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BIAFRA Or Anti-Buhari Protests: An Open Letter To The Igbos And Nigeria Government By Quadir Taiwo!!

No doubt the problem confronting and hindering the development of Nigeria as well as many other third world countries of Africa are corruptions as a result of greed’s, lack of respect for the rule of law, intolerance among religious/ethnic groups, poverty as a result of irresponsible politicking, lack of socio-political unity, absence of collective national ideology, zero statesmanship, sectarianism, indiscipline, injustice, mistrust, distrust, politicization of religious institutions as well as elite manipulation as a result of competition for space in government and the seat tight syndrome of political office holders among many others.

Today the African society is ravaged by civil/ethic war and poverty in-spite of its rich mineral resources. It is not erroneous to say that the African society is gradually digressing into a lawless society where anything goes especially with recent proliferations of ethnic militias, sectarian groups and violently profiteering overlords’ challenging incumbent government in whatever way it appeal to them. From what it is today it seems like words such as struggles, protest, revolutionary movements, sects, ethnic militias and violence as become part of our life as people.

Indeed many young Nigerians (I mean those born after the Nigeria civil war of 1967-1970) be it Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Ijaw and others must have heard or familiarized with what the word ‘Biafra’ means and stand for. To me, as a person trained in the field of Peace and Conflict Studies, whenever I heard the word ‘Biafra’ I think of death, hardship, hunger, destructions, displaced persons; I think of Nigerians killing and destroying Nigerians lives and properties for no other reasons than impatience, mistrust, distrust, mordant and pseudo struggle for regional supremacy, intolerance and words like this continue to run through my mind and thinking.

Indeed, it was a struggle for nothing and total display of shame and a dent on our historical antecedent. Historically, this dent (Biatran struggle/war) on our history as a people which was thought to have been put off after almost three(3) years of battled and the eventual surrender of Biafrans by the assistant commander Philip Effiong, was resuscitated in 1999 when a group known as Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) started protests and agitation for Self Determination. This group was known for their almost seemly endless protests and open display of the biafra flag. As time pass by or possibly as a result of disagreement within; another group known as Biafran Zionist Movement springs-up and the struggles for self determination of the Eastern region of Nigeria became multifaceted.

The Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipo-Biafra) is another group who just join in the struggle for Biafran state, though, they were initially taken as a pocket of unserious talkative thought to be spreading divisional/hates propagandas on a pirate radio station called ‘Radio Biafra’. Although, they exist but many do not know about Ipo-Biafra group, what was known is Radio-Biafra and its seditious messages, until recently when they started staging protests in order to force the Nigerian government to release the architect, producer, broadcaster, and director of the pirate radio station Mr Nnamdi Kanu, who was arrested in Nigeria by the Department of State Service (DSS). This young people (the protesters) whom majorities of them were born after the Nigeria civil war are crying injustice by way of dissimulation; claiming that their region are being marginalized and hated by their fellow Nigerians by citing the civil war as the causes of their unfavorable predicament. One should have asked; is there any Igbo-man who has contested an election and won, and was denied his mandate? In my view, the Igbos are doing pretty-well in today Nigeria; they own almost half of the properties in almost all major cities in Nigeria, yet nobody is complaining as a result of fear of dominations?,

Today Igbos are members of the Lagos State House of Assembly, and some are even representing some constituencies in the Green Chamber, yet you complain of Marginalization, how?. The Igbo should not see their inability to produced a president since the end of the civil war as a punishment from the victor___ No, the slogan after the civil war is, and remain “No Victor, No Vanquished”, rather they should see it as a lack of good and accurate political calculation on the part of their leaders to design a good strategic chemistry, direction and to as well marshal a plan for the region political aspiration and development. Consensus, Timing and Strategic Alliance are very important and potent instruments for political success especially in plural society. What I am saying is that, there should be agreement among the leading political figures and leaders on who should represent the region, and when such person should be presented to the Nigerian populace. How can you expect political victory for your region when more than six(6) people representing same region contested in an election, and almost all of them belong to an unpopular political party. Unity of purpose and timing is very important because coming out at the wrong time may also be frustrated by another more important and overwhelming candidate from another region. Politics is a game who gets what, and how.

In my view, the Igbos cases have been very pathetic in this regard, aside the fact that there is no always consensus on important issues, they also lacks this important and crucial alliances to market one generally acceptable candidate to the people outside their region, instead more than five (5) Igbos can contest 2019 presidential election even when it is certain that they cannot even come close to winning/unseating a seating president from a popular political party. Therefore, consensus on a good and generally acceptable candidate not any MMR (Money Missed Road), ask yourself; if not Buhari who else can defeat Jonathan in the last presidential election?

President Muhammodu Buhari victory came at a time when almost all Nigerians are fed up of PDP pattern of government, and President Buhari and his APC merger became the only vehicle appealing to Nigerians in their desires for CHANGE. So, consensus, timing and strategic alliance became their crucial instruments of winning people over for political success. So nobody hates the Igbos. What I have discovered is that for any region or zone to produce a president in Nigeria, such zone must be ready to marry and attract two or more zones to its side to succeed (irrespective of religious beliefs or ideology), even if such marriage is an unholy one.

