Ifeanyi Ubah’s Defection and Ndigbo

Ifeanyi Ubah’s Defection and Ndigbo

By Jude Ndukwe

Opinion: Defection by politicians from one political party to another has become a common feature in Nigeria’s political landscape since the beginning of the 4th Republic. It gained so much traction that it was a source of worry for parties who lose their heavyweights to rival parties just at the drop of a hat.

Ifeanyi Ubah is the latest to be caught in the web of defections afflicting our political space. The oil magnate and consummate industrialist is one man who has the drive to succeed in whatever he sets his heart to do. His love for the Igbo, his race, is incontrovertible and unflawed.

He has demonstrated his unbridled commitment to the Igbo cause in several ways more than many Igbo billionaires in his class have done.

Beyond words, the Nnewi-born Senator has committed enormous resources for the advancement of the Igbo cause. He not only talks Igbo, he walks Igbo, eats Igbo and breathes Igbo. Ifeanyi Ubah’s Igbo-centrism is too obvious and copious to be debated.

 But, like everyone, Senator Ubah also has his weaknesses and moments of gaffes, one of which was his comments after his recent defection from the YPP to the APC.

While speaking shortly after the defection, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah had said: “I want to be sincere, it has always been difficult for the Igbo people to key into the national party because of our sentiments and emotions.

“Since our president has emerged and I put that challenge to each Igbo man today in Nigeria, 70 percent – 80 percent of them derive their wealth from the legacy that the president has left in Lagos.”

That’s one gaffe that’s capable of pushing into irredeemable obscurity all that Senator Ubah stands for and has done for the Igbo nation.

How can anyone attribute the wealth of 70 – 80 per cent of Igbo people to one man, simply because the man was governor of Lagos State from 1999 – 2007? Did the globally acknowledged Igbo nation start producing billionaires in 1999? Ifeanyi Ubah, as widely travelled as he is, knows full well that the making of wealth by the Igbos transcends persons and places, not to talk of someone of the recent era.

 It is disheartening that a man of his status would, for whatever reason, make such a declaration, thereby downgrading the sterling entrepreneurial capacity and capabilities of a whole nation, his own people. It is even more worrisome that the declaration was politically motivated. It was placing logic and history on their head and a futile attempt to subjugate and sacrifice the principles of hard-work, intelligence, audacity in taking business risks and daring to tread where others dread with which Ndigbo are renowned for universally on the altar of his political ambition.

That is not an act any Igbo man or woman would take lightly. Ubah cannot throw the people under the bus just for him to appear politically correct.

Ndigbo did not start being billionaires in 1999 when President Tinubu started holding sway in Lagos as governor. The people have been producing billionaires out of dint of hard-work, academic excellence, business acumen, scientific and technological inventions and entrepreneurial innovations both at home and abroad. Just as their wealth, they are everywhere in the world working smartly and sustaining their reputation as one of the most diligent races of the world.

No doubt, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah has what it takes to continue to contribute his own quota to the relentless rising of the socio-political fortunes of Ndigbo in Nigeria and abroad as he has demonstrated in the past, and Anambra will be very lucky to have such a goal-getter as governor. He should however go about the pursuit of his ambitions with the highest level of decorum without dragging the collective destiny of Ndigbo into the mud by tying our prosperity to the apron string of any one man.

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