Till now, it is not clear if the Afenifere gang realised the criminal import of the notice they served on northern Nigerians (specifically, Fulani) to quit South-West and return home. To worsen the situation, Afenifere then threatened that, if the notice was not complied with, Fulani in South-West would be confronted by their host.
The first implication of Afenifere’s unprovoked threat was that the group spoke on behalf of southwesterners, the clear target in any possible blowback.
Yes, in a complex country like Nigeria, intermittent friction among the various groups may be inevitable. But such must not be allowed to be selfishly exploited, without mandate or authority, to the extent of committing a component section to a suicidal venture. We passed through this road before and would not allow a repeat of a very unpalatable experience.
This is 2019 and not 1966 when nobody spoke for caution and retrospect in South-West. In any case, southwesterners who fought in the civil war, today, in their sober moments, are no longer enthusiastic about their past. Todays’ young southwesterners might not have adequate grasp of the mutual bloody conflict but the older generation who either participated or ordinarily lived through that period are not endorsing (this) Afenifere’s war drum beats.
There was the convenient excuse in 1966 that Western Region (today’s South-West zone) could not resist the civil war without the necessary commensurate strength of its ethnic group in the army. The question southwesterners must pose for the Afenifere gang is simple: If Western Region had no fighting force in 1966, does such fighting force exist today for South-West zone to provoke a civil war or to exclusively defend South-West zone against social/political violence, an inevitable fall-out of Afenifere’s recklessness? Even if such a fighting force exists, South-West must not fight Afenifere’s war or other people’s war. Despite the tension and anxiety over the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election, stakeholders throughout employed war of attrition to redress the injustice.
If such war of attrition could eventually win for Bashorun MKO Abiola the political and electoral honours hitherto denied him by the cancellation of his victory, it would be unreasonable of Afenifere to be preaching potential electoral violence. These people lost political relevance and sources of filthy patronage, since when they have been stranded and exaggerating the remotest controversy.
Is Afenifere really dragging South-West and indeed Nigeria to a war? Consider the following alarming natural sequence of events. If unchallenged, Afenifere would drive northern Nigerians out of South-West. Ignore the farce that Afenifere specified only Fulani to leave South-West, failing which Afenifere threatened to confront them. To start with, Afenifere’s paper wish is a violation of the fundamental human rights of maliciously specified group of our fellow citizens, since all Nigerians have the right under the Constitution to reside and earn legitimate living in any part of the country. In any dislocation of Fulani back to their part of Nigeria, how would Afenifere, in their threatened confrontation against Fulani, distinguish between this ethnic group and other northerners like Hausa, Kanuri, Fulfude, Gwari and others fully settled in South-West?
In any stampede certain to ensure, all northerners would panic and be taunted by Afenifere gang? How peaceful and safe would be the journey of survival of northerners from South-West? Worse still, what would be the atmosphere in an environment in which northerners back home would be welcoming their frightened, worn-out and dejected people back home?
Southwesterners anywhere in the North at that time would be lucky to be driven out equally from the North back to the South. Extremists only need to spark and the whole place would be on fire. Who would, in that very hostile atmosphere, distinguish between southwesterners and non-southwesterners in the mass killings? Hold it for more disastrous potential. Remaining non-indigenes in South-West, who would be southeasterners and south-southerners, would be rendered unsafe and touted to leave South-West like northerners and return to their part of the country. A situation of anarchy created by Afenifere?
Eventually, in the midst of that uncertainty, alliances would emerge and, no less legitimately, South-East/South-South would take sides with the North against South-West, which similarly took sides with the North in 1966 against South-East. These are certainties of natural human reaction.
