By Brady Chijioke Nwosu
OH ‘wise’ Nigerians, who have bewitched you that you cannot see, read and decipher the writing on the wall?
The gossamer thread, binding the country is breaking, and the country is about to be blown into smithereens, yet the politicians are comfortable forming new parties and building political bridges across ethnic and religious lines towards 2019 general elections, and it is business as usual for everyone. Others are busy organising conferences, and seminars on deepening democracy in the land, instead of, first, talking about saving Nigeria from fragmentation. There must be a country before you talk of democracy and how to deepen it; there must be a country for you to play politics, and there must be peace for you have elections. Can we even organise election under the peace of the graveyard that we have in the country today? Absolutely not!
One of the reasons we have refused to move forward is that we hardly get our priority right, and have refused to be good students of history. The most important thing for us to do is to think of how to save the country, which is on cliffhanger, drifting, going and will soon be on ground zero if we don’t do what is of utmost necessity, and which because of our selfish interest would sound bizarre and bitter to us. Nigeria, I repeat, is already going.
Recently, in Oleh, Isoko South LGA of Delta State, General Yakubu Gowon stated and agreed that Nigeria is in trouble and on a cliffhanger. He seems very hopeless and helpless without proffering a lasting solution. This is a man as head of state boasted that he created states as deterrent for self-determination, and unfortunately, current sociopolitical trend in Nigeria has belittled his thought and action. The situation in the country is like the proverbial calabash and the river, while the calabash was floating comfortably on the river, and thought it was having fun; a field day and playing with the river, but unknown to it, the river was ferrying it to an unknown destination, a point of no return and, of course, its ultimate destruction.
The signs of the time are here. Nigeria heads towards entropy. The development of the last two weeks is a clear pointer that we don’t have a country, talk less of a nation. What we have is Nigeria, as working site without Nigerians. For many, Nigeria is as the
late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, described it, ‘a geographical contraption or entity,” and it is manifesting the more, and the citizens demonstrate in various ways to the fullest.
It started on May 30, when the Igbo in the South-East and parts of South-South observed a sit at home in memory of fifty years of the declaration of Biafra, which led to war and the eventual killing of over two million of their kith and kin. On that day, Igbo in the South-East and South-South shut down economic activities in the regions. Nothing can stop Igbo from going to market unless they feel very deeply about it; for them to stay home and compliance was near 100 per cent shows that the clock is ticking, and we may be running out of one Nigeria. Time is running out on us. Drastic problem requires drastic remedy.
All along, President Muhammadu Buhari had dismissed the agitations over Biafra. He always evinced the same obstinate posture he had always maintained on the issue.
To this end, the government incarcerated Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of one of the Biafra groups. All the government has achieved by this is inflame passions in the South-East, and unwittingly made a hero out of Kanu. Those who did not know about Kanu before now know him. Those who were not disposed to Biafra before are now shouting Biafra. For weeks on end, Biafra has become the biggest news item nationwide, with agitations, demonstrations, threats and arrests.
At the moment, the Buhari government has become the biggest promoter of Biafra by the way it has gone about things. The idea of Biafra cannot be killed with a sledgehammer, if at all. What is required is to address the root causes that impelled Biafra. Unfortunately, it would appear the Buhari administration is unwilling to do this.
In response to the Biafra sit-at-home, on June 6, prominent Northern youth organisations, rose from a joint meeting called ‘Kaduna Declaration’ to issue a serious threat to the Igbo, residing in the region, urging them to begin making arrangements to relocate out of the North. The groups gave the Igbo up till October 1, this year to leave the region. Their declaration was premised on the shutdown of major towns in southeastern part of the country on May 30, by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and their sponsors.
These northern youths organisations, stated categorically that, never again will they fold their hands and a time has come to take their destiny into their hands. According to them, “The persistence for the actualisation of Biafra by the unruly Igbo of South-eastern Nigeria has lately assumed another alarming twist, which involved the forceful lockdown of activities and denial of other people’s right to free movement in the South-East by the rebel Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its overt and covert sponsors. They said they observed that, concerned by the persistent Igbo threat to national integration, they had met with several others and reviewed the current position of the North and jointly came up with the declaration.
“From today, June 6, 2017, when this proclamation is signed, the North, a critical player in the Nigerian project, hereby declares that it will no longer be disposed to coexisting with the Igbo and shall take definite steps to end the partnership by pulling out of the current federal structure “With the effective date of this declaration, which is today, Tuesday, June 06, 2017, all Igbo currently residing in any part of northern Nigeria are hereby served notice to relocate within three months and all northerners, residing in the East are advised likewise. “We are hereby placing the Nigerian authorities and the entire nation on notice that as from October 1, 2017, we shall commence the implementation of visible actions to prove to the whole world that we are no longer part of any federal union that should do with the Igbo.” With this development, the stage is set for eventual conflagration if something urgent is not done.
Acting on the premise of the Kaduna declaration, group, Middle Belt Youth Council, said the people of the Middle Belt of the country was ready to offer its land to the Igbo in the event that they (Igbo) were chased out of the North. This was even as the group maintained that the Middle Belt of the country is not part of the North, as the latter may want the world to believe.
