FEATURE ARTICLE

Sunday, May 12, 2019
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Dublin, Ireland
THE IGBOS HAVE PROVED NOT TO BE A CONQUERED RACE!

"Weak men cannot handle power. It will either crush them, or they will use it to crush others." -- Jocelyn Murray

he last concluded Presidential election however defined the Igbo's political ideology despite the marginalisation and mal-treatment being meted on the tribe in the country's polity. This means that nothing can change their position when it comes to voicing out their mind through the electoral process.

The Presidential election has come and gone but the electoral malpractices and intimidation exhibited by the ruling political party the All Progressives Congress (APC) will remain a negative and indelible mark in the political history of Nigeria. But despite this, the South-east voted their conscience and proved to the Buhari's government that "you can only take the horse to the river but cannot compel it to drink water."

Since Buhari's first tenure in office 2015, he has not shown any sign of commitment or engagement towards the people of the south-east rather, all he unleashed was mayhem and brutality to anyone that opposes his regime. His attitude on lopsided appointments was clear evidence that the south-east was not included in his agenda. Buhari did not carry all ethnics along instead, he resorted on ethnic dichotomy. His stiff-neck attitude on favouritism and nepotism especially on the appointments of his Fulani kinsmen did not change in as much as public pejorative and opprobrious perception towards it.

The APC manipulation and intimidation during the last election was as the result of same old political mischief which constitutes the political landscape of the country. Lagos was a true case study on how politically divisive the country has become. The mayhem unleashed by Bola Ahmed Tinubu 'area boys' in Lagos State was just to intimidate and silence other ethnic communities especially the Igbos who are doing their legitimates business in the state to vote against their will and conscience. This is a sign of moral decadence and political injustice exhibited by the APC ruling Party. Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a political maverick who is building a political empire and his influence is gradually capturing across all south-west political horizon but unfortunately, his style of leadership is scurrilous and scuzzy which equally embedded on thuggery. The APC leadership as a ruling party has not shown any commitment that will justify it as a party of hope. Even after 4 years of its governance, it has not proved itself as a party that will bring change instead, the country is more deeply divided than ever.

Lagos state has been a melting pot in terms of tribal issues and ethnic confrontations between the Yorubas and other ethnic communities especially the people from the south-east the Igbos. However, era of Babatunde Fashola as a governor witnessed the deportation of 72 Igbos in Lagos state to their various states. And a similar case happened in 2015 governorship election when Oba of Lagos Rilwan Akiolu threatened the Igbos if they fail to vote for the Lagos State All Progressive Congress governorship candidate, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode. According to 'The Independent' newspaper of 15/04/2015 captioned "Ambode: How Oba of Lagos threatened Igbos in Lagos." The monarch reportedly told Igbo leaders in Lagos that he would "make life unbearable" for the Igbos if they frustrate efforts to ensure that Ambode emerges as the next governor of the state.

The question is how long the Igbos and other ethnic communities will continue to be humiliated? This has been the quotidian situation which has been going on several years in Lagos. They have been used as a political milch cow while the Yoruba politicians continued to dictate their fate of franchise for them.

Since after the civil war ended in 1970 the Igbos have embraced and championed the cause of Nigerian unity. They demonstrated this through commerce and business enterprise which they established and made their presence in all the states in the country. Bola Ahmed Tinubu should be reminded of his incautious behaviour by failing to recognise that Igbo's huge businesses in Lagos are part of the revenue which contributes immensely on the state annual fiscal budget. If the Igbos should withdraw their assets in Lagos state it will create a huge impact on the state economy. No country or state is indispensable. What formed the American Union today were different nationalities from all corners of the globe irrespective of colour, creed, religion, language or sexual orientation. America consists of the Hispanics, the Latinos, the African- Americans, Irish- Americans, and Native Americans that what makes the United States be the greatest country in the world.

If Nigeria as a nation cannot love and accommodate its citizens then what is the hope of those Nigerians in Diaspora? Nigerians that are living in Europe, America and other civilized economies have been treated with equal fairness by these nations but unfortunately, within Nigeria, the country becomes the enemy of itself. It becomes a nation that cannot care for it citizens, a nation where lives and properties cannot be secured, a nation that is drenched with corruption and a nation that has become a mockery in the eyes of the comity of nations. The ongoing pogrom in Kaduna and other parts of the northern states is a deliberate action to annihilate and depopulate a particular religious group.

