If IPOB stood for and was ran as the Indigenous People of Biafra by the young Igbo man named Nnamdi Kanu, holding seminars and conferences across the length and breadth of the Igbo nation, sensitizing his people to the evil of economic slavery inherent in a system that makes the Igbo state governors monthly allocation earners from Abuja and sitting as fraudsters against their people by sustaining such as a system, perhaps today, Kanu would have earned for himself the modern day reincarnate of Dim Odumegu Ojukwu and Nnamdi Azikiwe, two Igbo heroes.
But unfortunately, IPOB was ran as standing for the Independent People of Biafra and adorning the regalia of a freedom fighters’ organization within Nigeria. How possible and permissible is that within our laws and the tenets of democracy? What is then the difference between the campaigns of IPOB and Boko Haram or the Shiite group of Kaduna state? IPOB held itself out as a direct and calculated political affront and provocation against the Buhari administration. It is very far away from the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) which was the fore-runner to it in its violence content.
As far as commonsense is concerned, there is no difference between the Avengers and IPOB and the bitter truth is that both have their roots in the infamy of corruption and political cum leadership failures of our ruling elites. They are for sure funded with our resources by our political actors and against our country to cause confusion and take pounds of flesh. This is why “the more you look, the less you see” at unraveling the spirits behind these thorns in our flesh just like Boko Haram funding remains a misery till date.
Separatists are the naive interpreters of the incendiary actors’ activities whose poverty of knowledge cannot allow reasoning and sighting beyond figures and very limited space and hence quickly reduce everything to “the fewer, the merrier”. To these people, it doesn’t matter how long we have come together and how prosperous we have become in the process.
It is very difficult for them to reason that even husband and wife of a nuclear family don’t agree on everything all the time. They quickly forget that the Ijebus and Ekitis of the same Yoruba stalk have their differences so much so that until recent times they hardly inter-marry whereas the Oyos regarded both as subjects of conquered territories by the old Oyo Empire.
Such thread as this is common to every other regions of Nigeria. The Umuleri vs Aguleri, Ijaw vs Itsekiri, Tiv vs Jukuns, Kanuris vs Hausa before the Fulanis ravaged all of them. So how many countries indeed are we going to have if the solution to every agitation is separation? Then there may not even be husband and wife standing again.
Haters belong in bulk to two main classes – those whose fortunes and calculations have been affected badly by the change of government at the Centre and those whose baggage are just too heavy to be washed away and hence have resigned to their fate to continue to fight until their death which is sure to come.
They whip along as they weep inconsolably. They masquerade their hatred with the mask of partisanship but eventually they are going to be exorcised into their own new party – Haters & Looters Party. Whilst the separatists can be excused on account of their naivety and poverty of knowledge, Haters cannot be so helped because of their conceited wickedness against Nigerian common folks whose ignorance they enjoy taking for a ride and for which they are facing reckoning now.
Unity of Nigeria
I opined should continue to be discussed at all times towards the ends of solidifying and consolidating it. I cannot understand negotiating the unity of Nigeria – For what and in whose interest? Are we such short-sighted and nebulous?
With discussion can’t we correct even a badly negotiated agreement even if that was the case since we have the opportunity of a democracy? Why will those who kept quiet about the structure of Nigeria during the military regimes wake up to become soldiers of renegotiation of Nigeria’s unity now that we are in a democracy? Is this supposed to be an act of sabotage to the ripened issue of restructuring Nigeria to make it conform with the ideals of a true federation or an ambush of the trophy of a sophisticated intellectual battle that has remained for so many decades on the pan-Nigeria agenda of south west of Nigeria as championed by the late sage and political leader cum liberator- Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo.
The southwest has been and still remains the copyright owner of the Restructuring of Nigeria thesis but has never threatened war or secession against Nigeria. Instead, it has remained steadfast on this demand in the belief that it is the safest route to an economically strong, prosperous and United Nigeria. This age long campaign which is now very popular across the north/south divide and about yielding result should not be corrupted and contaminated in the course of trying to steal the show.
Why must a single life be lost when we all are represented in the council of state as well as the National Assembly? If you don’t like your governor as your representative at the council of state or your reps and senators as members of the National Assembly, then the opportunity to vote a Kanu next time is just around the corner. After all, the reality and beauty of democracy is in the opportunity of a choice of the type of leaders the majority of the people wanted to lead them at a time. The outstanding beauty of Nigeria as a nation is in its heterogeneity. That is the only thing left that the world (West) can still admire in us and marvel haven successfully attacked our marriage and kinship system. They even predicted our disintegration with glee on the eve of our 2015 election believing that we will not survive that election and yet we are not self-cautioned. Nigeria is stronger, better and more beautiful as one indissoluble country than in weak splinters and this is a fact for all to cherish.
Nigeria was still an evolving country when the military struck in 1966 thus denying us the opportunity of bonding by evolution. Every enduring nation evolves through association and discussion and that was what our leaders at independence strived at achieving: one North by (Ahmadu) Bello, one Western region by Awo and a monolithic East by Zik. Each had his headaches at the bonding. The middle belt state didn’t like to be part of the northern region, the COR state wanted to be separate from the Eastern region while the Edo-Delta wanted to be calved out of the western region. The Edo-Deltans were the first to realize their dream in 1964 with the creation of the Mid-west region without the loss of a single soul on that account. If we have continued in that evolution, we would have had the COR (Calabar, Ogoja,Rivers) state from the east and the middle belt state from the north in the least. Whatever number we have in terms of regions by now however would have followed a determinable pattern and had a democratic basis and most likely all would have been without losing a single life. This is why we must redirect our compass to the spirit of the 1963 constitution to continue the journey of our nationhood symbolically from where the military interrupted us.
Afolabi Ige, a political analyst is the chair at the Concerns for Democracy and Good Governance in Nigeria. Whatsapp: 08063054219.