Socio-political groups in the South West, while condemning the action of the northern youths, advised all southerners to return to their homes to avoid a repeat of then1967 pogrom against the Igbo and others in the North. The Niger Delta that holds the oxygen cylinder of the country, has also called for its self-determination, and ordered that northerners leave the region before October 1. This order was handed down by the militants in joint press conference on June 9. They demanded 100 per cent control of their resources, and that the Federal Government hand over all oil blocs owned by northerners to Niger Delta indigenes. All the companies operating in such oil blocs/wells should vacate within three months. They also asked the Federal Government should immediately relocate NNPC and all the offices that have to do with oil/gas sector to Niger Delta states and immediately replace the Group Managing Director with an indigene of Niger Delta.
They stated that on October 1, 2017, they shall declare their independence come rain, come shine. “We shall take our destiny in our hands and free ourselves from the slavery of the North, as they are tired of one Nigeria. From October 1, 2017, we don’t want to see any northerner close to the Niger Delta; any attempt to penetrate shall meet fierce resistance. This time, we are not going to play defence, but attack.”
Every group is holding a knife to the tiny rope that still holds the country together. It gets closer to the brace line. It gets more interesting that Nigeria’s cracks and the gaps keep widening and have got to the point that some have given others ultimatum to leave their region or be forced out.
The country is extremely divided with great distrust among ethnic nationalities. June 12, in honour of MKO Abiola is only marked in the South West, and instructive to note, South West was not ordered to evacuate Northern Region. May 30, Biafra Declaration/Memorial Day in honour of fallen Biafran heroes and heroines and May 29, is the birthday of the lootercracy of most destructive Fourth Republic in our national life.
The quit notice order is taken seriously and a welcome development to majority Ndigbo and have been envisioned Igbo will eventually exit Nigeria; it’s a matter time. The Yoruba are pretty much and more than ever ready on the way out.
The Igbo scattered property in the North is no more considered impediment for their collective interest for salvation or self-determination if need be. Innately, no one comes into the world with any and those known to have joined the good Lord didn’t go with any. I’m not a fan to ironies; I confront realities. Whether Igbo leave Nigeria or not, the continuous reference to the properties they own all over Nigeria ought to be seen as a destructive envy and greed that needs to be properly addressed. I’m yet to know of any property owned by Igbo outside Igboland that was not bought. To turn around to keep stressing on it is more than an intention to rob and to kill them in any slightest provocation. Today, we all live in a modern world. Besides the properties Igbos own in other parts of Nigeria, they also own properties all over the world just like Russian own in England and no right thinking person talks about such norm. So, even if Nigeria should divide today, which I don’t pray for, the Igbo man’s investment in other parts of Nigeria cannot be different from the ones they have in America and Europe. It will be seen as nothing but an overseas investment and it is stupid to think otherwise. The days of abandoned property have gone with the winds; international property managements can manage any investment in any global habitation and from any location on the planet earth. Germany is still paying reparations to the world Jewry.
All of us know how and why we got to this point. Nigeria is land of strong men mentality and actions, injustice and inequality and the people at the centre of the unjust acts gloat over their victory and want the conquest to last. Trust on face value among ethnic groups has completely gone in Nigeria. No government terminates itself, just like evil can’t eject darkness. There must be a forceful truncation of current Fourth Republic in order to talk to reestablish unity and new orientation for the country. Everyone that has anything to do with government and governance of Nigeria since inception that bring Nigeria to present brink and cliffhanger committed treason and felony. This includes all persons in all levels of government – bureaucrats and traditional institutions.
The situation is so tensed that one million Osinbajos cannot change it; and one billion Muhammadu Buharis cannot
change anything. For sure, he remains the most divisive head of state. And, unfortunately, the government doesn’t have any solution on the table or doing any tangible to minimise strife. Perhaps, killing its own. Trust on face value among ethnic groups has completely gone in Nigeria. No government terminate itself, just like evil can’t eject darkness. Therefore, Nigeria can’t meet the taste of future if political solution different from what we have now is not applied, and the various restiveness across the country was indication of an unworkable political system.
What then is the solution? Is it restructuring? Although, Dr. Junaid Mohammed referenced call for restructuring as “blackmail.” Perhaps, his mind is playing tricks on him. Is Junaid Mohammed running for president or been drafted by North? Apocalypse!
The template isn’t clear. While some, especially northerners, insist over their dead body will restructure take place and poised to go to war instead, proponents are singing discordant tunes on how it will be done.
The solution is military intervention, but not the type we have had in the past.
There is the need for military intervention. Again, before you lynch me to death for suggesting the way out of this quagmire, take a look at where we are coming from and where we are and see if there is a glorious future for this country under the present order. The Fourth Republic lootercratic beneficiary order can’t truncate self-Nigeria to be repackaged and otherwise, Biafran republic is a visionary, viable alternative. The military will not shed blood because we have shed more than enough blood, which is still haunting us, as we are yet to atone for it. The military will be for a brief period of two years.
They will organise a sovereign national conference, where all the ethnic nationalities come together and discuss on the way forward, and there will be no-go area on the agenda, and from there, for the first time, they would come up with a constitution made by the people, not all those fraudulent constitutions that had been forced down on our throats. It is only through this that we can repair the faulty foundation, which Nigeria was built on. Within this period of two years, we begin to orientate our minds as to the kind of nation we want to build.
• Nwosu writes from Abuja; Tel: 08023035430. Email: [email protected]