Friday, August 16, 2019

have hoped and prayed that Nigeria would continue to exist as one united country and move towards secular democracy as I prefer Igbos to remain a part of a great and prosperous democratic Nigeria.

Unfortunately, this has not been the case and there is no evidence to suggest that those who harbour the delusion that Nigeria is Allah's gift to them, are about to regain their insight.

The death nail to Nigeria as a united country would seem to have been hammered in, when the northern states adopted sharia laws. Since then, Nigeria has been fighting a losing battle to preserve her secular democratic values, unity and survival as one united country under a just and democratic constitution.

The utterances and policies of Buhari and governors like El Rufai of Kaduna State and Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara state, which advocate and propagate the intolerant, primitive and prejudice form of Islam have not helped. Even more worrying, is the increasing assertive pronouncements of the Sultan of Sokoko, Abubakar Sa’ad, which seek to impose Islam all over Nigeria.

The resurgence of nepotism under Buharii, which has resulted in all major positions in Nigeria being headed by Fulanis or northern Muslims is tantamount to hooking Nigeria on life support.

It is an attempt to hold Nigeria together by force for sectarian objectives and it is unsustainable. It cannot infuse life into comatose Nigeria. Gladly, the good thing about life support is that it is switched off in the end.

Those who want to secede from Nigeria on their own terms should not underestimate the fact that Buhari is heading a government, which has equipped and empowered the army and police to become a massive coercive apparatus with which to crush those who seek freedom from Nigeria on their own terms.

Therefore, when Buhari says, Nigeria will not tolerate Biafra, it is not an empty threat. It is an expression of his intention to use disproportionate force to suppress any agitation and intimidate the undecided. We have already seen this in the high handed approach to IPOB and the python dances by the army in Igbo land and the refusal of the government to designate Fulani herdsmen and Miyetti Allah as terrorists organisations.

It also amuses me because Biafra has already been made inevitable by the actions of those, who violet the constitution of a secular democracy and abuse statutory powers to pursue ethnic and Islamic agenda by implement discriminatory policies.

They fail to understand that arresting , detaining and killing peaceful demonstrators do not stop those fighting for freedom. They seem unaware that their repression will radicalise a new generation and convince them that they have no future in Nigeria.

All Nigerians, who understand the threat radical Islam pose to individual liberty and democracy, will fight for self determination, if it becomes the only way to free themselves from the autocratic nightmare, which the north wishes to impose on Nigeria in the name of Islam, of the type the Islamists advocate.

The challenge is to educate Nigerians who yearn for freedom as a group to employ wisdom and tact so that they are not exploited by those, whose real motive is to exploit the the yearning for freedom to gain power and fame in Nigeria.

Marginalisation, underdevelopment and exclusion of Igbos regions from investments have alienated Igbos from Nigeria and left the many Igbo youth with no sense of belonging.

It is impossible to dream of a United Nigeria in any form, without addressing the just grievances of Biafrians and putting an end to the Islamic agenda of the north.

This is why I see no reason for agitation in ways that will give a blood thirsty tyrant reason to spill the blood of Igbo youth and why the agitation must continue politically, diplomatically and economically to address the ways power is being used in Nigeria to advance sectarian objectives.

The break up of Nigeria will become a reality, when Islam, greed, intolerance and prejudices of the north, finally forces the other ethnic groups to realise that no people can share a country with a people who want sharia or death.

It is therefore very clear that the deceleration of sharia in north Nigeria is an own goal for which north has no one, but itself to blame.

In the meantime, it is the duty of all progressive leaders to identify the injustices embedded in the Nigerian system, sensitise the people against it and seek to remedy them by exploiting existing judicial and democratic processes, starting by demanding for a new constitution.

In this wise, I whole heartedly welcome the attempt by legislators from the the South East, to table a motion for the establishment of the over due South East Development Commission SEDC.

This attempt is a welcome departure from the attitude of indifference and passivity, which characterised the politics of Igbo leaders for a long time.

The failure of Igbo leaders to articulate and provide honest and visionary leadership contributed in no small measure to the resurgence of the agitation for Biafra.

