…It will be a mortal sin to entrust our hope on our politicians and simply stand and watch as our lives and future are threatened – Bishop Matthew Kukah
Two prominent Christian leaders: Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. John Cardinal Onaiyekan and Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, recently bared their minds on the way forward as we approach the finish line of the presidential election campaigns.
While Bishop Onaiyekan advised against the needless controversies that were contrived by the executive arm regarding the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, Bishop Kukah was explicit when he advised Nigerians not to put their hopes on politicians.
Bishop Kukah who spoke at the ceremony to mark the unveiling of the new-look Nigerian Tribune; preparatory to its 70th anniversary, was quoted by Thisday Newspaper to have said: “It will be a mortal sin to entrust our hope on our politicians and simply stand and watch as our lives and future are threatened”.
Nowhere else does this admonition apply than the current hide-and-seek game some South East politicians are playing over their support for Atiku/Obi candidatures. A region that has traditionally been recognized as a stronghold of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is today at the verge of surrendering its birthrights, like Esau, over a pot of porridge from the ruling APC.
The Governors elected under the PDP in the South East have been sitting on the fence while the highest-ranking political office holder in the region, the Deputy Senate President’s feeble attempt of grandstanding as a supporter of the Atiku/Obi project has been unhelpful. No right-thinking Igbo will accept the excuse of the resistance to Atiku’s choice of Obi as the reason for this demonstrable lack of commitment on the part of some South East PDP leaders.
There will always be initial ill-feelings over the loss of a contest. After all, the PDP Presidential aspirants who contested with Atiku, from his section of the country, were more than ten. But they have all lined up behind Atiku because of the ‘bigger picture’. ‘What is the South East Political leaders’ bigger picture’? Peter Obi’s pedigree is such that none Igbos who ordinarily wouldn’t have supported the PDP are now warming up to the party with the hope that Obi could replicate his eight-years exemplary leadership in Anambra at the federal level.
How many ex-governors have Obi’s record? Of all the mud APC government have been throwing at opponents, none could stick on Obi because he subjected his stewardship in Anambra to an unprecedented level of scrutiny uncommon among past and present public officials. How can the Igbos have such a shining star and allow few South East PDP leaders extinguish it on the altar of selfishness? Even if the PDP will not win the Presidential election, is it expected that the first stone that will pull down PDP should be cast by the Igbos?It is for this and probably more reasons that one should consider Bishop Matthew Kukah’s admonition a wake-up call on the Igbos. There is wisdom in supporting Atiku/Obi project today.
If a candidate from the South East Zone will be considered for the most prestigious political office in Nigeria in the future, by any political party, the attitude that the region brings to bear on the Atiku/Obi project will be remembered. One hopes it will be remembered for good and not for bad. History is replete with the unsavory experiences encountered by Igbos who had betrayed the course of the region because of their selfish interests. Some are dead while many are still living but that will be the subject of another article, someday.
Any Igbo that has his or her voter’s card should think deeply and liberate his or her thought from all cleavages of ‘it- must- be- me’ syndrome of some political leaders in the region. Every Igbo will be accountable for his or her vote and failure to use it judiciously runs the risk of committing ‘mortal sin’ as pointed by Bishop Kukah.
For those who may not be familiar with the concept of mortal sin, it is an offence that is not forgivable. Catholics are not in short supply in the region and should be familiar with the doctrine of ‘mortal sin’ All in all, this last push for Atiku/Obi should not be left for the Igbos alone. Igbo votes alone cannot make a Nigerian President, but it is an act of patriotism to point to the direction of one’s father’s house with the right hand as the legendary novelist, Chinua Achebe, opined.
All Igbos residing across Nigeria should be ambassadors of this project. There is nothing wrong in asking your none Igbo friends for support, not just based on Peter Obi being an Igbo but in the intrinsic belief in his capacity to impact positively on the lives of Nigerians through well-thought-out policies and programmes.
We should honestly and enthusiastically take ownership of Atiku/Obi project and pray that other Nigerians lend their support too. That way, we would have been laying a foundation for the replication of Peter Obi’s legacies in Anambra at the federal level beginning from May 2019.
Categories: Igbo news