Second, such candidate must be generally acceptable atleast by substantial percentage of the population, Yara’Dua in 2007; Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 and Muhammodu Buhari in 2015 are good examples of such acceptance. Therefore, no one can fault the opinion of those who believed that this present Biafra struggle is merely Anti-Buhari protests sponsored by some unscrupulous politician who feeds on the age long hatred of the Igbos toward the north and the aggressive posture of the north. If not; why now? The whole of Igbos voted for PDP in the last election, meaning they preferred Jonathan to Buhari; the question is; if former president Goodluck Jonathan has won the election just has the Igbo wishes will they by now still agitate for Biafra?

Please let us be sincere with our selves. The election has been contested and won, it is time to move Nigeria forward and prepare for generation coming after. We should remember it was the disagreement of just two men and their aides and advisers led 56 million Nigerians into civil war where Nigerians killed Nigerians for no other genuine reason order than shared hatred, impatience and lack of respect, lack of understanding and unverified personal opinion, and lack of love for one and other.

Today, it looks like the same treachery, the same impatience, the same irresponsible politicking and manipulation that led to the civil war is at play again. The civil war has been fought and no winner nor looser, both side lost and lost; and that is what is still visible today ‘Mutual Assured Destructions’ if we failed to call ourselves to order. Any pastor or Imam who prophesizes feminine in the land will not by itself eats Bible or Quran with their family respectively. So those beating the drum of war or secession should take a clue from Northern Sudan scenario, knowing that breaking away from the Federating Authority in most cases may not guarantee much success and is not always the best option. Caution is the language of the wise.

From what we have seen and experienced in the north-eastern zone of the country, violence is never the best option to drive-home our point no matter what. With the unquantifiable level of destruction done to the region, even if the military were able to meet the December 2015 deadly to end insurgence in the region, the region may not recover fully in another 20years or more in terms of the level of the damage done.

Igbo leaders and other stakeholders should quickly call these youths to order and stop this madness now or else they want to create another book-haram in the south-east. So let the Igbo leaders beware, except this masqueraded protests and lawlessness has the imprimatur of all Igbo leaders; even if it is so, then they should beware that by the time the monster they are breeding is fully grown and unleashed they may find is difficult to comprehend or cope with.

Let us make a visit to some of the villages recovered from Boko-Haram may be we would all have a second thought. I strongly believed that those who witness or fought in the civil war are not party to these Biafra agitations, if they are, then I am afraid history and experience are no more the best teachers. To those youths or ‘Ipo Biafra agitators’ as they are refer to and their likes let us all be careful and learn from history and experience!

I have seen an actor, who just died in a movie I just watched walking on the street, but I am yet to see a soldier who died in war coming home alive. This is because war is reality not acting. That is why, you can freely trade words, but it is an international crime to trade weapons__ asks the former APC spoke-person and now the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Muhammed and PDP spoke-person Mr Olisah Metuh if I am wronged! They will tell talk is cheap. An elderly man once asked one of his young male worker, Sa-Yong; what do you think about our decision to step down as leaders of this tribe in order to avoid a bloody war?

The youngman replied, my lord, even though it was hard to think of a better plan order than giving up our higher position, I think we would’ve been better off going to the war. His boss asked him again; so you’d rather fight back and die? The youngman said, yes because sometime, being alive is more painful than death. His boss smile and told him, “that proves that you’re still young” He held the young man shoulder and said to him convincingly, “I think I’ve lived long enough, but I’d rather live than die, especially when I have a lot of things left to do”. The boy asked, Sir, what it is that you need to do? his boss said, ask my daughter what she want and desires!

What she hopes for is what I need to do, and until I achieves that, my living ant is better than a dead lion, because there will surely be another opportunity. Taking a clue from the above story, it is evident that over-enthusiasm, strongly held opinions, arrogance which stem from a naïve and inexperience view of issues defines youthful age; and when a person is getting old his goals and aspiration changed to setting a worthy legacy and laying good foundations for the younger generation.

They are not worthy to be called a leader, whoever that is secretly backing this kind of protests and agitation. It would even be better heard of if their wife’s and children’s are at the frontline of the struggle. They are not worthy to be a leader; they are the beast of our society. The federal government should think of measures that could assure and adequately guarantee collective security and development of all irrespective. I have said this before and I will repeat it here again; poverty and money politics is our major problem.

This is what keeps these peripatetic political job-lots in positions and make them look almost naturally peremptory in Nigeria politics. If poverty and money politics could be taken away from our political sphere, many Nigerians who vote for money nor carries weapons in the name of money or staged protests to do the biddings of their political benefactors will surely desist from doing so. I mean all this noise and protest will die a natural death. The problem we have today call it whatever i.e. marginalization, northern-lization, southern-lization or eastern-lization is not the type that cannot be easily resolved through patience, understanding, mutual respect and dialogue.

The federal government should invite those involved and discourse with them; so that all hands can be on desk to move country forward. They say those who choose peaceful dialogue in a chaotic situation weren’t cowards; they only love peace, and those who choose guns to express their points instead of peaceful dialogue were not smarter either. The real cowards are those who choose violence as a solution to a matter which round-table talk can settle. Consider this as a piece of advice from a fellow concern Nigerian. Condemnation is easy, criticism is even easier, but never threw away a child with the bath water. Caution they say is the language of the wise.

God Bless Nigeria.

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