Bruno Steven’s Akudeh is a German citizen of Nigerian descent. He still has his roots in Nigeria where he actually returned to, completed secondary school education and attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka for a degree in Banking/Finance. He moved to Germany and, after specialist training, engaged in interior wood works. He is now into design/construction of kitchen systems and cabinetry, running an Osapa London, Lekki, Lagos-based company. He has had a stint in borough politics in his International City of Ulm, Baden-wurttemberg, where he was a councillor 2010 – 2015. He is an active member of the Igbo community in Germany and was present in Nurnberg on Saturday, August 17, 2019 and witnessed the encounter Senator Ike Ekweremadu had with Nigerian protesters.
In this first of a two-part series, Akudeh speaks to Ig Nwangwu on the events of that day in Nurnberg as well as the circumstances of it all.
As a resident in Germany, you must have got more details than we have on the circumstances of the incident involving Senator Ike Ekweremadu and fellow Nigerians in Nurnberg last weekend. Could you share with us, Sir?
Yes, l was. There is some history to it, though. Since 2009, the lgbo community in Germany has been averse to inviting Nigerian politicians to its events.As part of the think-tank to organise the first Igbo Economic Conference in Berlin in 2009, l was to invite politicians like (Dr Chris) Ngige, late Dr (Dozie) Ikedife,Rear Admirals Ndubisi Kanu and Allison Madueke,Aka Ikenga members etc. l soongot stranded in Lagos, hamstrung by arguments amongst community members in Berlin on whether to invite politicians or not. We had to call off the event. In fact, l was accused of being paid by the politicians to set up the event in Germany for political campaign purposes. Anyways, it was not different this time around in 2019. Being part of the city of Ulm delegation in the organising committee of the Nurnberg event, I reported the progress of the preparations, after each committee meeting, to the Ulm community. When the invitation of politicians came up, the Ulm community kicked against it, as usual. They were not happy about these politicians coming here; especially so when the Igbo Community had to pay the politicians’ bills on air fare, accommodation and the like. However, the organising committee went ahead to invite them.In fact, l was the one that made the award souvenirs for the fivegovernors, Bianca Ojukwu,Innocent Chukwuma,John Nwodo etc for the occasion. It happened that Nnamdi Kanu came to Germany a few weeks before the event took place. He made some remarks concerning the coming of the politicians, saying they were going to be messed up if they ever ventured to come andthat they should stay backin their Nigeria and so on. Nobody took the statement seriously, particularly against the backdrop of the obvious divide here regarding IPOB and,so, Ndigbo Germany didn’t take the necessary precautions.
Was that what played out on that day?
Yes, indeed.On that day, August 17,all roads led to Nurnberg from all over Europe. It was a spectacular scenario as different lgbo groups arrived Nurnberg decked out inan assortment of the unique IgboIsi-Aguattire, dance groups and accompanying with the attendant frolic andpomp. They were duly heralded and ushered to seats in designated group positions. In spite of rumours of demonstration,Ekweremaduwas assured that the situation was calm when he got wind of the impending attack. When he arrival and was about stepping up to the entrance when he was suddenly accosted by some people who shouted andabused him. They specifically referred to killings by the Fulani, Operation Python Dance over which they said he did nothing. They pelted him with eggs and tomatoes as the ushers tried to calm them down. He tried to assuage them, saying he would discuss all that insideas brothers. As all this was happening, more and more people joined and the secretary of Ndigbo Germany who tried to take him inside was pushed away at which point the senator tried to run into the hall. He was pulled back and his cloth torn as he was bundled back into his car which sped off. All this happened within few minutes as it was all over before the people inside the hall could come out.Those involved started chanting and saying they were happy about the incident and started flying IPOB flags, vowing to make Europe uncomfortable for them. The whole event was messed up as a result of the incidentsince almost half of the attendees were outside discussing the incident and probable outcomes. Some even said it served him right while others said they wished if was (Ohanaeze president, John Nnia) Nwodo. Stories abound.
As a sojourner abroad who still has links, even roots in Nigeria, what would be your assessment of elected and appointed south east zone political office holders in the drive for the development of the zone?
The wheel has been invented so we don’t need to create or invent the wheel again. All we need to do is to copy and paste, adjusting where necessary to suite our peculiar circumstances. The electing and appointing process has a faulty foundation and, as such can’t deliver the required team of leaders that will develop the region. Despite all the information available on urban and regional planning, infrastructure building and economic opportunitiesto create wealth, our “selected” office holders can’t deliver a 21st century modern state. They can’t, simply because the shackles of primitive thought pattern inherited from their political environment won’t allow them to brainstorm their ways to modern state development. Pressures of cronyism, godfatherism and family, greed, name it, all combine to blind them to the new reality. You see, democracy is a system of electing leaders based on majority count. Political parties are supposed to offer the people different philosophies and ideologies as regards ways and means to attend nationhood. The people, in turn, will now choose according to their convictions and, in the process, try to get their chosen members to leadership positions through the electoral process for the delivery of service to the nation, guided by their commitment to the course and the needs of the electorate that voted them in. Ordinarily this is an exciting competition, just like Arsenal competing against Chelsea to win a match. Political parties are supposed to take us to that El Dorado using their ideologies as guides. But how can Nigerian politicians do this when they don’t have such ideologies?Winning an election in Nigeria depends on other factors, except ideology. l mentioned their reliance on cronyism and godfatherism earlier and these politicians lack real political foundations. This SEZ political office holders are a product of such warped system and, as such, can’t perform miracles. They can only do what they can, given our unfortunate circumstances. That’s why we are in this living hell in a 21st century era,even with all the resources available to us.It can’t continue like this; never! For instance, developing a place startswith data and statistical collation of information required to inform decision-making processes. We know wealth creation is the key so tell me why that is so impossible to achieve. You can create more than 30million jobs just by getting the service industry organised. That is not even to talk about the production industry. The capital expenditures needed to get infrastructural projects going will create millions of jobs.lmagine concentrating on getting the underground drainage system right with the attendant piping of water, gas, fibre optics, electric cables etc.Can you fathom how many people will be employed? Talking about agriculture and others is a waste of time but what l want to point out here is that our political leaders can’t have the single mindedness to achieve such feat because their attention is elsewhere. I can go on and on because there are over a million instances about their incompetence. But like l said before, the foundation is wrong.Besides, what do you expect when they spend 10s of millions to get to the position? They, therefore, engage in bogus projects the cost of which they inflate to recoup their expenses; this without regard to the relevance of the projects or the state’s or country’s priority of needs. We need to wake up!
“Nnamdi Kanu came to Germany a few weeks before the event took place. He made some remarks concerning the coming of the politicians, saying they were going to be messed up if they ever ventured to come and that they should stay back in their Nigeria.”