Television Continental, TVC, Lagos, runs a programme, ‘It Is Your View, Let It Count’. The programme is hosted by a bevy of Lekki-style Naija beauties, including Ms. Yemi Kuti, daughter of the late Afro-beat legend, Fela Kuti. On Tuesday, June 21, 2016, I believe, one of the hostesses seized the day just to skin Mr. Ike Ekweremadu, alive, verbally. And what is Ekweremadu’s sin? It was that Ekweremadu, who is the Deputy Senate President, wore what to these hostesses was an Igbo-style ensemble for his alleged forgery trial proceedings. And in chorus, they affirmed that the senator’s purpose was to divide us – as if we were ever a united people and that they are not as sinning as anybody else.
Well, it was all in character. This is especially for those of us who are great habitués of the TVC show. First of all, the programme is generally gossipy, light-hearted, even as we hope, not light-headed lately. And it is all very soothing and juicy. At least, it helps one to repair his broken nerves after the long day’s work. Though it is true the show runs at 9am each work day, it is the repeat show at 9pm, that one never misses. The idea is that 9am is too early a time not to be sober, certainly to be made hilarious. So, the great hostesses, dragging in Ekweremadu to roast in their burning hearths served us a menu that was as tasteful as grilled street-side dodokido. And the matter we learnt, also trended deliciously by the social media. It was all in character we repeat.
But all these changed when Pius Adesanmi waded in. Adesanmi is Nigerian, a professor at a Canadian university. And we hold him in high honour.
In a piece How To Fight Corruption’s Fight Back, By Pius Adesanmi, Premium Times, June 29, 2016, he wrote and we quote in some detail:
‘’Ekweremadu for his own part is smarter…So, he appeared in full Igbo regalia at the beginning of his legal chastisement for corruption. The symbolic undertone of what Ekweremadu is doing is clear: Ndigbo, behold the persecution of your son by em… em… a Fulani cattle owner from Daura.’’
“The ethnicist narrative that Ekweremadu is trying to frame with his symbolic regalia will be no respecter of the facts of his case: Did you forge documents or not? Are you corrupt or not? He is mobilising powerful sentiments that could render such considerations moot…’’
There is no doubt Adensanmi has gotten things wrong, twice in one piece. The first is to be ungenerous with another and to deny his victim, Ekweremadu, the benefit of doubt. Rather he went straight to deem Ekweremadu a felon before hearing from him, in fact, on merely sighting him. And as if that was not enough, he went ahead to interpret the facts, as if they have no contexts.
Firstly, Ekweremadu is entitled to any sartorial choices and combinations he makes at whatever times and places of his choice. The only exceptions are in situations where dress codes are pre-designated, say Lodge meetings. Two, it was absurd and unforgiving to assume that Igbo ensembles like their Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba equivalents are not national clothes or are not to be worn save in the Bantustan Igbo land, certainly not across the Niger, or in the gathering of the entire Nigerian family. And that is if such a family exists.
On this alone it is thus fantastically absurd to accuse a man, say an Igbo, who wears his ethnic clothes, and not those of the others, say the Yoruba, the Hausa-Fulani, which themselves are not national clothes by any stretch of the imagination, as giving in to ethnic narratives. If Nigeria has a national costume, it is and must be the English suit. This is because the English suit is an equally strange infestation on each of us and may thus be said to unite us. It is just like English language, an arbiter [lingua franca for] of our several differences.
Now, as much as we know, President Muhammadu Buhari, to give one example, has never been seen in suits since he made the presidency – in fact, he only wears the Hausa-Fulani toga. And no professor to our knowledge has charged him of ethnic narration. And we restate that no set of regional and or ethnic clothes are exclusively Nigerian national clothes, except in contention or conjunction with all other regional or ethnic national clothes.
People should not smuggle in any forms as the national clothing lines or cultures, priori to discussion and free-choice pan-national adoption. If they did, it would amount to attempting a cultural coup and terrorism and will be resisted. We have a bouquet of cultures and the Hausa- Fulani and Yoruba have not ‘pacified’ the others. It must also be made clear that the Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba, are no civilising missioners except, perhaps, to themselves. It was only the British that conquered and pacified us. Even the victory of the Biafra war, which Gowon lays claims to, was actually won by the British in collaboration with her international partners and against us. And this much is fact and documented.
