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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Federal Government Is Not Treating Igbo People Right - Yerima

Alhaji Shettima Yerima, an activist and president of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) in this interview, blows hot about the way the people of the South-eastern part of Nigeria have been treated by the government, and why he thinks the agitation for Biafra is justified even though it is not the best option.
The fiery leader of the AYCF also suggests solutions to the crisis.
Shettima Yerima
Alhaji Shettima Yerima, a activist and president of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum
How did this agitation come this far?
Well, it’s been a very long journey and for people like us, it is not surprising. The agitation for Biafra is not news to us because it has been there over time especially since 1966 with what gave birth to the overthrow of the Aguiyi Ironsi government after the killing of some top leaders. The agitation has been there and that was what led to civil war in 1967 when Odimegwu Ojukwu came on board against the state and the reconciliation in the 1970s. Ever since, there had always been one agitation of the other. But the truth of the matter is that nobody is happy about the situation and all of us felt that it would not augur and it is not even in the best interest of this country for any part to secede now. This is a critical and very challenging time. And it is high time we began looking at the issue critically. We are only pretending that Nigeria is a nation, it has never been a nation. We just pray that it would become a nation. 
There are very fundamental issues that need to be addressed by any government in place and, to do that we must apply the principles of equity, justice and fairness to all. The moment we begin to say this group of people must be dealt with decisively because of their mindset or thinking that they are being marginalised, then there is a problem.
The government must be seen to be doing justice and discussing issues the way they are. If we continue to pretend that things are normal and people are saying they are not normal and are agitating, one day it might not be funny.
In as much as we pretend that things are well, you can see this call for Biafra is getting more popular internationally. I pray and I pray the leaders begin to see reasons to look at the issues critically. If they feel they are being marginalised and you underestimate and threaten them by arresting them and incarcerating them, just know that the more you do that, the more they get international and local sympathy. At the end of the day, you would be marvelled at what that amounts to. It could metamorphose into something beyond your expectation. Detention and arrests are not the answers to the issue. Issues must be brought forward for discussion. We must disagree to agree so that we can form a nation. We are not yet a nation. Under international laws which Nigeria is signatory to, the right to see for nationhood is guaranteed. Thus, if people decide that they don’t want to be part of your project, there is nothing you can do about it. Whatever you do is just to buy time. So why don’t you look at the issues the way they are and address them once and for all? This is what I think and it is absolutely my opinion.
Those sympathetic to President Muhammadu Buhari believe that the agitation became intense because the average Igbo man does not like a Hausa man being the President. Do you subscribe to this?
I do not subscribe to that because before Buhari, there were leaders who came from the Nort. Umar Yar’Adua was from the North and we could see the support from the East until lately when there was this problem of misgivings just before the recent elections. The perception of those in the camp of President Buhari is that the South-east was against him and that he did not get enough votes from the area and so what they bargained for is what they would get. Again, I do not share that perception. This is because this is a democracy where everyone has the right to decide where he wants to stay and if a government is finally formed at the end of the day, that government must be seen to be all-inclusive and carry everybody along irrespective of whether you got votes or not. You must be seen to be more civilised and behave in very civil ways so that we will all feel we are part of this democracy. But where things went wrong and you want to pay back, I do not think that is nationalistic.
And when the issue of appointments came up and some positions that should be shared nationally went in one direction as far as we were concerned, some of us raised alarm we did not raise alarm because we don’t enjoy Buhari, but because we know he is human and those who work with him are also human. So where something is going wrong, there is no problem in calling the person to correct it. I do not think it is in the best interest of Nigerians to play politics with things like this because the only reason Buhari is elected is because people gave him mandate to be President of Nigeria and so issues of a section of the country not giving him their votes should not arise. The perception became more glaring and visible because certain things happened in recent times, especially just before the election, after the election and in appointments. It is not because they hate Buhari but certain things have gone wrong and it is better to address them. As long as they remain part of the country, what belongs to them must be given. But where we believe that some parts of the country should be treated as second-class citizens, then we are not doing justice to the nation or that we want the country to survive. This is just the truth of it.
There is also this argument that the South-east is not ripe enough to call for secession because there is not particular leader to take them out of the woods. An analyst recently cited the case of South Sudan. What do you think?
That they are not mature enough, how is that our problem, the problem of anybody or a section of the country? By law, how is that a problem? It is either you decide to carry them along or if you feel they are a burden to you, then allow them to go. When a child decides that it is time to come out of her mummy’s womb, you can’t stop the child. Oftentimes, we make the mistake of comparing Nigeria with other countries forgetting that we do not share the same culture. We are people from different backgrounds, religions and environments. So I do not share that sentiment. There are also countries that broke and the seceding countries are living on their own. Have you ever seen where a country breaks up and the parts come back together because it was a mistake? It has never happened. So who is afraid in the case of Nigeria? If we cannot do justice to all, then let everyone go peacefully.
For me, I do not think the entire North should be held responsible for not allowing the East to go. For me, if they choose to go, so be it. The day we fee tired of this project called Nigeria, we too in the North would say we are going. Let nobody hold anybody to ransom. I only just think going our separate ways is not the best answer, but let’s also begin to decide for them as if we should tell what they  want or not. If we cannot bring equity and justice to this table and discuss it, then what is the essence of this pretence? We don’t have to pretend; the country is sick and we need a man who truly believes in the nation to govern it rather than heating it up. And this is where I differ because with the problem at hand like insurgency in the northern part of the country, there should not be any reason to create another monster in another part of the country. Leaders must be seen to be low-headed at this time. Let us not be fooled, this is the best time for leaders to put their heads together and see how things would be solved and appreciate the fact that we come from different backgrounds. Let us not abuse this opportunity. If found wanting, let us address the problem and stop behaving like there is no problem. The moment you begin to say some people should be sidelined, then you are not bargaining for peace.
In resolving this problem now, do you suggest that the report of the last National Conference should be looked into?
The report of the National Conference cannot be a reason to start looking at a new Nigeria because even some of us have issues with the Confab and its composition and how it went. This government must be open because if we cannot sit down and discuss it, then there is a problem. This government must be create an atmosphere and engage everyone. I believe a Sovereign National Conference is the answer to this whole thing and there must be no no-go area. People must be allowed to discuss issues. Often, when the issues of national discourse emerge, these mischief makers, these crooks who are 80 percent criminally-minded people at the National Assembly would tell you that they are the ones to discuss them. You cannot be the manager of Nigeria because they voted for you. You cannot just wake up one morning and declare that the sovereignty of the people is now your own. Allow the rightful owners decide how they want to live together and move forward.
The constitution we have today is fraud. We challenge the legality of the preamble of the constitution. You cannot be move a country forward where there is problem. The country is sick! We can only buy time, but the day it would escalate, everyone would start running helter-skelter. And I am afraid that the prediction of America that Nigeria would break would not come to pass. Unfortunately, the government of the day believes so much in America. In fact, they even consult America before introducing some local policies to us. You can see how bad it is that after 55 years, Nigeria has not grown enough to decide how we want to govern ourselves. Must we consult America? Why can’t we do our thing our own way? Who even tells you America is in support of Nigerians uniting together? History has shown that so many wars and insurgency around the world have the imprint of America. Can’t we learn from history? Do we want to go into another civil war? I can tell you that if Nigeria goes into another civil war now, we will not survive it.

