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The jury is still out on whether there is anything now that is close to being labeled as an Igbo agenda. If agenda connotes a cohesive package of ideas and stratagems for their implementation, it becomes easier to appreciate the fact that Ndiigbo, as a people, may actually be groping in the dark. If there is an Igbo agenda, what are its cardinal principles and who is its custodian? Some often consider the lack of unity as the greatest inhibitor of Igbo progress. Unity, in this instance, is seen as an article of faith; something that should be inculcated and internalized by all before anything positive can happen to Ndiigbo. Why then haven’t we achieved unity of purpose amongst Ndiigbo since the Civil War ended? Many individuals and groups have repeatedly called for Igbo unity. Recently, a political party, APGA, was formed with the goal of using its platform to provide a united political front for Ndiigbo. This Igbo-dominated party was unable to make substantial inroad into the electorate and political elite of the Southeast who are still firmly rooted in the ruling PDP. What else needs to be done now to bring about the elusive unity of purpose amongst the Igbo elite?

The reality is that Ndiigbo have a variety of interest groups which have competing concepts of what it would take to articulate and adequately represent the cause of the average Igbo in today’s world. There have been intense debates in various caucuses and forums focused on which of the competing concepts is ideal for the situation in which Ndiigbo find themselves today. Understandably, such debates are laden with emotion to the extent that bad blood has been generated between protagonists of competing and often conflicting viewpoints on how best to advance the Igbo cause. It is particularly distressing that core Igbo intellectual and political elite are at each other’s throat, often deploying hateful rhetoric and tactics, which further polarize crucial elements in this vital resource pool for Ndiigbo. It is clear for all to see that the main reason for acrimony amongst the Igbo elite is the lack of a common belief in a set of ideas that can foster the Igbo cause. Some groups define their goals and operational style with sole aim of distinguishing themselves from the pack even if that entails functioning at the very fringe of Igbo mainstream. Others are rudderless and tend to drift along wherever the current takes them.

Who then needs the Igbo agenda? Everyone does, depending on what it entails. Deriving an Igbo agenda, which the average Igbo would identify with, can actually be a veritable process for bringing a sense of unity into Alaigbo. The Igbo agenda that could captivate the imagination of the average Igbo must be a package that is clear and simple to internalize at the fundamental level of Igbo society. Components of that agenda must be seen to frontally address key issues that affect the daily survival needs and sense of self-esteem of the average Igbo. Those spearheading the effort to derive this new agenda package must closely observe and listen to preferences and inclinations of the average Igbo and utilize their findings as cue for arriving at correct conclusions. Ndiigbo are literarily flung far and wide through the length and breadth of Nigeria and beyond. Furthermore, Ndiigbo have been the third leg of the geopolitical tripod of the Nigerian polity since colonial times. Restoration of regional solidarity in the sphere of Igbo influence in Nigeria is a critical ingredient in stabilizing the country as a whole. An agenda package that shall resonate harmoniously with overwhelming majority of Ndiigbo must take these facts into consideration.

Until recently, the Igbo intellectual and political elite had looked up to the Ohanaeze Ndiigbo as the point of convergence for various interest groups in Alaigbo. The mishaps of last general elections have resulted in the challenge of the supremacy of the Ohanaeze in shepherding the interests of Ndiigbo within the context of contemporary Nigeria. It is unlikely that the halcyon days of Ohanaeze preeminence shall ever return. To prevent imminent collapse of central cohesion in conduct of Igbo affairs, commonsense demands that a middle-of-the-road consensus agenda package must be put in place as soon as possible to act as the common reference point for everyone. Igbo unity has not been actualized, so far, through creation of apex umbrella organizations, both at home and the Diaspora. Idiosyncrasy of the average Igbo makes it unlikely that various competing interest groups shall soon agree to coalesce their efforts behind any given personality or group. The viable option that remains is to orchestrate a meeting of minds of various groups through derivation of a consensus agenda that can streamline the pursuits of the Igbo elite as well as restore the confidence of the average Igbo in his ability to thrive and prosper in dignity in today’s world.


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