These are indeed confusing times; for the non-initiates like me, that is. I get confused by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Change agenda, now taking us to Next Level, and believe me, it is no fault of the president. The confusion stems from the people he wants to help drive the train. It is either the people are bent on spoiling his show or downright mischievous or living in denial.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has made, perhaps, the most hilarious joke on his ministry when he said last week that media reports on the deplorable condition of roads n virtually all parts of the country were hyped. This is unbelievable, coming not just from an ordinary Nigerian, but a WHOLE minister, and the one entrusted with filling up our ‘valleys’ and making them motorable. But in trying to deceive his principal, Fashola, who is yet to give Nigerians the steady power supply he promised within six months of the APC government, ended up bringing the government to ridicule.
Before then the Agriculture Minister, Muhammad Sabo Nanono, had said there was no hunger in the country despite Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s dancing theatrics inside stuffy markets, distributing questionable Tradermoni. Osinbajo himself had also described reports of ravaging criminality and kidnapping as exaggerated. I am yet to hear that he has withdrawn that statement, as a lot has happened since that infamous claim. For instance, Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme, is still in kidnappers’ den. Meanwhile, the killers of Funke, the daughter of the Afenifere leader, Pa Fasoranti, are still free somewhere, plotting where next to strike, even as some state governments have surrendered to the superiority of bandits.
There are ominous clouds hanging over Osinbajo’s head. One only prays he is not drowned by the impending deluge, with the sack of 35 of his overly tribalised aides. Unfortunately, he seems not to know what to do with his heels but trust Nigerians. They have taken to social media to taunt the VP to extend his Tradermoni largesse to empower his now sacked aides. Not a bad idea after all. Except that while the office of the VP wants us to believe that the sacking (list) was untrue and should be ignored, the Presidency confirmed it as genuine. A case of uneasy musical chairs at Aso Villa?
Anyway, that’s besides the point. I am more concerned about our traditional institution. I have no problem with those roaming wide as traditional rulers though. Most of the time, they seem to be confused but content to perambulate the public sphere in overflowing regalia, sweeping scorn or applause to themselves. Even militants, jaded military men and no good fraudsters now buy their ways to the varnished throne cloaked in grandiose splendour, lacking in candour and honour. However, like I said, I have no problem with that. The only problem I have is when this gragra show affects me and other well meaning Nigerians in any way.
The parlous state of the traditional institution is more pathetic in the eastern flank of the country where poverty or greed makes the monarchs servile minions. Was it not how rulers were induced to fawn over political leaders, leaving their palaces to receive them instead of waiting for the customary customary homage to be paid them? That is why they collapse into feisty manipulative hands of political tricksters to undo one another, as was the case in the Imo Council of Traditional Rulers of recent memory when it’s chairmanship was muddled by tragicomics in Douglas House.
Lately too, traditional leaders from the East went to Abuja to beg for rehabilitation facilities in the zone. They did not have to go begging the government to do their work. However, that could be condoned, at least, because of the benefit to the people. Nevertheless, I don’t understand the plea to the president to allow Nnamdi Kanu, assumed leader of the Independent People of Biafra, IPOB, to come home and bury his mother.
Let me first condole with the IPOB leader over the loss of his irreplaceable mother. It hurts; yes, it hurt me badly too when I lost my own mother some five years ago at the age of 71. So, indeed I feel sorry for Kanu; take heart, brother.
However, I disagree that our traditional rulers should be begging the government to allow Kanu return to bury his mother. The royal fathers, who were led by Eze Gideon Ejike, made the plea at Amakwo Event Centre in Orsu Local Government Area of Imo State.
As if that was not enough, Eze Ejike added: “Kanu is not a terrorist. Terrorists kill but we are yet to see any bloodshed by Kanu. He is our hero and should be allowed to bury his mother before the beginning of next year. He deserves the honour and right as the first son to bury his mother.”
To start with, I am not even aware that the FG banished Kanu that he has to beg to be allowed to return home. Secondly, I am not aware of Kanu’s heroics but can attest to some hedonistic tendencies that have impacted so negatively on the Igbo dream. That have balkanised the Igbo advancement. That have now whittled the gains of the recent past through Chief Ralph Uwazurike’s calculated campaigns.
For a long while, the Igbo youths have been misled to keep chasing utopian Biafra republic instead of productive self-engagement, no thanks to Kanu.
Unfortunately, when informed minds say the truth, they are tackled down by mentally deficit Lilliputians, who have drunk the poisoned chalice of deception. So deceived are they any contrary view, no matter how reasonable, is folly in their eyes, and dubbed enemy of the Biafra enterprise.
But seriously speaking, do we need Biafra in Igbo land? Of course, we sure do. The kind of Biafra is now the problem. Do we need Biafra that will elevate or diminish us? Do we need Biafra that will enrich a few and impoverish the majority? Do we need Biafra that we shall be afraid to return to? Do we want Biafra governed by supreme lords with abusive diarrheic mouths? Do we need Biafra of a few uncouth thugs, so rabid they drive decent minds away from the ‘struggle’?
Of course, I agree that Kanu is not a terrorist; neither is IPOB. Wrongly labelling them because they are Igbo crisis is unfortunate. In a country where bandits and self-confessed herdsmen murderers are rewarded and celebrated, it is most uncharitable to criminalise Kanu or IPOB because of ill educated exploits.
Let Igbo leaders arise and speak out now! Let our governors seize the moment and harness our people to come together and build the Igbo land into one flourishing with wealth. Provide clement environment for investments to thrive. Provide incentives to attract investors. Provide inter-state infrastructure and security that will encourage our people to invest in their land.