After spells of military interregna in Nigeria, beginning from 15 January, 1966, Major-General Abdulsalami Abubakar (then as head of state) decided to return political leadership of Nigeria to the civilian citizens in June, 1998. With his proclamation to that effect, politicking was then re-introduced in the country, and subsequently, retired Gen Olusegun Obasanjo, then languishing in prison, was released and made the Presidential candidate of the emergent People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to participate in the ensuing political processes. The rest is now history.
As other Nigerians commenced political processes, so did the good people of Arochukwu. So, political activities began nationwide; ditto in Arochukwu. Political actors emerged in the town, with a sizeable member of her citizens participating, and that has continued till today.
But unlike what obtains in other places (from what we have heard and seen in these places), political activities have not grown in Arochukwu ever. What we have is political mediocrity and isolationism. By this I mean that politics in Arochukwu has been in the hands of one or two persons who use their privileged positions to foist and hoist their style of politics on the leaders in the town – the result is that neophytes, simpletons, naïve and half-educated persons and those with no means of livelihood, mean persons have continued to occupy political positions such persons are not qualified to occupy in the town – as people usually give what they have! The resultant effects include that Arochukwu, as a town, continues to lose out in all ramifications in the scheme of things in Abia State
Let me explain more. In my six years of studies in GPD in ABSU, the subject of politics was clearly explained to us as, just as we were subjected to buying and reading many political books written by those who knew the subject, newspapers and other publications. In two of such books, The Igbo and Traditions of Politics and K O Mbadiwe – Rebirth of a Nation, we are told and taught that the moment any unqualified persons occupy political positions in any place on behalf of the people, the people involved will suffer all on those things qualified persons should have brought to them! This is exactly why we are suffering in Arochukwu today. Many of our councillors have been job-seekers, those who want money to build their house; those who cannot stand up and speak good English for the hour; or write good sentences; those who want money to marry, and those who have no known means of livelihood! But these are the group of persons whose names are forwarded to the state and federal agencies/ government for appointments! When finally they are appointed, such persons now think of how to stand on their feet first as individuals before remembering Arochukwu (if they will do that at all), and after they might have settled such political God-fathers!
This is far from what political is, as K O Mbadiwe had clearly elucidated and went ahead to write in this book quoted above! This situation must change in Arochukwu. Political positions given to Arochukwu should not be given to any and every body. They should be given to qualified and professionally standing persons, those who have known means of livelihood who should use such positions to help Arochukwu to prosper.
In Arochukwu, we must go ahead to accept that readers must be leaders!