Friday, October 26, 2018

ince my last article, I have received a number of abusive emails from die hard Biafra supporters. I would like to assure them that I am not perturbed by their threats, abuses and rudeness.

I have decided to continue to make my case for a future for Igbos within a restructured Nigeria under the rule of law. Hence, the article below, which I first argued in an Igbo forum last year, shortly before the government moved against IPOB.

The issues Igbos face in Nigeria is not peculiar to us. However, we seem bent on approaching it in the way that will ensure the worst outcome.

We seen to ignore the very first thing we need to do, which is organising our politics in Nigeria around the problems we face in Nigeria.

This will be the foundation of our success. Without it, the federal government will rightly see those agitating for Biafra as trouble makers and will with time, harden attitude towards them.

The Biafran struggle needs to metamorphose into struggle against, corruption, bad government and injustices against Igbos and others in Nigeria.

The support it enjoys amongst Igbos should be converted into political currency to enlighten our society and elect honest and informed people, who share the passion for civil, better and fairer society, ending discrimination against Igbos and believe in accountable government. Such leaders would be in the best position to demand for restructure of the country into a true federation and make informed choices about our future.

It would be difficult to actualise Biafra, when those, who seek her actualisation are not part of mainstream politics, disregard constituted authorities and are interested in exploiting the franchise for personal gains.

These and more are the facts, which those agitating for Biafra have chosen to ignore as they take advantage of the people. This is part of what I argued long before Radio Biafra.

The way forward.

For more than six years I have warned about the danger of the type of ethnic nationalism that is fuelling the agitation for Biafra. I have said and continue to say that it is an ill wind.

Unless reasonable and enlightened Igbos speak out, the Biafran populism will destroy us and set us back hundreds of years.

Biafra cannot be a logical response to the the failure of Igbo leadership to make marginalisation of Igbos the centre of their politics in Nigeria.

What Igbos need is to address the failure of leadership in Igboland. Once the right kind of people are in leadership positions, they will focus on addressing the injustices against Igbos, the anomalies in Nigerian system and marginalisation of Igbo land.

Such a leadership would be bold and vocal in demanding even development, and restructure that will deliver the condition for regional development and resist the march of extreme Islam, marginalisation of minorities in the north, rising tide of toxic ethnic nationalism all over Nigeria and northern domination.

The devolution of power should be to the regions and must never be to the states. The states should become governing units of the regions, and each region should have one regional parliament, Judicial system and premier or governor.

Restructure should result in a new political structure of six regions and do away with state structure and deliver a country, where leaders can be held to account. This will strengthen Nigerian unity, reduce the cost of governance and make the regions viable.

Any attempt to devolve more power to states in the name of restructure will be death nail to Nigeria as we see it. It will further increase the already very high cost of government and let lose clannish and toxic ethnic nationalism that will destroy Nigerian unity.

Nigerian governors, with very few exception, have not demonstrated that they can use more powers in ways that would advance democracy, accountability to create a free and equitable society.

The restructure that Nigeria needs has to be bold, rise above sectarian considerations, well thought and economically viable out to succeed.

I hope Nigerians can see the need to build a free society based on civil values instead of fragmenting along ethnic and religious fault lines and fanning the flame of sectarianism and extremism.

Restructure of Nigeria into six regions is in my view is, a reasonable politics that will tame corruption, ensure even development, restore patriotism, ensure healthy competition and allow creativity and innovation to flourish.

The politics of secession as advocated by IPOB,MASSOB and co, though appealing to emotion, is almost always corrosive, shortsighted and rarely delivers the heaven it promises. It is often lead by men and women who over value ethnic identity, and hide behind the anger of the people to pursue their quest for power and domination of others.

Such individuals have very little regard for individual freedom and seek to impose what they believe is in the best interest of the society on all. They are almost always autocrats and leave in their wake, suffering, discord and broken societies.

Secession appeals to people who wish to have their own country on the basis of ethnicity. It is divisive and often leaves in its wake, divided societies.

No people can fight for independence , without a political structure, sustainable funding, allies and ability to respond to aggression.

Any attempt to pursue independence without these structure is attempt to take advantage of the people to achieve personal objectives.

Even within Nigeria, igbos have not effectively utilised existing democratic institutions to hold the federal government to account for injustices and crimes against humanity committed against us, and those agitating for Biafra are giving the federal government reason to commit more atrocities against Igbos.

I am a Biafran, just as I am Igbo, British and Nigerian. We live in a world of multiple identities and the overriding identity is subscribing to civil values, which allows peaceful, fair and democratic societies under the rule of law to emerge.

To latch on to a single primitive identity like ethnicity as a rallying point in response to injustice is tribalism, a corrosive form of collectivism, which appeals to man's worst instincts.

It creates mistrust, endangers unity increases insecurity and leads to a fragmented society. There is no need to create a them against us attitude in a problem, whose cause lies in human nature.

The injustices in Nigeria is against many other minorities including non Muslims, Shia Muslims and ethnic minorities in the north and middle belt, whose villages are being ethnically cleansed and occupied by Fulani herdsmen.

Humanity is at its best, when people work together irrespective of ethnicity and religion to uphold justice as fairness, equality of all under the law, individual freedom, the rule of law, and fight on principle or civil values. We are stronger and better together.

It is time to let reason and wisdom to guide.