A simple but complex debate is going on in Nigeria on the subject, ‘what does nd’Igbo want: Biafra, President or restructuring? That even nd’Igbo differ in their response to this debate does not mean they are confused or in dilemma of what they want.
Let it be known that as ndi-Igbo we will always have our differences and we will always argue about them. No matter what are those differences and how we argue about it, so long as we argue like brothers then we can be sure of being part of the great future that lie ahead whether in Biafra or as citizens of a restructured true Federal Republic Nigerians. However the debate goes, we must never again accept to subject ourselves to slavery or domination or willfully surrender our neck for slaughter under any guise.
Millions of Igbo youths, especially the generation born in the late 60s and early 70s want out of Nigeria because all the country has offered them are pains, suffering, anguish, killings, unemployment, starvation, lawlessness, corrupt and inept leaderships. These youths cannot understand being citizen of a country that is riddled with corruption and as a result is unable to provide basic social amenities, like electricity , water, roads, shelter and hospitals for the citizens. The biggest tragedy of Nigeria is not just its inability to manage her being big but the inability of successive governments to protect lives and properties of citizens. Millions of people have died in the hands of both state actors and common criminals with the victims never getting justice.
So, don’t blame the youths who want an end to the contraption called Nigeria, blame the country and visionless leaders with no actionable plan for its exploding youth populations some of whom had fled harsh economic conditions to foreign lands in search of greener pasture. It is these youths that are marching the streets of Rome , Washington and London waving the Israeli and Biafra flags and demanding for freedom from Nigeria. For these youths, whether in IPOB , MASSOB or other fringe organizations, it’s either Biafra or nothing and their voices are getting stronger and louder, and their demand more popular than ever.
There are also the group of Igbo elites, some of who are in politics and academics who believe Nigeria still has all it takes to be a great nation and that the Igbo can favorably compete for space with other tribes rather than abandon the country built on the strength and sweat of their fathers. Like the late Nkrumah of Ghana, these group will say ‘Give us political power and the rest will follow’.
Rightly or wrong they believe the idea Igbo President is welcome. Some of these elites are already positioning within the ruling APC and opposition PDP. In fact the APC group who must as necessity prove loyalty to the incumbent president rumored to be having second term agenda, recently distanced themselves from the call for Igbo President in 2019 while insisting 2023 to be the time for the Igbo. Perhaps these group is working on the premise that power will be given to nd’Igbo in 2023 without question and not to be taken by them in 2019.
Truthfully, there is absolutely nothing wrong or unexpected for an Igbo , man or woman, to emerge as Nigeria’s President in 2019 or by extension 2023.
The prospective possibility must be in one of the two major parties . PDP or APC or in the possibility of another mega party! The candidate must demonstrate to Nigerians that he or she believes in Nigeria to the satisfaction of Nigerians!
To win the presidency means to win and command the trust of other Nigerians. Therefore, the candidate must work to enlarge his or her constituency in not only the South East and the South-South but in the rest of the other geo-political zones!
It is my opinion that Political power in the hand of a visionary leader of Igbo extraction could restore Nigeria back to greatness. A great and visionary leader will be able to put restructuring and true federalism as a major policy focus . Once Nigeria is working for the common good of all, no one will want to exit including the Biafra agitators whose primary reason for agitating is the fact that Nigeria has not worked and is not working?
If we must earn the trust of other zones to support one of us as president we must begin now to close ranks get sober. We should stop abuses each other, in particular abuse of the North and South Westerners and get humble so as to get Nd’Igbo back to realize their strength within Nigeria’ political framework – that is Strength Not Weakness!
We should not need an Obasanjo to tell us that simple truth that we need to hold tight to the South-South, extend handshakes across Niger to the West and embrace our friends in the North to produce Presidency in 2019 especially if we have that man with national appeal.
President Buhari for all I care has exceeded my very worst expectation of him as a leader , as such is beatable in a free and fair election. Do we have such an Igbo man with courage, charisma, national and international appeal to beat him if he dares run again?
There are some Igbo who believe and reasonably too in restructuring or renegotiated Nigeria. They are not particularly against the idea of Igbo president and are ready to give Nigeria another chance. To them, Nigeria is not working because it requires both economic and political restructuring. Whereby the country fails to make progress after restructuring then exit will be an option. The restructuring group believes that an Igbo president without a restructured Nigeria and without a new constitution will end up a ruse. These are some of the raging issues among the Igbo which many see as the Igbo dilema.
While, I understand the Igbo populism for Biafra and the cause has my sympathy, my rational thinking will be to allow all the flowers to blossom. At heart , I still doubt if Biafra will solve all our problems just as I see something fundamentally wrong with the thinking that an Igbo becoming president would end the yearning of our people for freedom or resolve all of our problems. People who think strictly Biafra or strictly Igbo President fail to understand that without addressing the fundamental problem of Nigeria that resides in the current constitution and how Nigeria is structured, the agitation for autonomy will not end.
Those toying with the idea of Igbo as president as single panacea fail to understand that self determination is a process fuelled by deep sense of injustice and no people can achieve it, if they can be bribed by a position or fail to see how every opportunity can be exploited to bring them nearer to their goal.
However, with a good President of Igbo extraction a new Nigeria is possible, a Nigeria built or equal opportunity and common policies evolved for the common good all. I strongly believe that our future is in this new Nigeria and our duty is to fight for it. While I don’t think the world is ready to welcome Biafra as an independent state for now, we stand a good chance of getting the support of the world, if we fight for a new Nigeria, where no president can do to us, what Buhari in particular and many before him have done to us. An Igbo president depending on who emerges may be the Nigerian Goberchev, who knows. Let’s therefore keep our eye on all three options without boycotting any.