The usual practice in Nigeria is that when politicians fail to make a meaningful impact or succeed in National politics they resort to playing ethnic or regional politics as a way of making themselves relevant and popular, at least among their Kit and Kin. The roles of intellectuals who are the worse peddlers of tribalism, hate and ethic jingoism in Nigeria today cannot be over emphasized and has been the chief impediment militating against National Cohesion, Integration and Unity.
The culture of silence that has greeted the renewed protest and agitation by members of IPOB across the streets of the SouthEast and South-South states, by Igbo political and traditional leaders is a source of worry and calls for concerns. This goes on to expose the fact that there are very powerful, wealthy, traditional and political leaders that are jeering and encouraging the youths to continue to ground the economy of the SouthEast just for selfish desires. One would have expected the elected representatives of Ndigbo origin at the two chambers of National assembly and the traditional leaders to as a matter of urgency, return home and seek ways to calm their youths.
The fact that ndigbo Youths have been deliberately brainwashed and misled by their elders and intellectuals is reflected in their utterances and threats in the build-up to the general election and against the government of President Muhammadu Buhari. First it was the cries of marginalisation and exclusion as a result of what they termed “Northern-dominated appointments” even when it was clear that the SouthEast and South-South only gave about 2.8% votes to president Buhari at the last general election. Not even the fact that each of the southeast and South-South states have been represented in the cabinet of president Buhari, together with some other appointive positions has been able to quel the tension and hate against the administration of president Buhari and the APC. It is also evidenced in the words of Prof. Chinua Achebe, in his book, ‘there was a country’. Page 68 of the novel reads in part.
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“As many of us parked our belongings to return east, some of the people we lived with for years, Some for decades, jeered and said ‘Let them (Igbo) go; food will be cheaper in Lagos’ that kind of experience is very powerful. It is something I could not possibly forget... there were more and more reports of massacre, and not only in the North but also in the West and in Lagos. People were hounded out of their home as we were in Lagos, and returned to the East. We expected to hear something from the intellectuals, from our friends. Rather, what we heard was ‘oh, they had it coming to them’ or words to that effect..."
Obviously, prof. Achebe wrote with a bit of emotions in trying to narrate the ordeal of Ndigbo during the 'dark episode' but the misleading aspect of his narration is the deliberate failure to mention or identify the sacrifices of people like Wole Soyinka, who lost the wardrobes of their wives to disguising Igbo officers and men as women till they were safely moved to the East. Prof. Achebe did not also mention the supreme sacrifice of Col. Fajuyi, the Military Governor of the West and host of Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi, who was credited to have told the mutineers not to kill his guest or else kill him alongside in that counter-coup of July 29, 1966. I suppose there’s a lesion to be learn from such gallantry., But I am still surprised why prof. Achebe deliberately left these out in his book. Achebe’s submission suggest to readers that the Yoruba in the west and Lagos also participated in the killing of Igbos in their midst, which was not the case.
Contrary to widespread believe by Igbo youths (at least that’s what they were told by their elders) that Biafra war was as a genocide by the Northern-controlled Nigerian government against Ndigbo, the fact still remains that the war was majorly inspired by the ambition for power and a personality clash between both junior officers. Ojukwu, rightly or wrongly, given the circumstances of the period, could not comprehend recognizing Gowon as the supreme military commander, taking orders, as it were, from his own colleague of inferior training and military expertise. The prospect of becoming the Head of State of a new country, Biafra became tantalizingly irresistible. The tragedy of ambition of one man was responsible for the massacre of more than a million souls. Even though Achebe admitted that the crisis that eventually led to the Bafra war was a retaliation of the January 1966 coup which is generally regarded as an Igbo-coup, in which many top military officers of Northern origin were killed, the revolution that also claimed the lives of prominent Northern national leaders like Sir. Tafawa Balewa and Sir. Ahmadu Bello. According to prof. Achebe
“Superficially, it was understandable to conclude that this was, indeed, ‘an Igbo Coup'..."
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The fear-of-Igbo-domination theory however holds no water. It is true that the Igbo domination of the public service of the federation further fueled the suspicion and believe that the “Igbo-coup” was meant to acquire political power.
The recent spate of protests for the unconditional release of one Nnamdi Kanu of Radio Biafra, who is currently under the custody of the DSS would have been unnecessary if the elders and leaders of Ndigbo had told their youths the gospel truth. Once again Igbo youths have been cowed into believing that Nnamdi Kanu has been unjustly detained and victimized because of his struggle and agitation for secession. Indeed every nation’s right to clamor and agitate for self rule is protected by the United Nations UN, but such calls or agitation should not be done by declaring war on a sovereign nation. There are series of evidence to the fact that Nnamdi Kanu has continued to incite violence against the government and innocent Nigerians.
He (Nnamdi Kanu) is in video harassing innocent northern peasants living in Anambra state. He is on tape calling for the murder of Nigerian soldiers and he is on audio tape recruiting various terrorits and acclaimed manufacturers of laser weapons to use against Nigeria. He has for the murder of Igbo chiefs and southern leaders including chief Sylvester O. Dimunah, Rotimi Amaechi, Governor Obiano and many others. He is on tape supporting a so-called Igbo who promised to kill a random Hausa man in the east just to provoke chaos and violence.Igbo elders should educate their youths to stop these ignorant show of support for a man who is clearly a terrorist in all ramifications.The last time I checked,there is no country called Biafra(at least,not yet) so, the fact that Nnamdi Kanu still holds and travels with a green passport makes it incumbent on him to answer for his crimes against Nigeria and her people.
An intellectual call for self determination that would result in a referendum to truly determine whether Ndigbo wishes to have Biafra is in order, and a right of any ethnic nation, but can the Igbos really afford to split from the rest of Nigeria? Considering what is currently happening with the newest country in the world, South Sudan, which have been enmeshed in crisis and internal war since its independence. The people of southern Sudan and the rest of the world celebrated the independence and self determination of the small north African country because everyone thought that would bring a permanent end to their problems, but their independence only created more problems.
Rather than continue to aggitate and clamour for Biafra, ndigbo should rather seek to sit in a round table with the rest of Nigeria to renegotiate their existence and place in the Nigerian comity of ethnic nationalities. War is not picnic, it should be avoided at all cost. There are more Igbos in northern Nigeria doing their legitimate businesses than there are northerners in the southeast. In fact for everyone northerner in Igbo land there are almost a thousand Ndigbo in the north, this means that Igbos will be more at risk if there is crisis. hence, the need for caution. A man does not throw stones into a market when his mother is therein...
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