Ndi Igbo: A People In Search Of True Leadership

Like him or loathe him, but you can't certainly deny the temerity and panache that he exudes. Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu is a man that even words will not aptly describe. As one commentator puts it 'He is many men rolled into one.' In truism, to rehash all his feats here will be an effort in futility. In fact, eulogies on that subject are already ubiquitous. However, for those few who still hold grudges and throw diatribes at Ojukwu, it is only right to say that for all his achievements, he was still a man with flaws. Although, that is not the theme of this article. As the Ikemba 1 of Nnewi begins his journey to a world we will never know in the flesh, it begs the question: Who will take up the mantle of leadership in Igboland? Ojukwu was viewed as a political father of the 'Ndi Igbo.' He was to the Igbo, what the likes of Ibb, Gowon and Buhari are to the North. He might not be the favourite of everyone, but he was surely the outright choice in Igboland. Now, the daunting vaccum exist. While it is true that divisions and strife exist in virtually every regions in Nigeria, it is more pronounced in Igboland. The search for true leadership among the Igbo have proved elusive. The vested 'interests' of most of those who pride themselves as statesmen often kicks in the way of ideal leadership. When push comes to shove, leadership is no where to be found among the Igbo. Unfortunately, Ojukwu's demise will further compound this woe. Is it not pathetic to note that only few weeks after the Dim died, tussles over who will succeed him as Ikemba has already reared up it's ugly head. It makes one wonder if some of the eulogies that have been poured on Ojukwu, have not been a cheap attempt to regain relevance for some. The glaring divisions are certainly plausible reasons that makes one doubt if a soverign state of Biafra would have thrived, if it had survived. Political role models in the form of Ojukwu, are in short supply in Igboland. The politics of materialism holds sway in the land. It is no more news that chieftancy titles in Igboland have now become an auction of some sort. It is the highest bidder who now wears 'the red cap.' What happened to integrity? To meritocracy and virtue? As 2015 draws closer, the leadership vaccum in Igboland remains a big puzzle. The people needs one in the form of the Emir and Sultan in the North, and the Oba in the West. If Ndi Igbo must stand a realistic chance of getting the presidency in 2015, then a lot needs to be fixed. Popular opinion has it that Owelle Rochas Okoroafor, the governor of Imo state, is the anionted son of the Igbo for 2015. However, this is a house divided within itself and a lot can change between now and 2015. Perhaps, it is high time that the Igbo tell themselves the home truth about the numerous anomalies in the land. Immortalizing Dim Ojukwu is beyond the encomium that many have casted upon him, we must emulate the strength of his conviction and learn from the subtle lesson that a son of a business tycoon (Lious P. Ojukwu), who had all the good things of life at his beck and call, could still pursue a course he believed in into the realms of death.

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