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I am an Igbo, I was born an Igbo, I live the life of an Igbo, I come from Igbo, I speak Igbo, I like to be Igbo, I like to dress in Igbo, I eat Igbo food, my heritage, culture and tradition is Igbo, my parents are Igbo.

Am sorry I cannot help it if you hate my lineage. Am sorry I cannot help it if you detest Igbo, am sorry I cannot help it if you hate me because am Igbo. Igbo is who I am, my name is Igbo and I must die an Igbo.

You see Igbo as a threat, why? You call Igbo rapist, criminals, ritualist, prostitutes, kidnappers. You attribute all negative vices to represent Igbo? Why do you do that? You do because you feel threatened that Igbo might outrun the rest of the tribes. Why do you hate Igbo and despise us? You do that because we are creative, enlightened, hardworking, industrious, genius, intelligent, smart, rich, beautiful and amazing. But its difficult for you to admit it because you feel jealous of my race.

Igbo do not own politics, Igbo do not control the economy neither do we control the natural resources and the common wealth of the nation. You do, we don't and yet, despite the fact that you own everything, we still remain one indispensable race that has outshined the other race in all ramifications.

You fear us because you want to exterminate and annihilate our race, you deny us many things and yet we are stronger, richer and mightier. You fear us because we are everywhere. You fear us because no matter how rural a place might be, when Igbo steps in, they turn it into a Paradise. We have our own resources, which lies in resourcefulness, we do not bother you and your control over the polity, but yet when we cough you and the other race begin to shiver.