Nevertheless, majority of Igbo leaders are yet to wake up to the reality of the politics of Igbo land.

For instance, there has not been any demonstrable attempt by the Anambra state government to find out the truth about the Ezu river bodies and identify the perpetrators and, bring them to justice.

More than 8 years after they were killed, no commission of inquiry has been set up and the people responsible for this crime continue to wear Nigerian police and army uniforms.

Why would the government take seriously a people who show such disregard for the lives of their youth? Igbos and all ethnic groups which have suffered from prosecution of Islamic agenda in Nigeria must seek Justice, and stand up against islamisation, while they remain part and parcel of Nigeria.

The same thing can be said for the attitude of Abia state government to the massacre at Niational High School Aba.

What is intriguing is why Igbo leaders are not asking the right questions about Igbo youth killed extrajudicially or detained without trial in cells, where they are subjected to toture

On the contrary, El Rufai, Kaduna state governor, who has presided over crimes against humanity against Christians minorities and Shia Muslims threatened people who kill Fulanis, saying , they are incurring a debt, which they would pay at a later date. This is in spite of the fact that it is fulanis that are killing other people in Nigeria and wiping out many villages in southern Kaduna and Middle belt.

Take census and elections for more instances. Those pursuing Islamic agenda in the north engage in electoral irregularities and outright crimes, which are not challenged.

In the north, underage children vote at elections, while non northerners living in the north are prevented from voting and southern leaders say nothing.

The census statistic fails to capture religion and ethnicity. This is a deliberate attempt to obscure any fact that may challenge the false assumptions about population figures.

Capturing these data may expose the truthful fact that Igbos are much larger in number, widely spread and make up significantly population of their host communities.

By not identifying ethnicity, the state figures are falsely regarded as representing the indigenous population, obscuring the minorities living in the state. At the same time, it allows the states to continue to discriminate on the basis of ethnicity.

A census that captures ethnicity and religion will also expose the fact that, if elections in Nigeria are free and fair, Igbos and other non-indigenes may be determining the outcome in many states.

This is because at every election, the votes of indigenous population Would be split between the two or more sons or daughters of the soil and, only the candidate that would persuade non-indigenes in the state, would win.

During the 2015 election, the Oba of Lagos recognised this and decided to threaten and intimidate Igbos. He talked about drowning Igbos in Lagoons, if they voted for party he did not support.

In the future, if Nigerian democracy continues to falter, threat and intimidation would not work. This is why Nigerians have to insist on true democracy, which does not allow any ethnic group to do what the north is doing, under Buhari.

Nigerians must not accept any arrangement that will give the regions power to discriminate on the basis of ethnicity and or religion.

The rights of all Nigerians must be guaranteed in every region and discrimination on the basis of ethnicity or religion made illegal.

Some people from other regions of Nigeria agitating for restructure want a region that belongs to their ethnic group, where non indigenes are regarded and treated as aliens in their own country.

This is why we must ensure that people first explain in details, what they mean by restructure of Nigeria.

If a restructured Nigeria, which gives indigenous population any right or recognition in their region that is not available to non-indigenes is allowed to emerge, Nigeria would have created enclaves of xenophobia, and discriminations. Hellholes from, which there would be no escape.

This would even be more disastrous than the present arrangement and will only give the regions power to discriminate and exploit non-indigenes.

In this wise, I cannot say it enough that Nigeria need as leaders, people who can say that they have no Skeleton in their cupboard, people who are well informed, courageous and can openly say, they are not corrupt, people who will not be corrupted and able to speak out and up for freedom, rule of law democracy, justice and fight for equality of all people.

I suppose, it is time to look for new kind of leaders, who have the vision and conviction to lead the country. Nigerians cannot continue to do the same thing by selecting as leaders, the same kind of people whose greed, cowardice, prejudices and ignorance caused our woes, and expect anything to change. Change starts by making the right choice.

In the meantime, I hope that Nigeria progressives can come together to rescue Nigeria from Islamists and chart a true democratic future for the county. It is the only way to prevent the disintegration of Nigeria.