In this publication
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
LET WISDOM AND REASON GUIDE ON NIGERIA AND BIAFRA
A PLEA TO MY PEOPLE
I have decided to continue to make my case for a future for Igbos within a restructured Nigeria under the rule of law. Hence, the article below, which I first argued in an Igbo forum last year, shortly before the government moved against IPOB.
The issues Igbos face in Nigeria is not peculiar to us. However, we seem bent on approaching it in the way that will ensure the worst outcome.
We seen to ignore the very first thing we need to do, which is organising our politics in Nigeria around the problems we face in Nigeria.
This will be the foundation of our success. Without it, the federal government will rightly see those agitating for Biafra as trouble makers and will with time, harden attitude towards them.
The Biafran struggle needs to metamorphose into struggle against, corruption, bad government and injustices against Igbos and others in Nigeria.
The support it enjoys amongst Igbos should be converted into political currency to enlighten our society and elect honest and informed people, who share the passion for civil, better and fairer society, ending discrimination against Igbos and believe in accountable government. Such leaders would be in the best position to demand for restructure of the country into a true federation and make informed choices about our future.
It would be difficult to actualise Biafra, when those, who seek her actualisation are not part of mainstream politics, disregard constituted authorities and are interested in exploiting the franchise for personal gains.
These and more are the facts, which those agitating for Biafra have chosen to ignore as they take advantage of the people. This is part of what I argued long before Radio Biafra.
The way forward.
For more than six years I have warned about the danger of the type of ethnic nationalism that is fuelling the agitation for Biafra. I have said and continue to say that it is an ill wind.
Unless reasonable and enlightened Igbos speak out, the Biafran populism will destroy us and set us back hundreds of years.
Biafra cannot be a logical response to the the failure of Igbo leadership to make marginalisation of Igbos the centre of their politics in Nigeria.
What Igbos need is to address the failure of leadership in Igboland. Once the right kind of people are in leadership positions, they will focus on addressing the injustices against Igbos, the anomalies in Nigerian system and marginalisation of Igbo land.
Such a leadership would be bold and vocal in demanding even development, and restructure that will deliver the condition for regional development and resist the march of extreme Islam, marginalisation of minorities in the north, rising tide of toxic ethnic nationalism all over Nigeria and northern domination.
The devolution of power should be to the regions and must never be to the states. The states should become governing units of the regions, and each region should have one regional parliament, Judicial system and premier or governor.
Restructure should result in a new political structure of six regions and do away with state structure and deliver a country, where leaders can be held to account. This will strengthen Nigerian unity, reduce the cost of governance and make the regions viable.
Any attempt to devolve more power to states in the name of restructure will be death nail to Nigeria as we see it. It will further increase the already very high cost of government and let lose clannish and toxic ethnic nationalism that will destroy Nigerian unity.
Nigerian governors, with very few exception, have not demonstrated that they can use more powers in ways that would advance democracy, accountability to create a free and equitable society.
The restructure that Nigeria needs has to be bold, rise above sectarian considerations, well thought and economically viable out to succeed.
I hope Nigerians can see the need to build a free society based on civil values instead of fragmenting along ethnic and religious fault lines and fanning the flame of sectarianism and extremism.
Restructure of Nigeria into six regions is in my view is, a reasonable politics that will tame corruption, ensure even development, restore patriotism, ensure healthy competition and allow creativity and innovation to flourish.
The politics of secession as advocated by IPOB,MASSOB and co, though appealing to emotion, is almost always corrosive, shortsighted and rarely delivers the heaven it promises. It is often lead by men and women who over value ethnic identity, and hide behind the anger of the people to pursue their quest for power and domination of others.
Such individuals have very little regard for individual freedom and seek to impose what they believe is in the best interest of the society on all. They are almost always autocrats and leave in their wake, suffering, discord and broken societies.
Secession appeals to people who wish to have their own country on the basis of ethnicity. It is divisive and often leaves in its wake, divided societies.
No people can fight for independence , without a political structure, sustainable funding, allies and ability to respond to aggression.
Any attempt to pursue independence without these structure is attempt to take advantage of the people to achieve personal objectives.
Even within Nigeria, igbos have not effectively utilised existing democratic institutions to hold the federal government to account for injustices and crimes against humanity committed against us, and those agitating for Biafra are giving the federal government reason to commit more atrocities against Igbos.
I am a Biafran, just as I am Igbo, British and Nigerian. We live in a world of multiple identities and the overriding identity is subscribing to civil values, which allows peaceful, fair and democratic societies under the rule of law to emerge.
To latch on to a single primitive identity like ethnicity as a rallying point in response to injustice is tribalism, a corrosive form of collectivism, which appeals to man's worst instincts.
It creates mistrust, endangers unity increases insecurity and leads to a fragmented society. There is no need to create a them against us attitude in a problem, whose cause lies in human nature.
The injustices in Nigeria is against many other minorities including non Muslims, Shia Muslims and ethnic minorities in the north and middle belt, whose villages are being ethnically cleansed and occupied by Fulani herdsmen.
Humanity is at its best, when people work together irrespective of ethnicity and religion to uphold justice as fairness, equality of all under the law, individual freedom, the rule of law, and fight on principle or civil values. We are stronger and better together.
It is time to let reason and wisdom to guide.
THE IGBO RANT
BIBLICAL TRADITIONS OF NDI IGBO BEFORE THE MISSIONARIES CAME TO AFRICA* IGBO 101.
THE IGBO TRIBE AND ITS FEAR OF EXTINCTION
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.
RT. HON. DR. NNAMDI AZIKIWE TO DR. CHUBA OKADIGBO (1981)
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