All eyes now turn on South-East governors


EMEKA OBASI looks at the clash between the Yoruba and Igbo in Lagos State during the 2019 elections and wonders why. He reckons that the clash was unnecessary and the anger misplaced, he sets an development agenda for the governors in the South East.

NOTHING lasts forever, even as some politicians want us to believe that there is a silent war between the Igbo and Yoruba. The easy part is over now, what will follow is the speedy development of the South–East geo-political zone. There is nothing else left to do outside. The people are heading home for good.

Heading home does not mean running away from other parts of Nigeria. The trumpet is sounding and like the Yoruba say, what you are looking for in ‘Sokoto, is right there in your shokoto.’

The South–East governors must wake up from slumber. The days of docility are over. My joy is that the present bunch of leaders, if you exclude the outgoing governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, cannot be described as inexperienced.

Willie Obiano left the banking industry as an Executive Director. He has spent over five years in office. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, was in the House of Representatives.

Dave Umahi served as deputy governor. The import is that the Ebonyi governor is the longest Government House Tenant among the pack. Okezie Ikpeazu, holds a chain of degrees and spent quite some time in the class room as a lecturer.

Emeka Ihedioha’s green cap does not in any way, make him a green horn. He is coming from a position of advantage, having served in the federal house as a very high ranking member.

If the South–East governors were not meeting regularly before, they must begin to do things in a different way. Their collective responsibility should be to take Igbo land to where the late Dr. Michael Okpara left it in the First Republic.

Just before the first coup in January 1966, the Eastern region was regarded as the fastest growing economy in the world. The South-East was part of that region. Singapore, South Korea and Malaysia were not as developed.

Officers who planned that coup, did not go into consultations with anyone. Many of them happened to be Igbo. The man who would have announced the change of government, Wole Ademoyega, was Yoruba.

Their resolve was to free Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the first Premier of the Western region who was serving term in jail. They had secured the support of an Air Force Officer, Major Theo Nzegwu, whose wife was Yoruba.

Nzegwu would have helped Captain Christian Udeh with an aircraft to go fly Awolowo from Calabar to Lagos where he would be made Prime Minister. The man who led the Lagos operation, Emmanuel Ifeajuna, was a graduate of the University of Ibadan and had taught in Western Nigeria during the Awo years.

I have to point this out to let everyone know that the so called Yoruba who fight the Igbo over land are the ones with complex, who cannot stand competition. Some of them may claim to be educated but their degrees are not worth the tissue paper manufactured in Iwopin.

The real Yoruba and Igbo, work hand in hand and eat on the same table. All the anti-Igbo feelings created in some areas of Lagos do not come from the hearts of the very accommodating South-Westerners.

Is it not strange that in other states, Igbo and Yoruba wine and dine together in marriage. These stragglers, who preach: ‘our land, our inheritance’, cannot be more Yoruba than Chief Ayo Adebanjo or Mr. Yinka Odumakin.

The Igbo cannot carry Lagos back to the East. There is so much to leave for our very good Yoruba hosts. And there is still so much to do together. Mazi Mbonu Ojike did it with Dr. Olorunimbe.

To the South–East governors, think home henceforth. The Igbo man cannot be stopped from doing his bit. America was not made America by Red Indians. The queens and kings of England came from elsewhere.

Alaba is moving to Aba. Ladipo is relocating to Lokpanta. Trade Fair will be replicated in Otanzu Otanchara. Nike Lake will be a modern version of Lekki. And those who do not want to miss Okota are welcome in Aguata.

These governors can do it. God has blessed the Igbo man with brain. It was evident during the Civil War. While Biafra built refineries and airports in less than two months, some other countries are importing oil, over 50 years after.

The governors must lead. These leaders must think out of the Nigerian box. Israel thought out of the box in the midst of danger. The South-East must find a way out.

I offer these three countries: Japan, Australia and Germany—as a step forward. There is need to look towards them as partners while maintaining strong bonds with the United States where there is a huge Igbo presence.

The Japanese are good in auto manufacturing and electronics. That will create new Alaba and Ladipo. Instead of buying and selling, there would be assembly plants.

Bringing their technology closer will help. And they share some common names with the Igbo. In Japan, there is a town called Ehime just like there is in Mbano. They have Oguchi, in Nagoya.

Monica Okoye played Basketball for Japan, at the 2018 FIBA World Championships in Spain. At the 2010 FIFA Under 17 Female championships, two Japanese stars bore Igbo sounding names-Arisa Mochizuki and Chika Kato.

Aussies can help out with telecommunications. Taking Computer Village to Oguta will be fine. Australia would welcome partnership outside the Asia Pacific Region. And do not forget that they are looking for friends.

They paid tickets to fly athletes from all over the globe to grace the Sydney 200 Olympics. And an Igbo girl, Glory Alozie, stole their heart after her fiancé, Hyginus Anugom, was knocked down by a teenage driver, near South Cross College, Sydney.

“If the Olympic Games are a celebration of the human spirit, in this woman (Glory), it burns strongest of all’,  the Australian Daily Telegraph wrote.

Germany, Europe’s strongest economy will perfect chemical industries around the East. They are just waiting to welcome our governors, if they press the right buttons.


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