It is Against Ndigbo’s Strategic Interest for Dr. Eddy Oparaoji to Liken Umaru Yaradua with Islamist
Permit me a space in your widely read news medium to extend a public apology, on behalf of well meaning Nigerians and Ndigbo in particular, to Umaru Yaradua for being characterized as an Islamist by Dr. Eddy Oparaoji of Peoples Mandate Party (PMP).
This inflammatory statement by Dr.Eddy Oparaoji appeared on the December 19, 2006 Guardian Online edition where the interviewer sought opinions of Nigerians in diaspora due to the emergence of Umaru Yaradua as the PDP presidential candidate in 2007 general election.
In the interview, he basically stated that the choice of Umaru Yaradua who he characterized as an “Islamist” is against the strategic interest of Nigeria. He went on to argue that by selecting an Islamist, Nigeria risks being isolated internationally and that, such a choice portends a grave danger for Nigeria.
Ordinarily, one would expect an educated man like Dr.Eddy Oparaoji to follow the part of caution, just like every other Nigerian who spoke to the Guardian correspondent did. Even today, it is even unlikely that PDP will survive strong enough to win the election in question. And even if the young man becomes a formidable force against his opponents by next year, by then, Nigerians and the world at large would have had enough time to assess the motivations of Umaru Yaradua.
The weirdest thing about this Dr.Eddy Oparaoji’s statement is that there was no evidence at all to support this Islamist claim of his. The question we should all ponder upon is: are we now going to tag all Moslem Nigerians as Islamists/Jihadist and their Christian brothers and sisters as Crusaders? So, Eddy Oparaoji’s statement should be condemned by all, put in its rightful place, where it belongs, in the trash pan.
People who have worked with Dr.Eddy Oparaoji here in the USA know more than enough that he has always used character assassination as a political-tool against any person who holds divergent viewpoints to his. But, to begin to liken a man such as Umaru Yaradua with Islamist needs to be condemned, immediately. And because he is an Igboman, I could not wait to condemn this inflammatory statement of his, even more so. The strategic interest of Ndigbo in Nigeria is larger than any one man’s ambition. Igbo leaders should sit up and begin to act as not only Igbo leaders but Nigerian leaders which they are.
I believe that if Dr. Eddy Oparaoji ever consults with any commonsensical person over this matter, he would recognize that he could have still registered his dislike for the PDP’s choice of Umaru Yaradua without creating discord amongst our peoples. Such inflammatory utterances such as made against Umaru Yaradua is not acceptable of an Ndigbo leader nor any other Nigerian leader for that matter.
Therefore, if I have my way, I would have Dr. Eddy Oparaoji apologize to Umaru Yaradua and Nigerians as well as retract his unwise, inflammatory statement which has potential of damaging Ndigbo’s strategic working relationship with PDP regime under him.
Before I finish, let me state the following statements, in case it matters to the readers. This writer is not happy with the selective, most times deliberate and inconsistent ways by which Obasanjo’s economic reform was structured and managed, especially in the South-East and South-South. Also, I do not endorse Obasanjo’s politics of isolation and marginalization of groups, nationalities and individuals in the society who dare to have divergent viewpoints on issues than his. Most importantly, this public apology and condemnation of Dr. Oparaoji’s statement as presented here is not in any way an endorsement of Umaru Yaradua’s presidential ambition in 2007 elections. Nor is it a blanket endorsement of PDP candidates nor any parties candidates, for that matter.