The Buhari's government has been perfidious over the nation's security since his inception of office. The menace of the Boko Haram and the herdsmen around the country was signs of failure on the part of the government to address the security issues facing the nation. The country at the moment is at war which the government has failed to admit. The insecurity situation in the northern states has gone from bad to worst since President Buhari took over power in 2015. Some leading voices in the country have called on the government to proscribe the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN). The Global Integrity Crusade Network has given comprehensive and cogent reasons the IMN, should be proscribed and labelled as a national terrorist organisation. This group called Shiites have said to be breaching national peace, causing mayhem and making life a living hell for innocent citizens more especially people living in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja and its environs. However, Instead of the government to take action; they become obtuse and adamant.

Currently, the government is plotting to give out money to the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, (MACBAN) with the oodles amount of N100bn just to appease them to discontinue their gruesome killing and mayhem. The online newspaper 'Daily Post' of 06/05/2019 with the headline captioned "Ohanaeze warns Buhari government against offering Miyetti Allah '100bn' over insecurity." What a waste of resources? Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association is a dreaded terrorist organisation that has been going around the country under the aegis of 'herdsmen' killing innocent Nigerians and destroying their farmlands with herds. This is tax payer's money which could be used to help resurrect the country's dead educational system and improve healthcare services. Giving Miyetti Allah such amount of money is like robbing Peter to pay Paul which Buhari's government has engaged since his ascendance to power.

The operation 'Python Dance' which took place in Afara in Umuahia the hometown of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu is still fresh in our memories. Where the Nigerian Army stormed the town and killed innocent men, women and children. And at the same time; IPOB was immediately proscribed by the government and declared as a terrorist group. A peaceful and harmless group that was agitating for self-determination. However, the crushing of civilians by the army in the South-east was welcomed and applauded by Buhari's government as a mission well accomplished.

It was not surprising that the Igbos will be sidetracked from the scheme of things after the recent concluded general election. This was as a result of their out-pouring and massive support to the opposition party, the People's Democratic Party (PDP). The fallout of the election is the denial of the Igbos to partake and participate in some vital federal Character positions which at the moment, has eluded the South-east geopolitical zone. The office of the Senate President has been ceded to the Northeast; The Deputy Senate President is to the South-south, the Speaker of the House of Representatives to the South-west and the Deputy Speaker was ceded to the North Central and the Igbos were left out.

The Buhari's administration is the most divisive leadership ever witnessed in the country political history. The Igbos have been marginalised and discriminated for almost half a century since the end of the civil war but unfortunately, the country has failed to address the issue. It is obvious that Igbo is still yet to be accepted back in Nigeria after 49 years of the civil war. The Hausas and the few Yoruba oligarchs refused to let go, they see the leadership of the country as patrimony which they have conspired and vowed to hold the nation at halt just for their own personal greed. Until the nation is healed of the wounds of hatred, tribalism, corruption and nepotism these vices will continue to eat deeper in the fabric of our nation.

The recent appointments of the federal characters have exposed the weakness of the present government and the shenanigan being played by the APC party. They've failed to set the record straight when it matters most. The federal character appointments could have served as a uniting force especially now that country is deeply divided. That's why Brandon Sanderson postulated in his book, "the Alloy of Life" "The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones."

It is time for Nigeria to evaluate and modify the structures of its political system because presently, the country's political structure is in a state of melee as such that; the politicians had made it much obfuscated in defining the model of government that is being practised. The country's democracy is ridicule in the eyes of the world. Unfortunately, what has divided us as a nation such as race, civil war, religion and resources control were the unifying forces which great countries like the United States, United Kingdom and other Global North built upon as a model to their democracy. Until the country's leaders begin a journey of self-discovery by emancipating themselves from greed, perpetual lust of materialism and corruption the country's future will continue to remain incertitude.

Tit bits

https://www.independent.ng/ambode-oba-lagos-threatened-igbos-lagos/

https://dailypost.ng/2019/05/02/isis-al-qaeda-group-gives-agf-malami-21-reasons-proscribe-imn/

https://www.vanguardngr.com/2019/05/nass-leadership-apc-dragged-to-court-over-exclusion-of-south-east/

https://dailypost.ng/2019/05/06/ohanaeze-warns-buhari-govt-offering-miyetti-allah-n100bn-insecurity/?fbclid=IwAR3IuTkvwvqoILpOteI1h-qzMvosbLRtjlOwaOkkpMD7dGWF5zKGNvmBUnk

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