I wish to apologise to my fans and readers who had complained that I do not respond to readers reactions. I will do that by next week. I had wanted to devote this episode to reactions to my last week publication titled ‘ The Final Exodus’ but a lot of things have happened since the publication, such as the Acting President’s consultations with leaders of thoughts of the different geo-political zones , particularly the South East and the North; the IPOB statements and the letter of the Northern youths to the Acting President.
It’s obvious this is not the best of time for Nigeria. The country has problems. Her troubles isn’t just one or two , they are legion and the problems are raining on us when we are in a near leaderless state.
There is no better time for an energetic and affective leadership than now but unfortunately the leader is not only old and ailing but equally absent. The president is the president of Nigeria, as such his health is no more his private affair. The citizens who have been asked to pray for his recovery must know their prayer point and what they are praying for so that his healing will be fast. I had in my last publication called for the full disclosure of the nature of president’s ailment so as to dispel the rumour of poisoning being circulated by some wicked clerics and politicians to gullible youths across the North. Allowing his health to remain a subject of speculation is not in the best interest of our national security.
Over the week I have received several phone calls from family and friends abroad who are worried that Nigeria may be headed for Kigali following the Hausa Fulani Quit Notice to the Igbo and their follow up letter to the Acting President justifying their ultimatum to the Igbo. In their letter, Northern Youths known for their unprovoked violence against the Igbos established conditions for the Igbo as if Nigeria is the property of the North and they the North determines who stays in as Nigerians or who leaves the federation. In a nutshell the Northern youths unwittingly dissolved the federation and unity of Nigeria because if the Igbo are pushed out of Nigeria or given their Biafra rather than address their frustrations, Nigeria will cease to exist.
The letter by the Youths to the Ag President was very insensitive and depicts the typical Nigeria’s big man display of arrogance whereby the small man complains of the way he is being unfairly treated, but rather than address his complaints the big man decides to bully and shut up the small man, believing that by bullying the small man he will be forced to accept his impoverished condition as faith.
To the Hausa-Fulani the Igbo agitation for a stronger federation is a non-issue simply because they are and had been on the driving sit, it’s either Ndigbo accepts slavery, injustice and marginalisation or be forced out of Nigeria. To those of us who still believe in Nigeria despite our frustrations, this arrogance posturing of the North is annoying.
But, the world can still save Nigeria from itself by prevailing on her to pursue restructuring now. We need patriots who can drum it into the ears of those in power that anything short of restructuring will be disastrous because the children of those killed during the civil war have grown up and demanding their rightful place in their own country, assuming Nigeria is for all of us.
There’s so much dissonance and dust raising at this very critical juncture that truly needs to be properly managed or we implode at very great consequence. The current exchange and tension between the Igbo and Hausa-Fulani is quite uncalled for because the Igbo agitation is not really directed against the Hausa-Fulani or Yoruba but against the Nigerian state which from independence has not been fair to all. I am therefore at a loss at how this agitation and demand for a just federation becomes an Igbo versus Hausa-Fulani thing. The Hausa-Fulani youths should ask themselves if they are faring better with the way Nigeria is because I am sure the North is disadvantaged in so many ways.
Igbo leaders need to rise from their inaction to caution IPOB to tone down its violent rhetoric and minimise hate speeches against any tribe. The world may want to listen to our grievances but not how much we hate the North and the West.
Inspite of our frustrations about Nigeria and her successive bad leaderships and policies that limit our progress I believe we can still win this battle without firing a single bullet or fighting our way through a violent battle. As things are now I believe we are not ready for war and we are not asking for war with Nigeria or against any tribe. We must therefore be cautious not to engage in any action that will become humiliating in the end. Even this Buhari government that we are seeing today doing everything bad against us, tomorrow we will see it no more because evil does not lasts forever. If evil lasts forever, Idi Amin of Uganda would still be there killing Obote men, Hitler would have been there up till now cremating the Jews. We must not lose sight of the power of God and His place in our affairs.
I believe our mistake is the way and manner we have framed this whole agitation in a mutually exclusive manner. What creates hardening of positions and division is that some of us are trying to tell others that what they’ve seen and felt, their live experiences as they are didn’t happen. Some others decided that nothing good has ever happened since their existence in this country. All manners of extreme views. But somewhere in between lies the truth. And the solution finding also must strike that balance hence the need that we maintain a clear head and a clear vision. We have earned enough experience to be able to handle this current situation with 20/20 vision.
Part of the truth which we must admit is that both our internal and external vulnerabilities will not be able to accommodate the humanitarian tragedy that any disorderly integration of Nigeria will ensue.
We can move away from this unwanted destination if and if only pride, ego, political machinations and unnecessary power tussle could give way. If the APC led government will be patriotic I think this present problem we face as a nation won’t be too difficult to resolve. They can begin a genuine dialogue beginning with the 2014 Confab report.
On the Igbo side , I will urge the Ohaneze leadership to commence a face to face meeting of all the SE governors, Leaders of All palpable Igbo agitation groups, elected legislators, representatives from the traditional institutions and religious institutions and some co-opted Igbo champions. In this meeting, truth and selflessness should be the watchword. IPOB, Massob etc will be made to see the dangerous dimension the agitation is heading to and be advised on the strong and urgent need for de-escalation of not just their violent rhetoric but pursue what will be beneficial to all Nigerians. This should be presented not as an option but as a necessary and urgent step that has to be taken to salvage Nigeria from this impending danger. They should be made to commit to that but must be carried along in all discussions and consultations. Secondly the traditional leaders, religious leaders, the governors also need to rise to leadership and seize the narrative too. We all appreciate the proximity and credibility these institutions enjoy among our people.
For the sake of the lives of our people living in the North we must not allow the communication with the North to break down irretrievably. We should engage their leaders of thoughts and understand their grievances too.