A posting ascribed to Prof. George Obiozor and a short response

By Mike Ozekhome, SAN

I like the speech of the new Ohaneze Ndigbo President. Pls read objectively: “In my own opinion, the enemy of Ndigbo is Ndigbo itself. I remember a time in this country when all the 6 ministers in Jonathan’s kitchen cabinet were all Igbo’s. Ayim Pius Ayim was SGF, Ngozi Okonjo Iwealla was in charge finance, Emeka Wogu was in Labour and productivity, Berth Nnaji was in Power and Energy, Dieziani Madueke was the powerful minister for oil. 

The six of them outside the Federal Executive Council would meet and decide what and what not to be discussed at d larger FEC. Whatever they decided would eventually be the position of government. In six years, this was the situation. Okiro and Onovo had the police under their control. Ihejerika and later Minimah controlled the Army. These powerful Igbo’s could do and undo. Nigeria was in their pockets.

Rather than care about the poor Igbo chaps scattered all over the country, they were busy diverting billions of naira into their accounts at home and abroad. The 2nd Niger Bridge, they didn’t do. They shared d money. The Lagos/Calabar rail lines passing through  nine states, three of them in the South-East, they were not bothered. They refused to pay the Chinese the counter part fund. They shared the money. Enugu/Onitsha, Aba/PH and other roads of economic importance to their fellow Igbo’s, they abandoned.

“Who is to blame? Who is marginalising d Igbo’s?

“You had your chance, you bungled it. There was only one Yoruba minister worth mentioning at the time, Akinwunmi Adesina. He was in Agric. His budget was less than 1% while Emeka Wogu in Labor had over 10% for his ministry, Ayim had unlimited access to the treasury for the benefit of himself and family members. The poor Igbo guys meant nothing to him. If an Igbo becomes President tomorrow after Jonathan, will there be any difference? The Igbo man will
marginalise his fellow Igbo people. Simple and naked truth!”


1. The Prof Obiozor I know very well did not, could not have and will never author such profanity and inanity, whether as a person in his personal capacity, or in his position as the President-General, Ohaneze Ndigbo.

2. Nigeria surely fared better under these Igbos or the cabinet mentioned in the above posting. Corruption may be said to have been ‘democratised’ under those officials, as every Nigerian could still comfortably eat three square meals a day. Nigerians at that time fared far better in every indice of life.

Today, CORRUPTION has been ‘PRIVATISED’. Nigeria’s wealth has been cornered by a minuscule few. Less than 1% sits on it. There is even no ‘trickle-down’ attempt made to water the parched throats of beleaguered Nigerians.

At that time, there was relative plenty, peace and security. Fuel sold for N89 per litre. A bag rice of rice sold for about N12,400. Today, rice sells for between N28,000 and 42,000 a bag, fepending on the brand.

The Naira at that time exchanged at between N165 and N175 to the dollar. Today, the Naira exchanges for between N505 and N515 to the dollar.

Nigeria at that time, with Nigeria’s GDP increased by 89% and with a rebased economy of $509 billion USD, was the biggest economy in Africa, having overtaken South Africa. It became the 27th largest economy in the world. Today, the same Nigeria has overtaken India as the poverty capital of the world.

The entire security aparachik of Nigeria was not at that time placed in those mentioned people’s hands, or in the hands of the Igbos in ONE FELL SWOOP as it is today, where over 95 % of Nigeria’s security architecture is squarely in the firm grip of a particular race and religion.

Boko haram and armed bandits have today taken over swaths of local government areas, planted their flags of sovereignty and sozereignty, issuing passes and demanding payment of tax from Nigerian citizens. That is one sign of a failed State, a situation where non-state actors can successfully challenge the instruments of coercion and violence of a legitimate government with superior firepower.

The entire sum which is being alleged to have been pilfered under all of them combined (AND THIS IS NOT IN ANY WAY BEING DEFENDED BY ME BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION; AND I TRENCHANTLLY CONDEMN IT), is less than 1% of the money being brazenly stolen today under the close watch of our Mr ‘Integrity’ President. 

Corruption did not then proudly strut about and around like a peacock as it is doing today. Nigeria was not then, as she is today, the number 148th most corrupt country in the world, out of 180 nations surveyed under the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index.

The above named president and government officials did not give preference to their cousins in Niger Republic, or any other country in developmental matters, at the expense of their own country, Nigeria, as is the case today. They did not send,  condone, or tacitly permitted or encouraged their kit and kin to invade, kill, maim, rape, and dehumanise other Nigerians in their homes; nor seize their ancestral lands with impunity, using AK-47 RIFFLES. 

They did not practise hegemony, irredentism and conquest of other ethnic nationalities and religious groups. Nigeria did not at that time mortgage her future and the future of her generations yet unborn to the Chinese and other lender countries through unspeakable loans that cannot be repaid for centuries.

3.  Even if all those things said about the public officers were wrong as stated, President Buhari has had six whopping years, not only to right those wrongs, but to actually show nerve and verve by doing better. Rather than show class, he has actually increased Nigerians’ woes and misery. 

Recall that he had personallly begged for, lobbied, campaigned and even cried, to be made President during the 2003, 2007 and 2011 presidential elections. He believed and promised that he would make a BIG DIFFERENCE.

Nigerians also believed him and ensured that he finally won the election in 2015, and repeated it in 2019. Nigerians had believed that things were indeed wrong and that Buhari could rectify them and make Nigeria a better place. 

But, can any Nigerian today (aside the few powerful ones at the corridors of power and their elite collaborators, both military and civilians), swear by the Holy Bible, Holy Quran, or by his gods that he is indeed better off today than he was in 2014, in terms of prosperity,  welfare, peace, tranquility and security of lives and property? 

So, let the 5th columnists, hackers and hatchet writers tell Mr. President to develop a more people-oriented template of governance, walk the talk and stop fouling and messing things up in Nigeria. Let them stop blaming every and all other Nigerians except themselves for their crass misgovernance, lack of capacity, cluelessness and opaqueness. 

It took Obama less than three years of his eight years stewardship to put a battered America back on track after George Bush Jnr’s era. Damage assessment and finger-pointing as are currently being done cannot a great President make, nor solve our dire challenges.

 With less than two years of the Buhari presidency, this strategy of blaming one particular race for Nigeria ‘s inexorable slide towards balkanizarion and a failed state will certainly not work at all. It merely keeps Nigeria more divided, dislocated and disunited than ever before.

*Chief Ozekhome, SAN, lives in Abuja.

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