RUDOLF OKONKWO'S COLUMN
 
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RUDOLF OKONKWO
Lynn, MA, USA
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What is wrong with having ‘a false sense of relevance’ when Ojo Maduekwe and his friends at the Federal Republic of Nigeria are incapable of giving the ‘ignorant masses’ a genuine sense of relevance?


Monday, February 26, 2001 ANNOUNCE RUDOLF OKONKWO'S COLUMN TO YOUR FRIENDS

To Ojo Maduekwe, I say, tufiakwa!

There are many who find a good alibi far more attractive than an achievement. For an achievement does not settle anything permanently. We still have to prove our worth anew each day: we have to prove that we are as good today as we were yesterday. But when we have a valid alibi for not achieving anything we are fixed, so to speak, for life.

--Eric Hoffer

espite his well acclaimed populist viewpoints (or is it pandering?), I am not yet a fan of Orji Uzor Kalu. I still have unresolved issues regarding his past. My main thing has always been about sanctions, punishments, reformations and transformations. I need to see these processes happen. I am particular about confession and remorse, contrite and repentance. I hold suspect those who manifest acts of this nature without publicly undergoing the reformation process. I am worried that whenever the chips are down; when the wind of change ceases to blow, they will fall back to what they were. Having said that, I do not think that Orji Kalu deserved the rap he recently received from Ojo Maduekwe.

Ojo Maduekwe is a living symbol of all that is wrong with Igboland. He is more patriotic than the parrot. He speaks French more than the French. He is forever excited about the authority of his master that is at his disposal. He has no sense of tomorrow and the history of the past means nothing to him. He speaks Latin, a dead language and thinks he speaks in tongue. He is just a butterfly that thinks himself a bird. People like Ojo Maduekwe needs to know more before they know how little they truly know. You find them everywhere Ndigbo gather. Either they are ‘lost in the confusion of their understanding’, or you see them ‘lost in the understanding of their confusion’.

I do not believe that the most pertinent thing for the political survival is to have the presidency ceded to Igboland in 2003. Yet, I do not see such an idea as ‘idiotic’. It may be simplistic, superficial but not idiotic as Ojo Maduekwe saw it. The problem with people like Ojo Maduekwe is that having hung around every government that would have him around, he has become so arrogant that he thinks he has the only recipe for wisdom. To the likes of Ojo Maduekwe, the rest of us are wallowing in abject ignorance.

How dare Ojo Maduekwe believe in today’s Nigeria that there is no Igbo Republic? This lack of recognition of the existence of Igbo Republic within the bigger Federal Republic of Nigeria is at the core of Ojo Maduekwe’s malady. And it is not just Ojo Maduekwe. There are so many Igbos like him. This was the same oversight Zik had. Zik had the illusion that Nigeria was one big pot that its whole content will melt if he begins by melting himself. Unknown to him, the salad bar that Nigeria is won’t be turning into that dream melting pot any time soon.

Hear Ojo Maduekwe: “There is no Igbo Republic. What we have is a Federal Republic of Nigeria. So whoever wants to be President can only be a Nigerian president, even if of Igbo extraction. It is idiotic to speak of an Igbo President, a Nupe President, a Yoruba President, when we should be thinking of working for the greater glory of a nation. Ndigbo wants a better deal in the Nigerian polity, not a nominal title that would give the ignorant masses a false feeling of relevance.”

Who are Ojo Maduekwe’s ignorant masses? The Onitsha market traders? The young Igbo men and women in the civil service and military service, who are daily experience injustices, are they the ignorant masses? Oh! I got it- the Igbo intellectuals forced to flee Ojo Maduekwe’s Nigeria. Are they Ojo Maduekwe’s ignorant masses? What is wrong with having ‘a false sense of relevance’ when Ojo Maduekwe and his friends at the Federal Republic of Nigeria are incapable of giving the ‘ignorant masses’ a genuine sense of relevance?

According to Ojo Maduekwe, the Nigerian government has not tried to heal the wounds of the Civil War, 30 years after. So you may ask, what has Ojo Maduekwe done to make Nigeria heal the wound since he started hanging around the corridors of Nigerian government power? Maduekwe seemed to recognize that Biafran scientists died of frustration when their ingenuity were not explored and advanced. You ask again, what has Ojo Maduekwe done about this? Nothing! But he is poised to fight to death, the Igbo politicians he accuses of capitalizing on the tragedy to make political gains.

There lies Ojo Maduekwe’s beef with Orji Uzor Kalu, the Governor of Abia State. For Orji Kalu, Ojo Maduekwe is ready to wear the mask of Bakassi Boys. Hear Ojo Maduekwe: “If he (Orji Kalu) wants war, he will have it. Because we are the original Bakassi Boys.” Then, he went on to say that “… there is a history of dealing with such rascal.” What history is Ojo Maduekwe talking about? Is it the NPN election manipulation history or something else? Maduekwe then warned that Ohafia spirit will rise and with it cometh the Igbo spirit and together, they will sweep Orji Kalu out of office.

I once listened to Orji Kalu and Ojo Maduekwe talk at the World Igbo Congress convention in Dallas. Orji Kalu said that an Igbo minister should give the federal government of Nigeria 50% and give the other 50% to Ndigbo. He boasted that if he were a minister, he would have made many Igbos millionaires. That did not impress me. Ojo Maduekwe on his part simply stood up and said that Obasanjo sent him. The whole world knows he has the ears of Obasanjo, has traveled with the president round the globe. But the question remains, what changes has he brought about? For me, there is no middle way of serving Nigeria. Either you go the Kaduna Nzeogwu way or you abandon the sinking ship all together.

Over the weekend, a recent visitor told me about the exploits of Bakassi Boys. I was told they carry about a knife that breeds blood when it gets close to a murderer. The Bakassi Boys (the modern one, not that fake one Ojo Maduekwe belonged to) also have a charm they put around the neck of a suspect and make him confess. I was told that if the knife breeds and the suspect confesses, Bakassi Boys will kill. Did I hear you say, yucky? One of the things that crosses my mind as I listened was why the Bakassi Boys have not taken the knife 100 miles near the likes of Ojo Maduekwe, Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo and co? Why haven’t the Bakassi Boys put their charm round the neck of Ojo Maduekwe and lets hear what he has to say then?

For me, I have already said my Tufiakwa!

Postsript: Ojo maduekwe has since denied calling the idea of Igbo presidency idiotic. He even made a U-turn to declare his support for it. He had to travel to Kano to do that and not in his native Ohofia where the Ohofia spirit awaits his command. I bet you, the next time you hear about Ojo Maduekwe, he will be the Chairman of Ohaneze. Bad sons!