" /> (Profile) Joe Igbokwe: What manner of a crusader? | Hallmarknews
Published On: Sat, Oct 28th, 2017

(Profile) Joe Igbokwe: What manner of a crusader?

By OBINNA EZUGWU

On Joe Igbokwe’s Facebook wall are several articles promoting and defending President Muhammadu Buhari, and at the same time, lashing out at those opposed to the president. His latest is a diatribe against Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) National Publicity Secretary who he described as “low, timid and crude.”

In another, he insists that his party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) must do all it takes to win the upcoming governorship election in his home state, Anambra.

As the Publicity Secretary of Lagos APC, Igbokwe punches beyond his weight. His tirades resonate across the nation, and he has been at it for a relatively long time.

It was 2013 and the then governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola had dumped hundreds of Igbo ‘destitute’ at Onitsha head-bridge in Anambra State. It was an act that triggered a series of angry backlash from the Igbo community at home and in the Diaspora. On social media, the Igbo and the Yoruba were at each other.

At the thick of the controversy, two Igbo sons: Dr Chris Ngige, then senator representing Anambra Central zone and Mr Igbokwe who doubled as General Manager of the Lagos State Infrastructure & Regulatory Agency (LASIMRA), and publicity secretary of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) came out in defence of Fashola, insisting that his action was justified. Both men were strong members of then ACN. The former had been elected senator on its platform, the later was appointed by the ACN government in 2006.

In a well circulated article, Igbokwe said there was no way Lagos government would accept influx of beggars from all over the country, and that for those deported, it was for their own good.

“Most of these people picked up are mentally retarded, terribly abused, sexually dehumanized, hungry, weak, and memory lost. What Lagos does is to pick them up and take them to rehabilitation centres,” he wrote.

“Some of them after recovery may decide to engage themselves by joining skill acquisition centres we have all over Lagos, some may decide to join their kits and kin in their States of origin. After interrogations and investigations those willing to go are taken to a central place close to their towns to find their way.”

But on the contrary, most of those affected said they were forcefully picked up and deported against their will. As expected, both men attracted anger and commendation, depending on which side of the divide one was in the argument.

Fashola would eventually put the matter to rest by apologising, but it had telling impacts on the political lives of both individuals. Ngige’s position contributed greatly in costing him his senatorial seat in 2015…he had been a popular political figure prior, beating the late Prof Dora Akunyili to the Senate in 2011, but his fortunes dwindled rapidly after his remarks on the deportation.

For Igbokwe, it helped to shoot him up to national limelight, and to cement the part he has chosen…the part of a crusader, a campaigner for whatever he believes is in his interest. And when such interest collided with that of his Igbo ethnic group, he never hesitated to protect the former, and berate the latter.

He has established himself largely as anti Igbo, or simply anti any interest that does not promote his own political or personal interest. He has not looked back, and fortune, it must be said, has smiled on him.

As a crusader, it is hard to pin Igbokwe down to any particular beliefs or principles. His, it seems, changes with new realities. He had started his life as an activist in the 90s first by highlighting the marginalisation his Igbo ethnic group suffered in Nigeria, which according to him, had continued since the end of the civil war in 1970. And second by aligning with the famous NADECO movement formed in the aftermath of the June 12 debacle.

He spoke out loudly and vigorously campaigned against that unfortunate cancellation of 1993 election. He stood firmly against political injustice, and was all for the restoration of MKO Abiola’s mandate. The prevailing political opinion within the NADECO rank at the time was restructuring and true federalism. Igbokwe was all for it and spoke for it with as much vigour as he demanded that Abiola be allowed to govern.

In 1995, he wrote his first book, titled “Igbos: 25 Years After Biafra,” a book described as being “of mediocre quality” and its analysis as “a wash,” by seasoned writer and lecturer, Obi Nwakama. But Nwakama admits that the book did its job of putting across the message he intended to pass… the message of Igbo marginalisation. The book must have done well financially too, for Igbokwe said he became a millionaire after its launch.

NADECO birthed the Pro Democracy movement which later metamorphosed into the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and Igbokwe was part of it all. He was discovered by the new sheriff of South West politics, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and it has been a rollercoaster ride.

