The South-west is wise. They are educated and cerebral. They are reasonable and responsible. They have great love for books and learning. They respect knowledge and they go to great lengths to acquire it, preserve it and apply it towards the actualization of their goals and human potentials. They appreciate the legacy of Obafemi Awolowo’s foundational renaissance which was based on the age old philosophy that “Knowledge is power”.
When faced with severe problems and dangerous situations, they sit down to examine issues. They do a comparative analysis of situations and events. They project and posit. They are experts at both deductibles and inductions. They rely on the power of their intellect to find solutions to human problems no matter how intractable or threatening. They believe that the human mind, when properly nurtured and positively attuned, can find solutions to any problem. They respect the educated class and accord them a leading role in social construction.
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They endure the inconveniences of the moment in order to attain the greater objectives of tomorrow. They endure insults and humiliation when it comes, not because they are cowardly or unknowing, but because they understand that to confront your enemy successfully, you must plan, strategize, design and carefully deliver your response. While the market women and alayes, area boys and OPC generallisimos litter the streets with egbon messages, the egg brains retire to the back rooms to plot the strategy of “war”.
In the Ekiti election of July 14th, they manifested superior wisdom. Their ideological propinquity and proof of political sophistication has come full circle. They have reclaimed the last of their territory from the impunity that polluted their landscape during the electoral banditry of 2003. In a very spectacular manner they have reclaimed their honor, restored their dignity, rescued their hostages and secured enduring freedom.
With the Ekiti verdict, the Yoruba nation has bid farewell to the behemoth of an inglorious era. They have done the right thing. This is a critically audacious and highly symbolic surgical operation. They have successfully and clinically removed the cancerous, iniquitous, odious and leprous behemoth from their political life. Today, the descendants of Oduduwa can beat their chests and say “NEVER AGAIN”.
What significance does the Ekiti example hold for the South-east? Where does “The New Order” leave us in the political balance of a new Nigeria, for yes, this is an emerging New Order. Make no mistake about that. Where do we go from here? Do we remain in Egypt, do we continue to dance around, in confusion and controversies, do we, like the ostrich continue to bury our heads in the sand, with the false notion that we will be safe? Are we capable of holding a conversation, are we capable of deep thoughts and reflections? Are we capable of letting go the schizophrenia, the confusion, the roadblocks and atavism that have held us down?
This bizarre manifestation of being stranded in a no man’s land became a mirror in the contradictory trajectories of our post-colonial fecundities. 2015 was indeed a defining moment. A bad outing if there ever was one. Since that awesome moment, when we suffered the greatest political animus of all time, we have not recovered, yet we have not really sat down to talk with one another. To ask why it happened, how it happened and what needed to be done to prevent a repeat. Largely, we pretended it didn’t matter, we hauled insults and recriminations, we shouted and ranted, we apportioned blames and passed the buck, we threatened and huffed, we threw tantrums and hysterics, but nothing came of it.
We had played bad politics and we got a bad deal. Every other argument is academic.
That was 2015. Today, 2019 is at the corner. It brings another opportunity, another challenge and another chance. The chance to get wiser and the opportunity to right certain wrongs. This is an enormous task. It needs wisdom, courage, grit, determination, faithfulness, strength, commitment, and much more. It demands the best in us and from us. To the Igbo leaders and thinkers, this is the time to lead. It is the time to think. It is time to bring together our best elevens. Sequester them in the boardrooms and conference halls until a workable template is drawn.
It is now left for us, the South-east, to wake up from our slumber and embrace the new dawn. I hope we can summon the courage, the wisdom, the political sagacity and aplomb to stop living in a world of dreams and nightmares, distorted images and mirrors, apparitions and shadows, self-deceit and self-abnegation. It is time to reinvent the traditional spirit, reinvigorate the social makeup and haul the Igbo nation into the 21st century.
Egbo (PhD) lives in Abuja.
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