|Sunday, January 20, 2019|
ver the years, IPOB’s demand for a republic has grown from what many once called a huge joke into what can easily be called a ‘threat that can no longer be ignored’. It is important to note that even though this demand cannot be said to be a reflection of the collective aspiration of the Ibo race – both within and abroad; it remains one subject that draws up sentiments from everyone directly or indirectly concerned with the situation of Nd’igbo in Nigeria.
Recently, the group came on quite strongly again with the threat to ensure that elections were boycotted in Abia and Ebonyi states respectively. This is one election year that many Nigerians – particularly those who have never voted before are actively involved because they know that the country’s politics was currently in deep waters. The 2019 election in the eyes of many Nigerians is a decider of the fate of this federation; given the hell that a great number of the people have been through in the 3 ½ years of the APC government.
Yet, the same election is been taken for granted by the IPOB. Unfortunately, what many have not really paid attention to and I believe – the IPOB as well – is the responsibility aspect of both the demand to boycott the election as well as that of a republic of Biafra. One of the things that have made humanity quite a comedy to watch is how people tend to believe people even when they are yet to be shown any prove of seriousness. Universally, it is accepted that talk is cheap and that action speaks louder than words but the consistent believe in the IPOB by most Ibos remained an irony.
Has it ever occurred to anyone before now to find out why the IPOB was yet to back its demand for a republic with a bold step of mapping out fields and then constructing housing estates that’ll accommodate those they wanted to come back to the east as Biafrans? Has it ever occurred to anyone to also find out why that the IPOB group does not applaud worthy venture – like road networks, boreholes, cargo airport, electrification projects etc – embarked upon by governors of the southeast region but was always on time to criticize these governors as if they are doing the part of an opposition?
There is a responsibility side to every demand and decision. When the APC and its president decided to sell the CHANGE MANTRA to the Nigerian people in 2014, they did not know that there was a responsibility side to that action and, it is no surprise today that they still struggled to make a mark. When young people make certain decisions, they constantly failed – in my estimation – to understand that there is a responsibility side to that decision. This is why – for instance – we have more marriages ending in a divorce today.
For me, IPOB and the call for a boycott mean one and the same thing: SELF-MARGINALIZATION! If the group had taken time to fathom the cost of what they demanded in terms of its political implication for Nd’igbo; chances are that they would abandon the cause. If they had sat down to draw up a plan on how to provide infrastructures like rail lines, roads and electricity before demanding a republic; chances are that they would abandon the demand.
For the group to think that in this age and time of so many struggles, Nd’igbo will again fall for cheap gimmicks in the name of Biafra was sign that insanity was taking a toll on their mental faculty. But of course, if they took the bold step (to count the monetary as much as the humanity implications) and embarked on provision of basic amenities first so that life will be easy and different from what obtained during the Civil War for the people; many will buy into their aspiration for the republic.
I have concerned myself with what went on in the mind of these folks to the point of writing the book – THE ORIGIN OF IGBO MARGINALIZATION IN NIGERIA. Perhaps, I’ll avail for us an excerpt to enable us get a glimpse of it. Self-marginalization is a very dangerous thing. The calls for a boycott of elections in the southeast will achieve only one end and that will be to further plunge the Ibo race into the ditch of political oblivion.
I don’t care whether the big shots in Igboland or the guys in the diaspora financed the group. What I care about is to let the Ibos understand that no group or person was serious about Biafra if they have not yet committed themselves to the provision of basic amenities first. I mean, how do you expect an individual who well off in Nigeria to now live in cramped apartments or thatch houses because of Biafra?
How do you expect a millionaire capitalist to now scale down in Biafra without even a form of compensation for his former status? Now, if the Ibos boycotted the elections and that translated into electoral victory for APC, what shall we say they’d done to Dr. Peter Obi? Simple answer: that Nd’igbo does not understand the implications of self-marginalization. They are yet to understand that a man must fight for and secure a place to spread his mat first before he fights for the mat.
EXCERPT FROM MY BOOK:
It is worthy of note that the desire of any irresponsible government - who finds itself in power - is to have the citizens divided against one another. Why? Because therein lies their strength to marginalize, oppress and subdue. So long as leadership cannot divide the people; it cannot marginalize the people.
But when constituted authority finds itself in command of a people who cannot bring themselves together in order that they may be able to demand accountability from leadership; it rejoices greatly due to the ease it had to marginalize.
The situation of Nd'igbo in Nigeria, has long necessitated a gathering of this nature in view of the fact that the Igbo ethnic group today and by extension the other Christian tribes, looked more like an endangered ethnic group than a member of the federal republic of Nigeria.
The marginalization - which was once hidden - has become an open affair now. Suddenly, Igbo marginalization has become a burning issue. However, the nature of this marginalization - unlike what is obtained elsewhere in Africa - has been discovered to be the consequence of disunity of the Ibos.
In other words, the strength of this marginalization is derived from the division that existed among the people in question whether they were Ibos or the other Christian tribes in Nigeria. Many of us gathered here can still remember the proverb: CAN A HOUSE BE DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF AND STILL STAND?
What this means is that the marginalization of any tribe begins whenever there was division within the tribe. Hence, the only way to stop it was to STOP FIGHTING ONE ANOTHER. ND'IGBO MUST COME TOGETHER AGAIN IN UNITY. WE MUST FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER, LOVE ONE ANOTHER AND LEARN TO WORK WITH A COLLECTIVE SPIRIT.
When this is done WHATEVER MARGINALIZED US BEFORE NOW WILL DISAPPEAR! If you ask me, our revered Ikemba Nnewi pointed us to politics after the Civil War and himself became an example. So, if we loved him we must follow his steps.
He gave us the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) as seal that politics was the way to go. Through politics, it has been found that people who shared similar ideologies or afflictions easily came together to associate and agree.
We must therefore come together, think together and work together. We must embrace politics and endeavor to master its pros and cons. We must assume the responsibility of selecting and sending to political positions; persons who are credible and can serve us well.
Before now our style of politics has been those of unnecessary competition. So I say it was time we put our house in order that we may stand to demand our fair share of Nigeria. I say it was time we took the Ahiara Declaration of 1969 seriously.
I say it was time we saved ourselves by acknowledging that politics has become an effective means for ETHNIC PRESERVATION! What Comrade Ifeanyichukwu Mmoh put down on the pages of this book is aimed at not just to inform Nd'igbo but to also wake up the other Christian tribes to the reality that the time for serious political participation is NOW!