Igbo Political Apprenticeship, Will It Ever End ?

By Richard Chinanyi Obasi

APPRENTICESHIP is a system by which a person learning a trade or craft is instructed by a master for a set of time under set conditions.

Ndi Igbo are known in this regard and have benefitted immensely from the appreticeship system which in the local parlance is referred to as ‘boy-boy’.

At the end of his apprenticeship the young Igbo man is handsomely settled and set free by his master in a quiet ceremony. This gives him the opportunity to continue his craft or trade independently . He becomes his own ‘Oga’.

However , in politics Ndi Igbo are not known to history to engage in political apprenticeship. In fact, in the pre colonial and colonial era the Igbo man was republican in nature and every village was a republic. In all socio-political matters every male adult was politically independent with a voice of his own. In the years leading to Nigeria’s independence the Igbo man was a political master calling the shots.

Sadly, after the civil and the surrender to the federal forces by the Biafran in 1970 ,the reverse became the case. Igbos lost their pride of place and gradually entered into political apprenticeship/servitude for their survival.

The military incursion into politics worsened the matter as the Igbo man was further pushed to the background. With the return of democratic rule more Igbo sons and daughters began to serve other tribes for selfish political gain. The likes of Joe Igbokwe , Orji Kalu, Rochas Okorocha, Ike Ekweremadu, Ognonnaya Onu, David Umahi, Ken Nnamani, Chris Ngige,Oby Ezekwesili, Kema Chikwe, and the list is endless. These people have no voice and aspirations of their own. They must do their master’s bid.

Having seen the pitiable situation of Igbos, Nnamdi Kalu’s IPOB intensified the demand for Igbo freedom and Biafra. At a time the clamour was gathering international and national momentum, our political apprentices , not sure of their fate in Biafra decided to leverage on the wind of change to ask for Igbo presidency.

They started talking tough in their and the two major parties , at a time, gave them false hope.
Let me not over labour us with the outcome of the party primaries in APC and PDP. In fact, Peter Obi was driven out of PDP on account of his ethnic background having seen the potentials in him. Ogbonnaya Onu couldn’t hold back again and had to break down while delivering his speech. Disgraced Umahi came home and vented his shame, anger , and frustration on Oha Na Eze Ndi Igbo. Like Nnamdi Kalu said….they served the Zoo and returned in shame.

Honestly, the outcome of the party primaries didn’t come to me as a surprise. What pushed me to tears is the news of Gov. Okowa of Delta State picked by Atiku as running mate. I became ashamed and it dawned on me that there’s no hope in sight for our freedom from this political apprenticeship.

A region that demanded for presidency could not even be considered for running mate. No Igbo son or daughter was found worthy of this position and the region’s vote was not important. It’s obvious that we are irrelevant in the political equation and a bigger shame on our so called political elites.

My advice to them is to bury their heads in shame. Obviously, there’s still a long road to political freedom. Hence the question…. Igbo political apprenticeship – will it ever end ?

Culled from Richard Chinanyi Obasi’s Facebook page.

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