The danger is that if one conceded in this matter of costume, tomorrow it will now be canvassed that the Yoruba gele is the national style and all our wives, daughters and sisters, however, else they dress are ethnical. This is how external or internal colonialisms are enacted, surreptitiously. They ‘aimlessly’ start as cultural initiatives, with claims that colonialist’s cultures are more heroic, more universal than yours, which are regional and petty. Thus you need to scale up to be like the colonialists or, perhaps, be persecuted into submission. And this recalls the Murtala Mohammed and Olusegun Obasanjo infestation of Igbo land with their own peoples’ sense of traditional rulership. This amoral, shameless and insidious act was designed to aid the ogbonification and arewanisation of Igbo land by gun and diktat. And this is despite the questionability of their civilisations, if that is not an abuse of category. The questions are  who told Obasanjo and Mohammed [via the so-called Dasuki Reforms], that the tenets of ogboni and arewa are not civilisational inferiors to ofo na ogu and  even if they were not, that they could work and not be disruptive of higher and more delicate essences of Oru na Igbo? Who told them that we are one people, or needed to be? Their guns and stolen coup powers? Nigeria Ronu!
And now, the real crux of the matter is that we are different peoples. Even more, a nation is not a factory to churn separate and several peoples into one cultural people. A nation is a social technology designed for civic, not cultural relatedness. That is to say we are required to be related to Buhari and Adesanmi, say, by civic not cultural ties. Thus the brazen campaign, to declare, by default, that that which is Yoruba or Hausa-Fulani only, are national, is false, forged and must be resisted. Even more, the case of Adesanmi is surprising. In fact, Canada in which the professor resides, goes the extra mile to encourage cultural diversities and inclusiveness thereof. In today’s Canada, Quebecans and aboriginal Americans, are now all in honour and grace as never before for their differences.
But the real context is that the Igbo has been under siege since Gowon and in all fronts. Now, the cultural and other sieges are being hellishly reignited. It is not only that Gowon and Awolowo supervised the mass murder of the Igbo under the guise of fighting for a geographical expression, the point is that the sons and daughters of Gowon and Awolowo have not sheathed their swords or turned them into ploughshares.
As to the proof, it is on record that Nigerian soldiers cold bloodedly massacred dozens of IPOB celebrants for no sins known to any civilisation. So, are they demanding that the Igbo in being a target of the gowonic Nigerian state, that the Igbo should not express their beings, should only exist as neuter statistics, not unique peoples? The matter is so hot that there is a joke to it. The Igbo, it says, are now safer living in Afghanistan or Iraq, than in Kano [and anywhere near the Lagos Obas and their lagoon?].
So, why won’t Ekweremadu gesture and or cry out that he and his people are targets of genocidal urges and exclusion? See, in all the top 1,999 government and security positions, by one account, there is not one single Igbo, save this same Ekweremadu. And now they with their sheriffs, they all want him out, at least, culturally eviscerated. And if Ekweremadu is sacked, the purpose is to exclude the Igbo in everything Nigerian. Already a South-Westerner is being keyed in to replace Ekweremadu. This much, the motor-mouth Gbajabiamila admits. Perhaps, that is the Nigeria these anti-Igbo ‘ensemblers’ are programming for? Ahiazuwa.
We must immediately warn Ekweremadu, that he must not let intriguers and cultural terrorists intimidate him out of representing his own peoples. This was exactly how they intimidated the Jews in earlier times. It was so much that a fine and limpid mind like Leon Trotsky had to endorse that all other nationalities are to be granted self-determination and self-expressions, but the Jews, that is, his own peoples. And their reward? It was the series of pogroms, genocides against the Jewish peoples in his native Russia and beyond. Were this what these kind fellows are programming for the Igbo, by default?
And to conclude, the cost of Nigerian unity, if the devil ever needed it, cannot be borne by the Igbo alone. If there is to be genocide, existential, cultural, ethnic, it is must be visited on all Nigerians, totally. Ahiazuwa.
Interested readers may visit www.bracenomics. org for the continuation of the essay.