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Okiro Needs Igbo Support
*Okiro is full-fledged Igbo
By Engr. S. Ochonma
( Monday, June 25, 2007 )
That Mr Ogbonna Onovo from Enugu State was 'by far' the most Senior Nigerian Police Officer until Thursday 31; May 2007 is not in doubt. That he was already a DIG when the present acting IGP was a Commissioner in Lagos is not also in doubt. And That Ogbonna Onovo is one of the finest police officers ever produced in this country, and that he is dynamic, is not in question too. But what raises so many questions today is why he is not qualified to occupy the IGP position, even in an acting capacity. Why was Ogbonna Onovo allowed to act in the first place for some hours, before disgracefully subjecting him to the command of his "junior?"
The only sensible answer is because he is an Ibo man. Ibos have never presided over the affairs of the Nigeria police and for the federal government under Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, that time has not yet come. The Ibos are still paying the price for loosing the war 37 years after. Such is the vision of a nation that lays claim to being the "Giant of Africa", yet discriminations on the basis of tribe and tongue persists. When do we outgrow this self-defeating scheme? When do we grow up and face the reality of nation building and development. The rest of the world is matching forward leaving Nigeria and such nations with myopic visions behind. God has given us all we need for sustainable development but na´ve leadership has held us down, 47 years after independence from Britain .
I acknowledge that the IGP position is a political one, and the president reserves the right to appointed whosoever he will, but what cannot be right is the sustained effort in ensuring that no perceived Ibo man occupies a commanding position in the Nigerian nation. Whatever criteria or system that has kept Ibos out of the leadership of the Nigeria police force or any of the armed forces can never be right at all.
By the way, Mr Mike Okiro is a full-fledged Ibo man from Egbema. Whether it is Egbema of Imo State or Egbema of Rivers State, it does not make an atom of a difference. There is only one Egbema. The people of Egbema 1 & 2 are self-same people, only divided politically by those who want to create a different identity for them. This division was created and fuelled by the federal government during and after the civil war because of the huge oil reserve in Egbema 2, now ceded to Rivers State . But historically, geographically, naturally or otherwise the people are the same, and they are Ibos to the core. If you went to Egbema, you did see members of the same family having houses or homes in both villages (Egbema I and Egbema II).
Now that Mr. Mike Okiro has been found out to be competent and qualified to occupy the IGP position, will he be confirmed as the substantive IGP when and if the federal government under the same Yar'Adua knows that Mike Okiro is core Ibo man. As for the Ibos, Mike Okiro is our brother and needs our full support. Let us unite in his support, and shame those who want to divide us at all cost. The time for that unity is now.
Engr. Steve Ochonma writes from Miami Florida, U.S.A. He is a civil engineer and a PHD student of Business Policy.
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