic
places such as churches, schools, markets, viewing centers,
commercial buses, for our people to go and get their voters
cards.
CONSEQUENCES OF OUR APATHY
The implications of the region’s apathy to Nigeria’s politics
cannot be overstated. Our negligence to active participation
in election has dawned on us economically due to some
anti-regional policies of the government. These include
stringent economic policies of the regime like high import
duty paid at the ports and borders, untimely ban placed on
the importation of some commodities like rice, automobiles
and some foreign goods. etc
Most of the industrialists from the region have lost the
support of the current regime in creating enabling
environment for their businesses to thrive. Innoson
automobile company that was given contract by the last
administration to supply SUV cars to the government of
Nigeria lost the bid due to change of government and their
policy
Also, ERISCO FOODS had the plan of relocating to China
because of the unfavorable economic climate of the
administration. Medical travels and educational tuition
abroad is another plight among the people of the region who
have higher percentage of students and medical tourists
outside the country
Consequently, people of the region who are predominantly
businessmen and engage in international trade are
subjected to further economic hardship by the policy of the
regime especially in assessing foreign currencies for their transactions
The fall of the value of naira really affect the people most, inflation has taken the purchasing power of our people. But
these are not the only real things we know in this country.
The make-believe propaganda of the government becomes
a cover up to their incapability and no solution to our
problems. This is an evidence of their unpreparedness for
governance.
They always lie and console us by expressing the optimism
that the country would move out of its current economic
challenges with the so-claimed prudent management of the
nation’s resources. But the unanswered question is – when
will these promises be fulfilled because half of the lifespan
of the administration is expended yet nothing to show as
dividend of good governance
Our apathy to election and politics is what made the
President to assert that the region that gave him 5% vote
should not expect equal dividend of democracy with the
region that gave him 95% vote in the last general election.
This single utterance goes a long way to prove the divisive
nature of the President. This should as well be a wake up
call for our people to mobilize and get ready to be
represented at the top position of government come 2019
LESSONS FROM 2015 GENERAL ELECTION
The people of the region must quickly reminisce that since independence, the South West and the core North have
never embraced and romanced themselves the way they did
in 2015 and do politically today. Even the legendary Late
Chief Obafemi Awolowo with his political wizardly and
sagacity could not connect positively with the North
politically the way Asiwaju Tinubu, Rauf Areegbesola, Raji
Fashola and Gov Ibikunle Amosun etc perfectly shattered
the jinx blocking the Yorubas and the Hausas.
The people of the Eastern region must know that the
Northern region prioritized capturing power at all cost in
2015. This they did by activating the controversial media
(Sahara reporters) in hatching their plan through strong
synergy built by their prominent leaders such as the Sultan,
Emirs, Obas in Yoruba to capture power from GEJ in 2015
The Igbo think-tank, Ohaneze Ndigbo, must come together
and build a formidable force to project our interest as done
by the Northerners in the last general election. We were
made to believe that Nigerian voters were the ultimate
beneficiaries of the last presidential election as against the
massive malpractices with the Alajiris in Kano state.
Our people must always have it at the back of the mind that
absolute power rest with the people hence the call to our
change from usual political apathy in view of the next
election. I think that is the biggest lesson and the way
forward to our capturing power.
Renowned PR expert and President of the famous US based
consultancy Ries Laura in a book she jointly wrote with her
father titled: The 22 immutable laws of branding had
stressed that “to be successful at building a brand, you need
to think as narrowly as possible and you need to stay as
narrowly focused as possible to keep the brand.” This must
be the watchword of the South Easterners as we prepare for
2019 presidential election
However, our people must conduct it’s research carefully to
accurately identify the perception of the Nigerian audience
about the confused APC-LED government. The North used
Boko Haram and the hoax Chibok girls adoption to curl the
sympathy of the Nigerian masses, we can use the unabated
‘Fulani herdsmen massacre’ to bring the current
administration to its toes. These facts can be deployed
massively across various platforms to assert our stand
through election of candidate that can protect our overall
interest
To create the energy that wins the hearts and minds of other
regions (especially our ally South South brothers) and turn
them into our advocates, our political sophiscation must be ascertained and the question on how to lobby and inspire
other Southern and middle belt regions to support us must
be evaluated.
NEED FOR OUR ATTITUDINAL CHANGE
Attitudinal change to politics of Nigeria among the people of
the region must be holistic and all inclusive. Our change of
attitude can be driven by scheming politics as we scheme
our business knowing that a good government results to an
enabling business environment and vice versa. The need for
widespread public sensitization cannot be overemphasized
Our traditional rulers must prioritize campaigning at the
grassroot for our consensus candidates, Neighbor to
Neighbor campaign should be reviewed and adopted, Our
national assembly members must be wise enough in playing
their part by lobbying their colleagues in the upper and lower
chamber to support our cause for fairness, equity and
justice in the country we presume to be one. Our religious
leaders should as well preach to their congregation in
churches to take their civil rights serious and exercise it to
the fullest in the next general election. They should
admonish our people to get their voters card and participate
actively in the election. The teachers and lecturers in school
should ensure that their students get their voters card (they
can as well use it to allot marks to the students that get
theirs). Market leaders in popular markets such as Main
market, Akwete market, Ariara market, Alaba and Idumota
market, Sabon gari market etc must sensitize our people to
participate actively in the next presidential election.
Finally and most importantly, in order to sensitize our
people to change their attitude, their is need for total sense
of commitment from the governor’s of the region and other
stakeholders in the region. There must be a radiated
charisma, inspiration and commitment by all and sundry in
the region. We must be compatible and impenetrable to
achieve this course. There must be sincerity and tenacity of
purpose by all
Saboteurs of the region like Joe Igbokwe and his likes that
are pipers to their alien paymasters must remain in their
confined territories and never mind to visit the region.
This is a way the region can build a formidable force
towards realization of our dream and ensuring equity in the
Nigeria’s polity.

For knowledge and Justice

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