By Charles Ogbu.
First, let me make this very clear, I recognize that election boycott is a legitimate tool of civil disobedience. But it is my humble view that Igbo youths boycotting election in Ala-igbo is a move that will further worsen our woes as a people. It will not help our quest for freedom in any way.
Election boycott only works in a civilized clime where leaders have functioning conscience. Or in a world peopled by international community that is not too busy pursuing their selfish interests. The main aim of boycotting election is simply to show that the “boycotter” is angry with the system which will now make the leaders to say, ‘Oh, these our people are not happy, let’s find out what the issues are’. This will now lead to negotiation where the issues will be resolved.
This is Nigeria, a country presided over by conscience-less Savages. The bigger problem is, we have a United Nation that doesn’t care who dies and who lives in any part of the world as long as the key member Nations have nothing to gain by intervening. It’s all about interest.
Nigeria is not a country where you use CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE to achieve anything meaningful because there is nothing CIVIL about Nigeria. The only language Nigeria understands is force and sadly, we currently do not have the wherewithal to use force. This is why we must be open-minded and keep all options on the table in our quest for freedom.
Referendum DOES NOT fall from the sky. It has processes and procedures through which it can be secured.
Ndigbo boycotting their own election in their own land is like a financially handicapped husband boycotting his wife’s food even when he knew his wife is a very heartless woman who has been looking for a means to starve him to death. If you are married to a reasonable woman and you boycott her food in protest, she will try to find out what the issues are and even beg you to eat but if your wife is not the good type, your food boycott will only hurt you.
Boycotting our local elections will neither give us referendum nor help our quest in any way.
During the 2006 population census, I worked as an adhoc staff of NPC then, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike led MASSOB championed the boycott of the census in the Southeast. Today, Ndigbo have almost the least population figure among the six geopolitical Zones in the country. We all know the implication.
No matter how angry we are with the Mis-leaders we have in Igbo land, until we are able to harness these righteous anger and properly channel them towards punishing those leaders, we are simply chasing shadow.
Life does not come to a halt simply because we are seeking for freedom. As long as we are still trapped in Nigeria, using Nigerian passport and currency, boycotting election of men and women who will preside over our affairs on the home front IS NOT a wise move. It will not move Nigeria. It will not move Igbo leaders and most importantly, it will not move the international community. Remember, the world sat and watched Buhari soldiers kill Igbo youths right inside a church and BATH THEM WITH RAW ACID ON MAY 29-30, 2016 IN ONITSHA. THE UN SAT AND WATCHED BUHARI DROWN IGBO YOUTHS IN MOULDY WATERS IN ABIA STATE MONTHS AGO JUST AS THEY SAT AND WATCHED HIM DISAPPEAR THE IPOB LEADER AND HIS PARENTS even when he was still under a legally granted bail. It defies logic to expect this same conscience-less UN to act simply because we boycotted election even when most of us don’t even have PVC to really boycott the poll.
Emotion alone won’t take us far in this journey. The earlier we realize that the world got no time to attend our pity party, the better for us.
Numerical strength means nothing if it cannot be adequately channeled. With our numberless number as young people and our PVC, even the Army will be too scared to rig our elections. We can control our home front. Every Igbo politician will be struggling to get our support. They will live in constant fear of crossing our red line. With our voting power, we can get them to do our bidding because they know we will come out enmass and vote them out if they fail and seeing as political office is to them what water is to fish, they will be our puppets for as long as they are there.
When we boycott election, we make ourselves irrelevant. We deprive ourselves of the only bargaining power to control our own politicians. We give our Politicians the powers to treat us like political trash because in truth, that’s what we are. Politics is about interests. When you control a large voting population, politicians will eat from your hands. And they will do your bidding.
Let me add that just one elected Igbo governor or Senator talking about the Igbo plight either before local or foreign Press carries more weight than street protest.
We are not Northerners. We are Ndigbo and we are Republican to the core. Self Determination movement is not a secret cult that does not tolerate contrary opinion. And Biafra agitation is not a vendetta against anyone. It is a quest for justice. A quest for freedom. To succeed, we need all our people on board. Above all, we must learn to tolerate dissenting views and listen to advise.
‘Eze onye agwanam’ is not a good Eze.