FEATURE ARTICLE

E O EkeSunday, May 21, 2017
eoeke@aol.com


THE RESTRUCTURE OF NIGERIA IS NON-NEGOTIABLE

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ince president Mohammadu Buhari came to power, there has been a continued and sustained attempt to convert Nigerian political problems into armed conflicts.

He has pursued a policy of collective punishment and intimidation in Igbo land to provoke IPOB to respond in a violent way to label them a terrorist group.

Unsuccessful attempts have been been made by the military to frame suspected IPOB members for crimes they did not commit.

In spite of lack of evidence that IPOB is interested in pursuing its objectives in any way, but political, the government has continued to militarise south East Nigeria. It is obvious from the above that the government has other reasons for her actions.

In the period, hundreds of unarmed Igbo youth have been arrested, tortured and detained without trial and many more have been executed extrajudicially. Peaceful gatherings of people have been invade, the people brutalised and arrested and detained with trial under the guise that they are IPOB meeting.

In the time Buhari has been in power, South East Nigeria has become a military occupied region. The government is building a new army brigade, the 61 brigade in Port Harcourt, the number of police and military road blocks in East Nigeria has sky rocketed, and the army have been conducting extrajudicial killings, intimidation and extortion in the region. All these to intimidate and frighten the people to give up self determination.

It is unbelievable that the government would withdraw soldiers fighting Boko Haram and send them to east Nigeria to harass and intimidate people going about their business in peaceful way and manner. At the same time, it pays Boko Haram to release girls it abducted, which a serious army would have liberated long ago.

I condemn in the strongest of words the military occupation of South East Nigeria, the subjection of Igbo youth to extra judicial killings, the unlawful detention without trial of many Igbo youth, the intimidation and extortion that is go in on in the many police and army road blocks along many roads in South East Nigeria and the targeting of Nigerian customs of mostly Igbos by setting up road blocks on roads leading to South East Nigeria, while non exist else where.

I remind the Nigerian government that the problem of Nigeria is not in South East Nigeria. It is in north east Nigeria, where Boko Haram is fighting a jihad and committing unspeakable atrocities.

The problem of Nigeria is the discriminatory polices of the Buhari government that concentrates development in the north and starved south East of development, sells dollars to northers under the guise of pilgrimage at 197 Naira to a dollar and to others, at 490 to a dollar, and refuses to accord airports and sea ports in south east Nigeria the same freedom and investment to develop like the ones in the north and west.

The problem of Nigeria is in the pursuit of sectarian agenda like implementation of sharia laws in north Nigeria and not the desire for civil society under the rule of law by marginalised and discriminated Igbo youth.

There is no reason for the military show of force in south East Nigeria. It is a crude attempt by a government, which wants to rule by force and diktat and a military that trains its soldiers in the most dehumanising and barbaric of ways, which has no regard for human rights and democratic process and has lost its sense of professionalism.

The Buhari administration must be reminded that Intimidation does not stop those who believe in freedom. It only makes the people more determined to free themselves from a country and power, which rule them by force and treats them with contempt.

It is ununderstandable that at a time, when Nigeria soldiers in north East are not provided with the resources and equipment they need to fight terrorists and do not have even water and are dying from thirst, that Buhari is pouring soldiers into South East Nigeria in pursuit of personal vendetta and sectarian agenda.

It must be said that no democratic government, which derives its power from the people, has the right to use the military in the way Buhari administration is using the Nigerian army in South east Nigeria.

The saddest part of this unfolding madness is the silence and cold indifference of Igbo leaders. Cowardice is not appropriate word to describe their response, for cowards show awareness of the danger they lack courage to confront.

While Enugu state is hosting sultan of Sokoto, Nigeria soldiers are intimidating people in Abia state and subjecting them to the indignity and humiliation of stop and search. No people can tolerate such humiliation for ever.

This lack of leadership in Igbo land is pushing IPOB, to enter a very dangerous, unwise and irresponsible stage in its struggle. This is what Buhari would want to justify his unjustifiable military response.

I am concerned that IPOB, is issuing threats and wish to remind its leadership that Very little is achieved by threats in problems of this nature.

When organisations like IPOB resort to threats and intimidation, instead of persuasion and civil and peaceful protests, they lose friends and support and give the oppressor the reason they need for their unjustifiable actions.

No matter the provocation by the Buhari government, IPOB should remain committed to achieving self determination by nonviolent means.

Of course, by self determination I mean: "the process by which a country or people determines its own statehood and forms its own allegiances and government".

Those who have the ears of IPOB, should advice them to seek ways to convert their public support into political capital, which they can invest in Nigerian polity in pursuit of their aims.

It is not wise to poke the bee hive, if one has nothing to harvest the honey.

The reasons for the agitation for self- determination is genuine, and shared by most Igbos, and other Nigerians, but they would not approve of violent method to achieve the desired result.

IPOB should be told that people do not win in the struggle for self determination because their oppressors have been unfair to them, that they win because they fight smart.

Having said the above. I must restate that it is the lack of leadership in Igbo land that is driving IPOB to desperate measures.

Igbos in leadership position from governors, senators, legislators heads of Igbo organisations, traditional rulers and religious leaders should meet and produce appropriate response to the problem that organisations like IPOB are exploiting. If they fail, IPOB will precipitate more suffering and insecurity for all.

Let it known that Fulani herdsmen terrorism and ethnic cleansing, extrajudicial killings of peaceful Biafran protesters and suspected members of IPOB, the beheading of Igbo woman in Kano and acquittal of those who killed her and operation Python dance are all trial balloons. They are test of our resolve as a people and how much Islamic north can get away with.

Buhari is attempting to condition Nigerians to accept the rule of force and force as a means of settling political differences and problems.

He is not a man of ideas. He is a believer in the teaching of prophet Mohammed. He kills Igbos who are protesting for Biafra. He kills Shia Muslims who are protesting injustice. He bombs Niger deltans who are asking for end of unfair exploitation of oil. Why would any body believe that he will yield to reason?

Just look at the extent of spread of violence in Nigeria, since Buhari became president. He, like many Brutes before him, hates ideas and wants Nigerians to stop thinking and just do as he says.

If I have learnt anything in my life, it is that people mean what they say and those who tell you people do not mean what they say lie to you and those who try to explain it are trying to deceive you.

I look at what a person says, look at what he has done in the past and look at history, I then prepare for how what the person says will affect me and wait. Igbos and all well meaning Nigerians need to wake up and stop the abuse of power taking place in South East Nigeria and compel Buhari to return to the rule of law and leave the path of autocracy and perfidy.

APC, PDP and Buhari are not the future. They are the terminal stage of a decadent past, marred by autocracy, brutality and corruption.

Nigerian youth can be the future, only if they have the courage to seize the moment and proclaim the vision for a Nigeria under the rule of law, guided by civil values and respect for individual freedom.

No one can achieve anything by docile conformity or seeking to please those who oppress him. It is time to dream a new dream for Nigeria. This barbarism must now come to an end.

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