Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Former Nigerian Leader's Son Fight Over Mother's Plan to Go Into Politics

Zik’s sons fight over mother’s plan to go into politics

Controversy Published Date STAN OKEKE, Enugu
Nigerian National Accord

“I’m interested in politics”, Prof. (Mrs.) Uche Azikiwe, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s widow, had told NATIONAL ACCORD WEEKEND in an exclusive interview recently. “If I’m allowed to choose, I will start from the local government as chair person, where it will impact positively on members of the society, and not jump-starting. I believe that the best way to climb the ladder of of politics, is from the last rung of the ladder, and then you move up. I’m putting it in prayers. YES! I will swim in the political waters when the time is ripe”, she had said.

That secret ambition so openly expressed by the erudite professor, has now formed the point of disagreement between her otherwise two agreeable sons, Uwakwe Azikiwe, 35, and his elder brother, Molokwu, 36.

While Uwakwe is against their mother seeking an elective post, Molokwu does not see anything wrong with that. “I will always tell her not to go into politics”, Uwakwe says in answer to a question on the issue. “I don’t think she can survive the terrain, because the way politics is played now, you really have to be a “yes-man” or else you can’t really survive. She can’t be a yes person. She’s accomplished in her field, so you can’t come and tell her she has to do this and she knows that it is wrong. I don’t think that she will do that”, Uwakwe continued.

On Molokwu’s part, it was a different ball game. “If she decides to go into politics, after due considerations, she has my support”,Molokwu insists. “If she makes up her mind that’s what she wants to do, welland fine, but of course, I will give her my honest and total opinion, and after listening to my opinion, and she still feels like going for it, she has my 100% support”.

Does this mild disagreement mean that there’s war in in the house of the great Zik of Africa? NO! Just two brothers looking at the same issue from different perspectives. Uwakwe is obviously a chip off the old block. The last son of the political icon and Nigeria’s first president, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Uwakwe believes completely in his opinion on issues, and goes ahead to proffer superior argument to back up his beliefs.

But Molokwu, his elder brother, is on the quiet side. He believes strongly in what his father told him about venturing into politics, hence he looks at his stand on politics, philosophically. Though they seem to disagree as to whether their mother should go into the murky terrain of Nigerian politics or not, in truth, both of them agree that it is not time for their mother to venture into politics.

“Presently, I’m not encouraged by the political situation even as it seems that our votes now count. However, there are still some more work to be done, so as to get it right”, Uwakwe began. “Generally speaking, people do not go into public office, thinking about service but about selfish and personal interests”.

Molokwu agrees! “I think that the current political terrain is not actually what it ought to be. Politics in Nigeria is that of brute strength and money. If you don’t have both or one of them, things might be very difficult for you”.

Interestingly, their mother, Uche, shares same views with her sons. “ What bothers me is the way politics is played in Nigeria, it’s very different from when mylate husband was in politics. Like these killings, it scares me. If you disagree with me, why don’t you try to convince me? Prove to me that your line of thought is better than mine and if you convince me, I’ll try and follow you. So, when I tried to discuss it with my sons, they said, ‘Mumsie, see how they are killing people’.

Surprisingly, while Uwakwe does not want her mother to go into politics, at least just yet, he says he’s very much interested. “I’m interested”, he confesses. “Like I said, the blood flows in me. At times, I doubt myself, but at other times, when I stay in my room reading an article in a newspaper, I find myself responding to that article. After a while, I look in the mirror and I say, aha, that’s a politician o.

“I know it flows in me, but I still want to accomplish a lot in my career and after that, depending on the terrain, I really want to take my time to check out the terrain before I go into politics. Like I always tell people, the candle is inside me. Am just waiting for the candle to be lit. When that happens, I tell you, I know I will be there”.

Molokwu on his part says, “Nigerians themselves sometimes say that leadership and followership go hand in hand, you get the kind of leadership you want. I’m sure that if the people want a change in Nigeria, they have to cause the change. At the stage we are right now, change cannot just happen”.

Continuing, their mother said that she’s very much interested in politics, except for the fact that the terrain is terrible. “I don’t want to die. In my husband’s days, people respect views. But now, what do we respect? People and their purse”.

On this point, Molokwu agrees with his mother. “I think there’s not been much improvement from what we had in the 60s and the First Republic. Politics in Nigeria is no longer politics of issues, it’s been turned into politics of people, money, and brute strength”.

“One thing I always remember my father told me was, “if you want to dabble into politics, or want to be a public figure, you have to be accomplished in your private life first”, Uwakwe reveals. “In playing politics, you don’t have to sell your soul, or be a yes-man”.

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