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Why do most Igbos passionately dislike Buhari?

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Gbenga Elutidoye
Gbenga Elutidoye, Life is a ride on a ticking clock

The reason most Igbo dislike the person of Buhari is an upshot of so many grounds. It is an open bias one we can only shy away from in the holy name of tolerance. As a Nigerian from the Western part of the country I have received insults hurled at my tribe because we supported the candidacy of a President that has one of our sons as the Vice-President.

Our case just like that of Buhari is an ancient “wrong”. A prejudice and stereotyping that precedes recent events. The one sin we committed as a nation is fighting the civil war and the mistake we made either as a Nigerian or Biafran is not winning it. Because is it obvious the war wasn’t won, and it rages. How “no victor no vanquish” can delete memories of untold hardship and deaths is fragile.

The civil war was a leadership error, an ego contest by leaders, swift to war in the name of their people and their blood. I said once – whoever shot the first bullet killed the progress and unity of this nation. To most Igbo, Buhari personified the enemy – the one that killed their grandparents and parents. It insults their pride. The hatred is a civil revenge – the much accepted in a democracy. This is a man who served in the Civil war where millions of Igbo died – he was just a ready-made enemy. His history has condemned him. If Nigeria had “forgiven” the Igbos am sure most Igbos have not. It is hard to love when the elders that are supposed to forge the unity are the ones stoking the flames of violence. Writing legacy of discord. This generation of Igbo were unborn during the civil war or immediately after it – many of they don’t even understand how ruinous. It is Aburi accord, with many not knowing what its content is.

The last election in Nigeria is one of the most schismatic ever and no matter the degree of “a hero” people try to foist on Goodluck Jonathan he will forever in history be a divisive leader. One who supervise a schismatic campaign for a selfish motive. The campaign rhetoric was intentionally divisive. It exploits the religion fault line of the country. Strategically positioning himself as a Christian president moving from church to church desecrating God’s acre with political statements while our bought pastors watch in connivance. A personal and non-religious obligatory visit to Jerusalem turned to a photo session indirectly passing a message to the Christian denominated Igbo of his faith. Bringing his faith into affairs of state, subtly dividing the country when Boko Haram, an “Islamist” terrorist group was killing Christians in the North – well done. He made his Platonic association with the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) public to the extent of using a plane linked to the “man of God” to ferry money to South Africa. That was him making the Igbo believe their man, a man of their faith is the president. Most fell for it and own him immediately. A became more than just Igbo, he became to some a hero.

The Igbos who are enraged with the way Boko Haram was killing Christians in the North saw Goodluck Jonathan as a man on their side – of shared faith in the “we versus them” that the Boko Haram issue later turned to.

Islamophobia is prevalent in the South-eastern part of Nigeria so when a Muslim came into power dislodging a Christian is seems like Christ was crucified again but this time by the Fulanis. It is not just a Muslim, a Muslim that the Jonathan camp has labeled a Boko Haram sponsor and sympathizer. No way! This sentiment resonant with some Igbos who believe that as a Muslim Buhari is evil. Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign tried effortlessly to stigmatized Buhari as an extremist but what they don’t know is that it worked even though they lost the election – most Igbos already accepted their campaign of calumny.

Another reason most Igbo dislike Buhari is because of ethnicity. Goodluck Jonathan created another “we versus them” using the ethnic fault. Apart from the geographical location that accommodates Otuoke in the 1967 map of Biafra – there is nothing that connects Goodluck Jonathan with Igbo except votes. But in the name of politics he transformed himself to an Igbo to garner the support of the mighty Igbo since his Ijaw tribe isn’t one of the three major tribes in Nigeria. The first was the name Azikwe. Then is the politically correct (and deserving) appointments of Igbos into his government. This appointment serves it purpose which is to be seen as Igbo, no more a friend of the Igbos. Does anyone still remember Yoruba leaders being called “Vagabonds” in Ibadan? Or the “born throway” of Patience Jonathan? The Awolowo party ( a reference to APC) campaign in the east. Or how the relocation of Igbos in Lagos was spun with ethnic coloration when same happened in Imo or Abia? Do you remember the “Lagoon” and Oba of Lagos? How a Yorubaman (Jimi Agbaje) was adopted by the Igbos in Lagos for Governor because it is believed to be in an Igbo party – PDP? Do you remember how PDP in Lagos presented Igbos for assembly seats? Positioning the party as an Igbo party. When It is part of a grand plan to make the election look like the Igbos against the Hausas and us the Yorubas – “the betrayer” all again. It was the civil war all again. A democratic one that leaves us with a divided country. The hatred and division didn’t happen by chance it was planned to be so. Buhari is an APC member so when he won it was like the Igbo “lost” again – another January 1970. The outcome was planned smear the opponent and win the election.

Most Igbos don’t like Buhari because Goodluck Jonathan’s message to them was well digested but wasn’t enough to re-elect him. If Jonathan is any hero it will be a beer.

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