Sen, Chris Ngige/Joe Igbokwe Vs Gov. Ayo Fayose/Femi Fani Kayode.

My late mother of blessed memory used to say in Igbo: “Offor adighi ire esuo ya oku”, meaning; if the deity as represented by the piece of offor wood seizes to be active, then it might as well be burnt or use as fire wood, because without that active relevance, it is nothing short of ordinary wood.

Even the bible made it clear that a salt is only good if it has not lost its saltiness. In our pursuit in life, we must strive never to lose relevance as a living soul. Relevance in this context has nothing to do with the position you may be occupying, not at all.

I used these two expressions to address the issue of Sen. Ngige and Joe Igbokwe. These two men I know personally. Ngige was once nothing short of elder brother and close friend to me. I used the word was because the relationship is not the same today as the drift of circumstance often and inevitably alter relationship we once knew.

Then Joe Igbokwe, I used to have office directly opposite his residence in Lagos. I’ve encountered him from the distance. We do not know each other one on one. But he was humble and a struggling guy trying to make ends meet as every other responsible father.

I said these things because I know these two people personally to confirm that they are not bad people as individuals. They are jolly good fellows, and have faced the trivial and challenges of an average Igbo person in Nigeria.

Dr. Ngige was once the most unapologetically and unwavering defender of Igbo interest, both as individuals and as a collective entity. What some people are doing today, Dr. Ngige did when there was nothing like civil liberties or freedom of speech. It was during the military Era, yet Ngige will walk through the nights and day to ensure that any aggrieved Igbo person received justice.

He was a practicing Medical Doctor at the 1004 complex where he also resided at the time. He was so humble that his entire 1004 apartment was taken over by his nieces, nephews and other relations that Doctor as we used to call him, catered for. So much so that Doctor will basically sit or lie where ever there was space in the house, I was there when he got married and was there when his first son was dedicated.

Why am saying these things?? because we live in the world where to do harm is often laudable, but numerous good go unnoticed. I say these good things so I’ll be justified when I Point out the flaws of Sen. Ngige, as a matter of fact self inflicted wounds that have now fairly or unfairly earned him the wrath of Ndigbo and those who have no right to speak to one of our own in such stern and condescending manner. But, I once said: that it is the one that fetched ants infested firewood that sent an open invitation to the Lizards.

There’s another remark that speaks on Ngige, and Igbokwe: Do not make permanent decision under temporary inconvenience. Another one said: Do not compromise your self because you are all you’ve got. These words if wisdom have been completely violated by both brothers by nobody but their individual selves.

These two Igbo sons are not the only ones at the other side of the political divide. There are others that are similarly situated, yet those people have maintained that fine line without losing relevance at home.

It beats my imagination and Infact most Igbos, that at every turn when there’s a sensitive issue confronting Ndigbo, Sen. Ngige will most predictably say or do the wrong thing. He did that with the Fashola controversial deportation of Igbos in their own country. An aberration and reprehensible action that must not be rationalized by anyone. But Ngige mishandled that situation and lost what was his huge political currency and goodwill earned through the years as the Governor of Anambra state where his achievement is yet to be matched by any South East Governor.

Now, faced with a President and group of people that have not hidden their agenda and disdain for the Igbos, Ngige once again stuck out his neck to make what amounts to a foolish remark in a period blood has been spilled and your entire kinship men and women are at the edge with naked aggression and manifest discrimination, he decided to be so dismissive and spoke with cavalier attitude of indifference. I am deeply troubled when Sen. Ngige the humble and dedicated Doctor I used to know is now described with such adjectives that depicts negative and flawed character.

When we speak of Ngige today people will speak of arrogance to the level of hubris and Insensitivity. For Joe Igbokwe, he has insulted every Igbo person and denounced Igbos in every way that he comes as someone actually influenced by the curses that the elders he has insulted have rained on him. Joe see no evil in those who have wronged and continue to perpetuate the wrong against the Igbos. Joe Igbokwe is the only wise Igboman and Tinubu is the God that is both beyond reproach and infallible.

So, what’s now the relevance of Ngige and Igbokwe in the trajectory of Igbo interest??
Why should we blink if the likes of Fani Kayode and Fayose, comes to our rescue or lend their voices to our cause and help to amplify it to reach the highest crescendo.
I thought our elders once acknowledged that: (Na nwanne di na’ mba), that there are good and relevant relations in distance land. Not necessarily through biological or blood relationship but by the dint of fate and interactions.

Today, Some people are busy questioning the sincerity of FFK, and Gov Fayose of Ekiti State in their renewed and unequivocal support for Igbo cause. I understand the cynical reservation of these people, and they may not be entirely wrong in their skepticism as they have enough previous experience of numerous let downs to question every actions coming from our Yoruba brethren regardless of how sincere.

To these people I’ll use this reaction of an Israeli official that was asked by an American journalist, how he felt about the Evangelical Christians who are fanatically in support of Isreal. The Evangelical Christians believe that Jesus will not return until the entire lost tribes of Isreal return to the Jewish state. So with this mindset they oppose any Peace deal that will yield an inch to the Palestinians. Instead they raise millions of Dollars to help airlift Jews from all over the world (Argentina, Russia, Ethiopia and so many other places) that desire to return to Isreal. They airlift them and resettle them in Isreal, with hope and ambition that this will help to hasten the second coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as Christians , who the Jews do not acknowledge nor believe in his second coming.
So when the Israeli official was asked how he felt about this exercise fully aware of the intent and purpose of their support and the consequences for the Jewish state, he responded brilliantly by saying; Well, we need more of their support. They should continue to help us and stand by us, and if, and when Jesus finally returns we may decide to change our minds.

So those who question the sincerity of Our brothers from across the Niger, while rationalizing the bizarre behaviour of Ngige and Igbokwe should learn from what the Israeli official said.

It is never too late for the duo to redeem their battered image and reputation among their kinsmen. They must learn that it is better to be saved by criticism rather than be ruined by the sycophantic praise of people that will soon fade away at the sunset of their current political career and influence.

Chris O. Maduka.

Public Affairs and Policy Analyst

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