Am proud being an Igbo, am proud of my heritage and culture. Igbo means high class, Igbo means independence, Igbo means hard work and strength, Igbo means riches, Igbo means resourcefulness, Igbo means self belonging, Igbo means self esteem, Igbo means pride, Igbo means swag.

Udo diri unu umunnem.
# IgboAmaka
# AnyiBuNdiMmeri

Michael Ezeaka

This is beautiful poetry ...

In response to Alaba Ajibola, the Babcock Lecturer Hate Speech against Igbos.


In Igboland women live apart from their husbands and neither cook for them nor enter their husband's quarters when they are in their period. They are seen as unclean. Even up till today such practice is still applicable in some parts of Igboland especially by the traditionalists. Before a woman can enter the palace of Obi of Onitsha, she will be asked if she is in her period, if yes, she will be asked to stay out.

Leviticus 15: 19-20
When a woman has her monthly period, she remains unclean, anyone who touches her or anything she has sat on becomes unclean.

An Igbo man's ancestral heritage, called “Ana Obi” is not sellable, elders will not permit this. If this is somehow done due to the influence of the West the person is considered a fool and is ostracized by the community.

1 Kings 21:3
I inherited this vineyard from my ancestors, and the Lord forbid that I should sell it, said Naboth.

Igbos have practiced the taking of a late brother's wife into marriage after she had been widowed until the white men came. Now it is rarely done but except in very rural villages.

Deuteronomy 25:5
A widow of a dead man is not to be married outside the family; it is the duty of the dead man's brother to marry her.

In Igboland, there is a unique form of apprenticeship in which either a male family member or a community member will spend six (6) years (usually in their teens to their adulthood) working for another family. And on the seventh year, the head of the host household, who is usually the older man who brought the apprentice into his household, will establish (Igbo: idu uno) the apprentice
by either setting up a business for him or giving money or tools by which to make a living.

Exodus 21:2
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve you for six years. In the seventh year he is to be set free without having to pay you anything.

In Igboland , the yam is very important as it is their staple crop. There are celebrations such as the New yam festival (Igbo: Iri Ji) which are held for the harvesting of the yam. New Yam festival (Igbo: Iri ji) is celebrated annually to secure a good harvest of the staple crop. In the olden days it is an abomination for one to eat a new harvest before the festival. It's a tradition that you give the gods of the land first as a thanksgiving.

Deuteronomy 16:9
Count 7 weeks from the time that you begin to harvest the crops, and celebrate the harvest festival to honor the lord your God, by bringing him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing he has given you. Celebrate in the Lord's presence together with your children, servants, foreigners. Be sure that you obey my command, said the Lord.

In Igboland it's a tradition that the male children are circumcised on the 8th day. This tradition is still practiced till date.

Leviticus 12:3
On the eighth day, the child shall be circumcised.

In Igboland, there is a practice known as "ile omugwo ". After a woman has given birth to a child, a very close and experienced relative of hers, in most cases her mother is required by tradition to come spend time with her and her husband. During which she is to do all the work of the wife, while the new mom's only assignment to the baby will be to breastfeed. This goes on for a month or more. In the Igbo old tradition, at this time, the new mom lives apart from her husband, would not cook or enter his quarters.

Leviticus 12:1-4
For seven days after a woman gives birth, she is ritually unclean as she is during her monthly period. It will be 33 days until she is ritually clean from the loss of blood; she is not to touch anything that is holy.


The Igbo tribe is in a serious problem and danger of extinction for the following reasons:

50% of Igbos are born outside Igbo land. Meaning that those children are not likely to live and work in Igbo land and cannot speak Igbo language but foreign language (Yoruba, Hausa, French, English).

40% of Igbos girls between the age of 25 & 45 are single with no hope of marriage because 35% of Igbo boys live overseas and they have all married white ladies.

75% of Igbo youths leave Igbo land every year in search of opportunities in Yoruba, Hausa land or overseas.

85 % of Igbos have family houses and own investments outside Igbo land. They strongly believe in one Nigeria but failed to know that NO Yoruba or Hausa man has a family house or investment in Igbo land.

Igbos are the only people who believe that living outside their land is an achievement.

Igbos are the only tribe that celebrate their tradition outside their land e.g. Eze Ndi Igbo, Igbo Village in America and this is because they have family homes in foreign lands.

Igbos have failed to know that the children you have outside Igbo land especially overseas will never think of living in Igbo land. So what happens to the properties you are building for them when you are gone?

Igbos are the only tribe who see their land as a place to visit or a tourist site than a place to work and live.

