–Can Okorocha And Other Notable Igbo Politicians Also Travel Abroad Inspite Of IPOB Threat?
By Ekene Bob-Ekechukwu Esq.
A few weeks ago, a pan Igbo organization, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) assaulted a former Deputy Senate President of Nigeria, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu during a diaspora New Yam Festival in far away Nuremberg, Germany. The fiasco which was the first of its kind, raised eyebrows internationally as it brought to fore, the latent socio-political malaise in Nigeria.
However, the IPOB were quick to blame there actions on the treacherous attitude of Igbo political class towards the cause of the organization and the plight of Igbos. IPOB lampooned the Igbo political class for neglecting and failing to protect the interest of the region in the face of marginalization. Especially on the recent killing of Igbo youths by soldiers during the infamous Operation Python Dance.
They went ahead to pass a vote of no confidence on several Igbo politicians for non-performance and ethnic sabotage. Furthermore, they issued a travel ban on Igbo politicians with the caveat that any one of them caught abroad would be given similar treatment as Ekweremadu. To make good their threat, the IPOB harrased another Igbo politician and a serving Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, while holding a meeting with some members of the Nigerian community in the Embassy of Nigeria in Vienna, Austria.
Nevertheless, the IPOB gave assurance of safety for a few Igbo politicians of note, whom they believe have performed creditably and are concerned about the plight of Igbos. Ironically, taking a trip overseas, now became a litmus test to prove the acceptance of any Igbo politician to all Igbos, at home and in diaspora. Expectedly, several culpable Igbo politicians cancelled their plans to travel overseas in order not to be caught up by the “iri ji” Tsunami.
However, just a few days ago, the Executive Governor of Imo State, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, travelled to the United States of America (USA), against all odds, to woo investors to the State. During the trip which was well publicised, His Excellency was warmly recieved by Imo indigenes and the Nigerian Ambassador to the USA, Hon. Justice Sylvanus Adiewere Nsofor. Thereafter, the Governor held business meetings with some members of the US Congress in Washington DC. It has been reliably gathered that the said trip is already yielding dividends, as it has opened floodgates of foreign investments in Imo State.
It is interesting to note, that the ability of Gov Ihedioha to travel overseas without harrasment from the IPOB is significant and clearly a vote of confidence on him as a credible Igbo leader. It is indeed, a translucent indication of his popularity and wide acceptance by all Igbos. A popular adage says that the taste of the pudding, is in the eating. Therefore, it is now incumbent on other Igbo politicians like, Rochas Okorocha, Ken Nnamani, Orji Uzor Kalu, Joe Igbokwe, Chris Ngige, Ogbonnaya Onu, Osita Okechukwu, et al, who claim to be Igbo leaders, to also make similar trip overseas in order to prove to the world that they are indeed popular with their people. If the pass the “iri ji” test, then the world can view them as credible Igbo leaders.
But until then, there spurious claims of representing the interest of the Igbos and the self-centred ambition of some of them, to be the first Executive President of Igbo extraction will always have a big question mark.