On July 29, last year I wrote a piece I titled: Buhari’s ethnically biased appointments, criticizing the president for not having any Igbo man or woman among the 32 or so personal staff he chose before constituting his cabinet. Seven days later, on August 5, I penned Buhari need rapprochement with the Igbos, urging him to take steps to woo the people of the ethnic group, the overwhelming majority who did not vote for him and the reason for his reaction against them.
About a month – and – a – half after this, I came up on September 16 with Buhari and the Igbos in which I admonished the president to approach the National Assembly for the creation of a state in the South – East. So that the Igbos like the people of the South – West, South – South, North – Central and North – East can have six states, especially as the North – West, the zone to which he belongs, has seven states.
I also appealed to the president to make a statement soonest assuring the Igbos that he would begin the construction of the Second Niger Bridge before the end of his current tenure, a project to which the last three federal administrations had only paid lip – service to carry out. With these articles, is it not astonishing and ridiculous that anyone would accuse me of attacking the Igbos and turning myself into a tribal bigot that has attracted the hatred and opprobrium of the Igbos, for writing that they, the Hausas and Fulanis are the problem of Nigeria. They even accused me of coming out to cause disunity and promoting the disintegration of the country. When I was not instigating the other tribes to come out against the Igbos, Hausas and Fulanis.
Apart from the six led by Dr. James Okoroma who leveled these accusations against me, I have not received a single adverse reaction from any Hausa or Fulani people or any Northerner at all. While most of the Igbos, 33 of the 39, who responded to last week’s column were broad – minded in their comments. They said they know my antecedent as a champion of Igbo cause in the last one year or so and therefore cannot take offence to my latest write – up, especially as I have not given the reason as to why they are the problem of Nigeria
One of them is Dr. Emmanuel Ekeanyanwu, a medical doctor, who phoned me on Friday from his base in Owerri (090 – 9114 – 9666) and said he appreciates my interest in the Igbos. He even urged me to publish his name and telephone number to assure everyone that I am telling the truth that his response to my column was positive and that he bears no malice with me over the article.
Igbos like Port Harcourt – based Mr. Gabriel (080 – 3764 – 0622), Mr. Joseph in Lagos (080 – 8435 – 5967) and the man who sent a text message through 081 – 0331 – 4996, said the people of the South – East and their kith and kin elsewhere, know my soft spot for their ethnic group. And that I should not have bothered replying my critics.
I am amazed that anyone can be aghast and accuse me of ethnicity in saying the Igbos and the two major tribes in the North are Nigeria’s problem. When the Boko Haram insurgents and their terrorist brethren, the herdsmen, who have been carrying out pogroms, causing chaos and laying waste to several communities in the country for years now and desirous of turning Nigeria into a Muslim country are majorly, if not entirely, Hausas and Fulanis.
To be continued next week Wednesday
Yoruba/Benin ancestry dispute (12)
From the research I carried out, contrary to Oba Erediauwa insinuation that Yoruba lecturers dominated the Department of History, University of Ibadan in 1953, nobody from the ethnic group was a don there then. So, how could they have made Egharevba to have it in his book that Benin, his town of origin, was founded by Obagodo a Yoruba man from Ile – Ife. Indeed, the only Nigerian lecturer in the Department at the time was Dr. Kenneth Onwuka Dike (Monday, December 17, 1917 – Wednesday, October 26, 1983), from present – day Anambra State, who became a professor in 1956.
Professor Jacob Festus Adeniyi Ajayi (Sunday, May 26, 1929 – Saturday, August 9, 2014), from Ikole – Ekiti, the first Yoruba – born don in the Department, joined the staff of the institution in 1958, which was five years after Egharevba’s book had been published. It goes without saying that Igbo – born Professor Dike and the expatriate lecturers in the Department of History in 1953, would not have influenced Egharevba to have published a book that Benin was founded by a Yoruba man from Ile – Ife.
Continues next week