Igbos are the only tribe who instead of promoting and appreciating their culture through movies and documentaries they have sought to ridicule it by portraying rituals, killings, wickedness, love for money and other social vices which were not originally inherent in our culture thereby cursing more harm than actually promoting their culture.

Igbos are the only people who without hesitation believe their history and description when it is told or written by an enemy or a foreigner. E.g. that you do not love yourselves or that you love money.

Igbos are the ONLY largest tribe on earth who fought for their independence and failed to achieve their freedom after 40 years.

Igbos are the only tribe who fails to honour their brave heroes and heroines especially the innocent children starved to death during the Biafran war.

Igbos are the only tribe who embraced their enemy after a bloody civil war and subsequently become slaves.

Igbos do not find it necessary to teach their own version of history to their children.

Igbos fight for marginalisation in Nigeria but has no collective strength or teeth to bite.

Igbos how long are you going to fight for your relevance in Nigeria?

How long are you going to fight for a functional airport, rail networks and other structural establishments that underpin sustainable development?

How long are you prepared to wait for your enemy to guide you to your destiny?

Oh Igbos!
Where are your leaders?

Unfortunately, none of them live and work in Igbo land. If you wish to save the future of your children, your identity, your generation and your race then you need freedom and that freedom is Biafra.

Ukpana Okpoko gburu bu nti chiri ya!

By Chime Eze

The Igbo: We die for causes, not for personalities

Written by Emeka Maduewesi

~on fb. 28th September, 2016.

The Igbo will never die for anyone. We will not even riot for anyone. But the Igbo will die for any cause they believe in because the Igbo have a true sense of justice and a determination to obtain it.

The Igbo will not riot because one of their own lost an election. Operation Wetie was the Western response to a massively rigged 1965 election. The Yoruba doused fellow Yorubas in petrol and burnt them alife. Properties were burnt with occupants. The Igbo will never do this.

In 1983, the Yoruba went on a rampage again over the massive rigging by NPN. Lifes were lost and properties destroyed. The riots were over personalities.

Contrast that with Anambra State where Chief Emeka Ojukwu was rigged out by his own NPN, who also rigged out Chief Jim Nwobodo. The Igbo did not protest because the goat's head is still in the goat's bag.

In the North, ba muso was the battle cry when Sultan Dasuki was imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate. The riot and protest lasted for days and crippled economic activities.

The Igbo will riot over issues and causes. The Aba Women Riot was over Tax. The Enugu coal mine riot was about conditions of service. The Ekumeku Uprising was over British colonialization.

Those of "Ekumeku" ancestry - Umu Eze Chima and Umu Nri - were at the forefront of the struggles for Nigerian independence, with people like Dr. A A Nwafor Orizu and Chief Osita Agwuna serving prison terms. Any struggles the parents could not conclude is continued by the children by other means.

The Biafran war was a response to the genocide. The war in fact was brought upon us. The battlefield was Eastern Region. The war ended in 1970 but the issues and causes were not resolved. That is where we are today.

The Igbo will also jointly rise to fight evil in their midst. They did it in Onitsha in the 1980's, Owerri in the 90's, and with Bakkassi in the 2000.

The Igbo will not die for any man. But the Igbo will stand by any man who symbolizes their cause and their pursuit of justice. Even if the man dies, the struggle continues, and like the Ekumeku warriors, the children will pick up the baton from their parents.

This is the Igbo I know, the Igbo I am, and the Igbo we are. This is my story. Feel free to tell yours.


"My boy, may you live to your full potential, ascend to a dizzy height as is possible for anyone of your political description in your era to rise. May you be acknowledged world-wide as you rise as an eagle atop trees, float among the clouds, preside over the affairs of fellow men.... as leaders of all countries pour into Nigeria to breathe into her ear.

But then, Chuba, if it is not the tradition of our people that elders are roundly insulted by young men of the world, as you have unjustly done to me, may your reign come to an abrupt and shattering close. As you look ahead, Chuba, as you see the horizon, dedicating a great marble palace that is the envy of the world, toasted by the most powerful men in the land, may the great big hand snatch it away from you. Just as you look forward to hosting the world’s most powerful leader and shaking his hands, as you begin to smell the recognition and leadership of the Igbo people, may the crown fall off your head and your political head fall off your shoulders.

None of my words will come to pass, Chuba, until you have risen to the very height of your power and glory and health, but then you will be hounded and humiliated and disgraced out of office, your credibility and your name in tatters forever...”


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