In 2006, Tinubu made him pioneer General Manager of LASIMRA. That same year, he became the Publicity Secretary of Lagos Action Congress. A job he has kept even as the party changed to Action Congress of Nigeria and now All Progressive Congress (APC). Having spent over 10 years at LASIMRA, in 2015, the new Lagos governor, Akinwumi Ambode moved him to Wharf Landing Fees Collecting Authority Apapa where he now serves as chairman.

But Igbokwe is rarely known for his job at Apapa. He largely made his name as publicity secretary who speaks what he believes to be the mind of his employers. He has been very successful at it, and according to him, it has “opened the doors of the rich and poor… opened the inner ways, byways, subways, expressways and highways to the corridors of power in Nigeria.”

With his success, he admits, came new beliefs. He began to see the world differently. Whilst not much has changed with regards to the marginalisation of the Igbo in Nigeria, which was the subject of his book in 1995, Igbokwe no longer thinks it is necessary to talk about it. He has made his money, he is comfortable and as far as he is concerned perhaps, the marginalisation of the Igbo is no longer a big deal.

“He no longer believes Igbo marginalisation is an issue because of what he has gained from Lagos which the Igbo could not offer him,” notes Chidibere Anthony, an Abuja based legal practitioner. “He is indirectly seeking national relevance through the aforementioned propaganda.”

Igbokwe stood for political justice during his budding years in the 90s. He stood for equity, equality and importantly, he stood for true federalism. But today, he writes long articles to justify the marginalisation of the Igbo by Buhari because according to him, those who didn’t vote for the president deserves no justice, no equity and no equality. The talk of restructuring, for him, may also have largely become the talk of opposition.

“He is a person who has sold his conscience and personality for a morsel of porridge,” says Lagos based lawyer and analyst, Mr Ikechukwu Ikeji. “He speaks for his stomach.”

One cannot help but notice the contradictions in Igbokwe’s character. While the Buhari administration has relentlessly worked to undermine Tinubu, his boss, he does not seem to care either out of sheer ignorance of the prevailing political atmosphere, or he is angling for a new boss in Buhari.

It is common knowledge that Tinubu has been shut out of the government he worked so hard to enthrone. While the former governor’s boys in the media have largely turned against the president whose administration many say, has fallen short of expectations, Igbokwe sees no evil and hears no evil. For him the only truth is what Buhari’s spokesmen put out as ‘statements’.  If a scandal is unraveled, he insists that everyone must wait for the “official” position of government for therein exists the only truth.

“Igbokwe is not a character that should be taken seriously,” argues Bar Okey Ilofulunwa, former secretary-general, Igbo think tank group, Aka Ikenga. “He doesn’t have enough grasp of issues.”

About the Igbo nonetheless, he still accepts somewhat that they are still marginalised. In a recent interview with online medium, Sahara Reporters, he said: “Yes, Igbo have been marginalized in Nigeria since the end of the Civil War in 1970. It is a deliberate, systemic, and strategic marginalization.”

But it no longer pays him to make the marginalisation an issue. For it seems the only crusade worth his while is one that will directly or indirectly improve his income.

 

 

 

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Recent posts

  • PDP in fresh crisis over chairmanship zoning, threatens 2019

    By Obinna Ezugwu The December 9 Convention of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) will be the most critical in its history; it is a convention that would, to a large extent, determine its fate and course for action ahead of the much awaited February 2019 general election and may also determine its chances of returning […]

  • Why South East should ignore President Buhari

    By UCHE CHRIS   President Buhari’s last week visit to the south east on APC campaign for Anambra governorship poll and his promise to give more appointments to the region is a clear and abundant proof that he is either a bad politician or he takes the Igbo for a fool. It is sad and […]

  • GTBank doubles stock value as investors go bullish

    By OKEY ONYENWEAKU GT Bank’s share price has doubled in the last one year, leading investors to grin satisfactorily as there gambit on the stock seems to have panned out. The stock’s price has risen from N24.00 in January 2017 to N43.00 as at November 17, 2017, creating a capital gains opportunity of 79.2 per […]

  • Moody’s rating exposes poor state of banks

      .           Experts predict more recapitalization next year FELIX OLOYEDE Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in the country have been caught in the web of liquidity squeeze, capital adequacy challenge and the encumbrance of raising fresh funds  as Moody’s Investors Service (Moody’s) downgraded their long-term local currency deposit and issuer ratings. The credit rating agency lowered […]

