By Emmanuel Uzodinma
A random survey of people of South East And South South extraction who claim to support Atiku will be quite illuminating: their support is largely based on anything besides logic and visible fact. Most times when presented with the indisputable evidence of President Buhari’s service in the last four years, it becomes clear that the seeds of discord, which PDP is known for planting is, what they’re clinging to.
Since the Buhari administration swung into work in 2015, it has shown that it is interested in developing all parts of Nigeria and will not be swayed by age-long ethnic and tribal disputes. In the words of Anambra State governor, Willie Obiano, “I have no choice but to praise President Muhammadu Buhari for his determination in the implementation of other Federal Government’s projects in the state and other states in the geopolitical zone.”
The case is the same in Bayelsa, the home state of the last PDP president, Goodluck Jonathan, where citizens who have been deprived of amenities now have access to pipe borne water. Yet, the most vocal supporters of the Atiku campaign are definitely not those whose lives have been touched for the better, but instead, undesirable elements and divisive characters such as Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
It is not a coincidence that Kanu’s emergence into the polity was in 2015, just as President Buhari was getting into office; exploiting the ethnic fault lines which had long existed in Nigeria and began his xenophobic gospel. Indeed, as the late Odumegwu Ojukwu once said, Biafra is not child’s play. As Kanu continued his ideological brainwash, political leaders from his area looked on, encouraging him by their silence anytime he called the Nigerian State “zoo”.
It took a confrontation with security agencies wherein arms and ammunition were recovered from the IPOB strongholds before governors from that region “proscribed” the group. Nnamdi Kanu may have escaped to the UK but he still continues his war on Nigeria. Only this month, he called for a boycott of the general elections by his members. Thousands of them took to the street, not caring about the attendant security risk a mob like that posed to the safety of innocent citizens. It was telling that all the governors from that region spoke against this boycott.
Worse still, the presidential candidate they supported did not condemn this, nor did he even speak public about the danger Nnamdi Kanu posed to the country. Only when Nnamdi Kanu, who for many years had insulted the sanctity of the Nigerian state, declared that Atiku was from Cameroon did PDP members start to have a problem with him.
At this state of Nigeria’s history, the politics of ethnicity and tribalism should be a thing of the past. People who are sympathetic towards ideals that will break up the country and set us back 50 years are evidently no good for continued existence of Nigeria. It cannot be surprising, then, that a collective voice of the South East And South South does not exist.
While Buhari continues to develop infrastructure in those places, one thing is clear: as he lays in the mausoleum which the present government finished after a 23 year abandonment, the late President Nnamdi Azikiwe will be disappointed in some of his kinsmen who have placed ethnic and tribal politics over nationhood.
Emmanuel Uzodinma, a Social Commentator writes from Lagos