I am not sure which one among Nigeria’s traditional dances Governor Rochas Kanayo Okorocha is doing in APC (All Progressives Congress), but this homeboy of his sure likes his dance steps. If the APC is serious about contending for power nationally, then I suspect the party is digging Okorocha’s dance steps as well, and below are the reasons why.
The Nigerian project is historically hoisted on a three-region tripod, anchored on the three major ethnic confederate states. For any political party in Nigeria to be taken seriously on a national scale and to bid for control of the federal government with any degree of credibility, the party must show the presence of consequential leaders and enthusiasts from the three regions in its rank and file. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the Field Marshal of the APC knows this all too well, hence his desire to risk control by reaching out from his ACN base to the other parties that came together to form the APC.
With the defunct CPC and ANPP providing heavies from the Arewa confederacy, and the ACN delivering heavies from the Oduduwa confederacy, the APC needed heavies from the Oha confederacy for it to be credible in terms of the all-important bid for presidential powers. As it is now, the APC has two sitting Governors from the Oha confederacy in its ranks – one identifies himself as Igbo and his name is Okorocha, while the other is still playing coy about his Igbo identity, his Igbo first and surnames notwithstanding. The party also has a former governor from the Oha confederacy in the person of the highly principled and refined gentleman, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, as well as the consequential Senator Nwabueze Ngige.
The highest stage in any party on which to do the most consequential dance is in the run to be the presidential nominee of the party. With President Olusegun Obasanjo’s eight years in office, the Oduduwa confederacy generally accepts that it would not be fair to have another Yoruba as president in 2015, hence the absence of Yoruba presidential candidates in the APC. Our Arewa brethren mince no words about the urgency of one of them returning to the presidency and they have four formidable candidates in the race – General Buhari, Vice President Atiku, Governor Kwankwaso, and Publisher Sam Nda Isaiah. And then there is the young leopard from the Oha confederacy, Governor Rochas Okorocha whose entry in the race is as important as it is delightfully symbolic for both the Igbo and the APC.
As a fellow member of the Oha commonwealth, I am proud of what Okorocha’s presence in the APC presidential lottery says about our people’s resolve to remain central rather than marginal or beggarly in the play for national leadership. Whatever one thinks of his style, his record in Imo, and his vision for Nigeria, it is important, as well as a great service to Oha that the young man has stepped up to lay claim to the presidency in our name. Whether he succeeds in this instance is secondary.
And for the APC, it can only serve the party’s national image and character well that it has a governor from the Oha leg of the Nigerian tripod staying visible and relevant to the party’s most important activity – choosing a presidential flag bearer. The incumbent Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, is from the Oha confederacy and he is not coy about it, but he is not in APC. His fellow confederate, Okorocha, is no threat to him yet until he (Okorocha) secures the APC nomination.
So in this narrowly defined instance, I say dance brother Rochas, dance, until the break of dawn!