The picture of Lagos based All Progressives Congress, APC chieftain, Mr. Joe Igbokwe kneeling in thanksgiving upon news of the capture of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB has stirred strong emotions.
While the majority of Igbokwe’s ethnic group, the Igbo, do not subscribe to the rhetoric that have been associated with Kanu’s struggles, many of them, however, relate with and echo the acts of injustice he is fighting against.
Of course, there are many who on account of their political or other biases would not subscribe to discussing Igbokwe, in their view, not giving him unnecessary attention.
However, in the context of Nigeria’s unfolding political dynamics and history, he appears as a dot in a circle that cannot be ignored.
Many years ago, an Igbo man of higher political and intellectual standing in the person of Dr. Chuba Okadigbo was in a near similar situation.
After the bandwagon victory of the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, the presidential candidate of the Nigeria Peoples Party, NPP, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe had chastised the victory. Dr. Okadigbo in reply had dismissed the criticism of Azikiwe as “the rantings of an ant.”
It was a response that gravitated rebuke towards Okadigbo from far and near.
Of course, some would want to portray Dr. Okadigbo and Igbokwe as being of the same class. But far from it.
Okadigbo in 1983 was a top player in the Federal Government and a man with esteemed intellectual gravitas.
He was by some accounts the man who played the key role in reconciling his people with the mainstream of Nigerian politics by working behind the scenes to bring Chief Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu back to the country from exile in Ivory Coast.
Alongside Dr. Alex Ekwueme, they would also have played a role in nudging Ojukwu to run for the Senate on the platform of the NPN. Though Ojukwu easily won one of the NPN tickets in Anambra State, he eventually lost the main election even if the party won most of the other elections in the state.
What role Okadigbo and Ekwueme played in one of the most intriguing conspiracies in the 1983 election is not known. But it is alleged that after successfully using Ojukwu to brand the NPN in the East and find acceptability, that the owners of the party ensured that he lost the main election.
“Who wants a man like Ojukwu in the Senate to sell us,” it was alleged.
Such conspiracies of party men working against their party candidates have continued to live with us.
Just last year it was an open secret that APC kingmakers worked against the election of the party’s governorship candidate in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as a rebuke to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
So given the high level of political clout that Okadigbo wielded in the NPN at the federal level, some would now reasonably question why he should be compared with Joe Igbokwe.
Igbokwe who rose as a newspaper contributor on the evils of the Sani Abacha regime was picked up by the Tinubu camp and given a number of appointments including being spokesperson of the official party in Lagos State, CEO of the Lagos Signage agency, and lately, special adviser to the governor on Drainages.
The most recent appointment as special adviser on drainages has befuddled many. The claim by his critics is that the Lagos establishment having no more use for him decided to put him in the gutter (drainage) to advise on gutter affairs.
Was it an act of sarcasm on the part of the owners of Lagos to put Igbokwe in the gutters to spew gutter language on his people, some have wondered?
His recent actions against his people have been particularly baffling. At a time that even the haters of Ndigbo have been enthralled by the pragmatic and persuasive political passions of Senator Enyinniya Abaribe, Igbokwe from nowhere recently lambasted him for donning a shirt to identify with the “dot in the circle” as narrated by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to Igbokwe, Abaribe is not a fit person to be in the Senate for his rebuke of Buhari among other assertions.
Indeed, he has claimed Buhari as his hero with no qualms.
His attacks on Abaribe were followed by his thanksgiving on the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu.
Of course, Igbokwe had in an interview long ago said he does not regard himself as an Igbo champion. But why he thrives in championing the crusade against the Igbo is a wonder.
Remarkably, he is mute to the sufferings of his people, the discriminations against his people in his APC and the polity and the servitude that they have been forced to endure.
Nigerians and Lagosians will indeed appreciate Igbokwe better if he focuses on his job on advising the governor on how to clear the gutters in Lagos. He should not allow the desire of those praying for him to be lost in the gutters of history!