Professor Chidi Osuagwu is a retired lecturer from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri. He is a former President of Ohanaeze, Imo State Chapter and recently contested for the post of President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. In this interview with Lawrence Enyoghasu, Prof. Osuagwu spoke on the current chaos in parts of the South-East and why Nigeria might not survive as an entity even before the 2023 election.
Where do you think the presidency should go in 2023?
I don’t think Nigeria will exist till 2023. Do you think Nigeria will get to next year with the way it is leaping? It is painful that our politicians are not thinking of the task before us; that is why they are after the presidency. They just want to have the title. The issue is serious.
Is there hope for an Igbo man to become the president of Nigeria in 2023?
Who will want to become the president of this chaotic country? The British envoy who visited said that Nigeria’s problem is massively complex. Meaning that it is not something that regular politicians can deal with. They said it is not time for partnership. They all know that the Fulani are on a delusional mission.
Can restructuring curb the massively complex problem of Nigeria?
The British made a secret memo containing two points that have contributed to the problem of Nigeria. One of it is that the Fulani should not allow creation of the Middle Belt region, which was due to be created. If that is reversed, and Middle Belt region is created, and we go back to the constitution we had in 1963, you will see a different Nigeria. The second thing was that they wanted to cannibalise the Igbo. These are the two critical things the British wanted to do. If we reverse them, there would be a different Nigeria. They should also allow the Yoruba in Ilorin, Kwara, Kogi and others to join the West. They made every region and tribe disadvantaged except the Fulani. It was what was deceiving the Fulani to think they can conquer the black race. They can try but they would lose. They gave the dominant power to the Fulani and controlled them. The issue is big. We must free ourselves from them so that the black race can be free.
Do you still harbour the pain of losing the presidency of Ohanaeze Ndigbo?
Ohanaeze, from its origin, was being run by well meaning people. People of thought, like Akanu Ibiam, Dennis Osadebe, and others, who wanted a forum to project Igbo views and interests. But gradually, it degenerated into an elite club where people project their own personal interests. I ran for the post to try and reverse what has become the new normal, to anchor Ohanaeze into the light. I come from Obowo where they don’t say Ohanaeze, rather Ohanahawueze, meaning the people make the king and not the other way round. It reflects the difference between the way I view things and the way others view things.
Did you mean that Ohanaeze is now a platform for politicians, invariably becoming a toothless dog?
As I said, it degenerated into an elite group. From a group agitating for the rights of Igbos, they became errand boys for politicians. Most of them are there to make money for themselves. They don’t know what they are up against. These current leaders can’t manage or handle what the Igbos are facing now. They do not know that Igbo are under some existential threat – the Fulani imperialist conquest. The Igbo are the chief targets of this threat. If the Igbo are conquered, others would surrender to them. The Igbo, at this time, should be looking for leaders capable enough to tackle the problem. They are looking for visionaries with plans to escape the threat. The vision and zeal are what makes the difference with the leaders they have and those they rejected. I contested because there was pressure on me to contest and an agenda to escape the threat.
Is the unrest in the South-East part of the threat, or is it as a result of insecurity in the country, bearing in mind that some are saying the unknown gunmen are Igbo youths?
It is not the Igbo youths who are attacking the governors and infrastructure. The Imo State governor, Hope Uzodinma has said it. Igbo youth can’t carry out what is going on. They don’t have the capacity. It is the work of the agent provocateurs who are trying to invade Igbo land. They are doing it under a pretext. It is not the agitation of the people against the government.
How would you have solved the unrest in the South-East if you were to be the President General of the Ohanaeze?
You can’t lead the people if you don’t understand them, especially if you don’t understand their worldview and all. I understand them and come from a rich cultural background just like Sam Mbakwe. The issue is not getting our fair share of the national cake. No! If you go and listen to or read what the Ooni of Ife said at his festival in 2019, he had called on the Igbo to assume the role of leadership of the African race. Now, there are people who believe that they represent Arab thought that are leading us all. Arabs don’t have civilization. If they have, they would give it to themselves. But we do, and that was what the Ooni was talking about. Igbo need to be given the opportunity to lead this country and take it to the Promise Land. But they won’t give Igbo the chance. This is the issue because there are powerful forces around the world that wants to keep the black race down and destroy us. They want to destroy the black race by destroying us, the Igbo.
What have the Igbo done to be in the black book of these ‘forces?’
You will go and find out why Fredrick Lugard said what he said about the Igbo in his handover note to his successor, saying that the Igbo are industrious and religious. He didn’t say the Hausa and Fulani are religious. He said the Igbo are religious but they would never be entrusted with power because they would oppose the government and be rebellious. What did the foreigners come to do? They brought civilization but the Igbo had civilization. They opposed the colonial masters because they believed there were hidden agenda. The Igbo saw the colonial masters as armed robbers. The Colonial masters brought only Chinese compass and gunpowder. The Igbo saw through that and said no! Then of course the Igbo had led the revolution in Haiti against the world powers. This is the issue at stake. If you read the classified British documents, you will see that Britain had planned a war against the Eastern Nigeria before 1958. It was what became the Biafran war. It was planned by the British a decade earlier.
How have the Igbo leaders faired in relation to these issues?
Most don’t really know what the issue is. Some are after the Igbo share of the allocations. The issue is having sovereignty of the black race which the Europeans confiscated at the Berlin conference which was supposed to be restored in Nigeria in 1960 but the British never did. Many people will think we have independence but we never had it. They gave a condition before they gave us the pseudo independence. The British said that if the Middle Belt was created, they would not grant Nigeria independence. It was a conditional independence which is no independence at all. It led to the Fulani having dominant power control and it spiralled into the crises Nigeria is facing today. Many of our politicians don’t know this issue. Nigerian politicians are stomach infrastructure politicians. They don’t know what the issue is. The point is that we are under existential threat and the Fulani are not joking about their imperialist ambition. They are one people who have never renounced the right to enslave the black race. It is very important to take note of it. In 1903 Sultan Mohammed Attahiru told Luggard that instead of stopping the enslavement of black race, he would fight Luggard and die and he did. They have never relented from it and people think they are joking today. They want to destroy the black race. The issue is more serious than what people are seeing. And Buhari is committed to that. He thinks he is doing a religious duty. Fulani are not Muslims because Mohammed asked the Muslims to go Abyssinia to learn the essence of truth and justice which are the essence of religion. What this people do doesn’t have anything to do with truth and justice. Boko Haram is the Fulani Caliphate’s doctrine to keep the Hausa land and enslave them which is an anti-Islam practice.
How can this be resolved before 2023?
The people should just be ready to defend themselves. Many of our people need to be aware of what they are dealing with. These Fulani don’t know that what they are doing is wrong because it is a doctrine passed down to them. They think what they are doing is righteous.
So, is war the solution?
War is bad. Reasoning with them is good. Most of the people they will use in the war don’t know what they are fighting for. Most people don’t know what is going on. They think it is putting down the Igbos in Nigeria. You might wipe out the Igbo here, but the Igbo all over the world would rise.