  • Brain drain: Doctors, nurses’ exodus cripples Nigeria’s health sector

    By AYOOLA OLAOLUWA The mass emigration of health care professionals, especially doctors, pharmacists and nurses, is on the verge of crippling the nation’s health sector, Business Hallmark findings have revealed. Though, the mass exodus of these skilled health workers abroad for greener pasture has been on unabated over the years, it has now reached an […]

  • S&P rates UBA highly, affirms ‘B/B’ credit ratings

    FELIX OLOYEDE S&P Global Ratings has given United Bank for Africa (UBA) a B/B rating based on the rating agency’s interpretation of UBA’s competitive strength in the Nigerian banking market. The agency’s latest report released on Friday showed that the bank has benefited from a strong brand franchise in the corporate and retail segments of […]

  •  Nigeria: The disquieting nuisance of elitism

    By TESLIM SHITA-BEY   At the heart of Nigeria’s social and economic dysfunction is not just the usual suspects of tribe and religion but also, and quite disturbingly, the self-preening and self-adulation of Nigeria’s elite. The failure of the educated leaders of the country to bring about a collective sense of nationhood and build a […]

  • (Across the counter) University of Ibadan banking services waiting for relief

    Banks within university environment usually have a large turnout of customers. It wasn’t any different when our across the counter team visited some banks within the University of Ibadan environment to review the quality of service being rendered. Our criteria included bank professionalism, customer care efficiency, security consciousness, corporate environment and ATM efficiency. Here is […]

  • Time is ripe for rates cut, says Rewane as inflation slows further in Oct.

    FELIX OLOYEDE This is the appropriate time for the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to cut benchmark monetary rates after inflation rate slows down for the ninth consecutive time in October, said Mr Bismarck Rewane, Managing Director, Financial Derivatives. The National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday released Consumer Price […]

  • ELAN National Lease Conference Focuses on Revamping Nigerian Economy

    FELIX OLOYEDE In furtherance of its objective of promoting the business of leasing in Nigeria, Equipment Leasing Association of Nigeria (ELAN) has concluded plans to organise the 15th Annual National Lease Conference with focus on revamping the Nigerian economy. The conference which is the biggest gathering of stakeholders in the leasing industry is expected to […]

  • Nigeria-centric restaurant, Labule, opens new outlet in Lagos

    Labule, Nigeria-centric restaurant, operated by an indigenous company, Roots Foods Limited, offering real Nigerian local delicacies in a unique environment that combines the setting of a modern quick service restaurant with that of an African setting of a local ‘buka’, has opened a new outlet on Admiralty Road in Lekki Phase 1, Lagos. The brand […]

  • Nigerian banks shine in Ghana

    By JOHNMARK UKOKO Nigerian banks have been credited with “revolutionizing “the banking sector in Ghana, due to the many innovations they brought to Ghana’s banking sector. The Ghana Deputy Minister of Trade and Investment Hon. Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah said in Lagos that the innovation and transformation of the Ghana’s banking sector is credited to the […]

  • Ajimobi moves to save Oyo APC from disintegration

    By OLUSESAN LAOYE The seeming crisis in Oyo APC has now forced the Governor of the state, Abiola Ajimobi, to begin consultations with stakeholders to convinced members on why they must come together as a body to face the 2019 general elections, Although the internal crisis is yet to break open as the aggrieved party […]

  • YolaDisCo sale stalled as no potential buyers emerge

    By ADEBAYO OBAJEMU Two years after the core investors of the Yola Electricity Distribution Company, YolaDisCo, declared a force majeure owing to their inability to operate under the reign of terror unleased by Boko Haram, the Federal Government is yet to find any investor interested in operating the utility company, it has been learnt. In […]

  • Company Analysis: Much Ado about Seplat

      By TESLIM SHITA-BEY The oil and gas sector has had a bumpy since the beginning of 2017 with local oil major, Seplat, seeing its financials whipped raw by prior year liabilities despite rising revenues over the nine months (9M). The company in the last two years has moved from being distinctively bad to singularly […]

  • How to start a photography business

    By ZUBAIR DANIE While photography could be accounted for as a full blown course in any offering institution of learning for professionalism, the field equally provides a platform for individuals whose passion it is to project images as a form of livelihood. The socio-cultural aspect of Nigerians that play host of events like: wedding, naming, […]


Visit us on Google+