Aso Rock is not even being fair in its near silence on Afenifere’s threatening behaviour. For this, absence of federal cabinet is not an excuse. Last time, the cabinet had been dissolved. Yet the same Aso Rock proved too hard for Northern Elders’ Forum’s Ango Abdulahi to knock his head in calling on Fulani in other parts of Nigeria to return to the North. After asserting itself as the sole guarantor of the safety of life and property of all Nigerians in any part of the country, Ango Abdulahi immediately explained that he made it clear that Fulani should return to the North ONLY if they felt unsafe in the South. That was even mild. If MASSOB, IPOB or Ohanaeze had demanded Fulani to leave South-East or in the alternative threatened to confront Fulani, Nigeria’s secret police would have been out charging. Yet, so far, the Afenifere culprits are unquestioned.
Political disagreements there are and will always be. No country anywhere in the world is immune. But bloody civil strife? Never, never and never again. The same protagonists of war always exploit crisis as harvest for their status as emergency arms suppliers. Dangerous elements. You need to serve in government to appreciate the duplicitous nature and split personalities of these fellows. Double agents.
Fifty years ago, South-West was dragged into civil war for selfish enhancement of political aspirations. At the end, South-West had nothing to show for it. Today, the same elements are back somewhat clandestinely for a repeat performance. Desperate politicians only out to recoup their economic, political, material and national status deficit. We must resist them.
For purposes of record and history, southwesterners must speak out and call the bluff of these fellows, and stand firm against being dragged into any war.
Return of the thriller
World thriller, English soccer, takes off tonight to hold enthusiasts spell-bound for the next nine months. As usual, the 2019-2020 season promises to be more competitive, not the least because defending Premier League champions, Manchester City, are aiming at the cup for the third time in succession, a rare feat in the competition.
Equally, last season’s runner-up, Liverpool, are still struggling to win the cup for the first time, even as the club virtually dominates European Champions League competition. Also in line for the Premier League showdown are Arsenal, till a few years ago, a sort of banker sure among London’s clubs. Then came the flop over the past few years for Arsenal without a trophy or eligibility for European Champion’s League, such that hesitantly and with all gratitude for his achievements for the club over 20 years as manager, Arsene Wenger had to give way for a successor whose main task has not been easy in his first year in charge. In fact, under Wenger’s successor, Arsenal could not even qualify for the new season’s European Champions League competition, an honour limited to the first four top teams in the Premiership, as Englands representatives. Arsenal gave way to Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.
The new season, therefore, offers Arsenal to bid for both English Premiership and European Champions League trophies. Equally in the new English Premier League season is Chelsea, the only London club so far to have won the European Champions League trophy. For all that unique distinction, Chelsea drastically dropped in ratings in the past few years in both European Champions League and English Premier League honours. Hence, as punitive measure, the club became notorious for its high rate and unrivalled managerial turnover, sometimes, a manager every year.
However, for the 2019-2020 season, Chelsea has turned to one of their own, home-grown Frank Lampard, as the new manager, after only a year’s experience in which he narrowly missed returning Derby County to the Premier League from the lower Championship. Derby lost the final play-off to Aston Villa, a provincial side, which also returned to competition after two years in the relegation group. The new English soccer season, therefore, also posses a major challenge for Chelsea under the managership of local boy Frank Lampard whose tasks are manifold. At the topmost, Lampard must win the European league championship, which he won as a player in 2012.
At home, he must or will aim at snatching the Premier League championship from Manchester City, an ambition better wished than attained. Even currently, the battle for qualifying for European Champions League duel is not easy among English clubs. There is the stiffness of ranking among the first four sides in the English premiership. Lampard’s task is not any easier with the new season’s opening match for Chelsea on Sunday against old foes and longest reigning king, Manchester United, in an away duel. Sunday’s match also exposes Manchester United with its own difficult times, in a season the club failed to qualify for the European Champions League competition.
Defending Europa Cup Champions and aspiring new season Premier League champion, Chelsea, versus a struggling Manchester United. That is only one of the big showdowns on what has been termed Super Sunday. The new season features the promotion of three lower Championship sides – Norwich, Aston Villa and Sheffield United. Tonight’s opening match is between Liverpool and Norwich.
Stop press: New Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has wielded the big stick by putting his former club-mate and the club’s powerful centre half David Luiz on sale. May end up in Arsenal, as a game changer.