Osita, is a Biafranist who believes that: human beings can achieve great things, attain excellence and, have an infinite capacity to improve, when they are honest, sincere and determined.
The balkanization of Nigeria and many other colonial African countries is an idea whose time has come. Some individuals and groups who are living in the emotional world of nostalgia may cry, as much as they want to, over a past that has dealt so badly with the so-called Nigerians and Africans. (It does not matter how anyone feels about the inevitableness of Nigeria’s demise but the truth is that every ethnic people that have participated in the Nigerian project have been losers for it. So, it is in the interest of all that Nigeria disintegrates as quickly as possible).
The crying of some is understandable but should not prevent the necessary and curative knives of the progressive and pragmatic social surgeons, whose eyes should be on the long term benefits (for all) of cutting, dissecting and dismembering this cancerous cadaver (Nigeria) today. The saying goes that the wailing mourner will not stop crying as long as they continue to look on the face of the corpse as it is lying in state. One Nigeria as a problem is an issue of life and death and all honest and practical thinkers must put emotions aside if they ever hope to solve the problem.
Just as the hood does not make the monk, as they say, the big sizes of societies or countries do not make them into great and powerful cultural, economic or successful entities. For all honest and sincere critics it does not require much convincing to acknowledge that in practical terms, bigness or great sizes do not automatically bestow power or greatness on anything or anybody. Had that been the case then whales in the oceans and elephants in the jungles should be more powerful and greater than human beings, but it is not so. Human beings in spite of their puny and inconsequential physical sizes in comparison with these massive fleshly behemoths are still the most powerful and the greatest in all creation. Humans are superior to all the other animals because they have better developed brains rather than gigantic intimidating bully-like physical structures. Does the delusional moniker of “the giant of Africa” and “Africa’s most populous country” sound familiar here?
If sizes of countries were important as some people claim about retaining one Nigeria then the extinct dinosaurs would still be alive today. The dinosaurs had the opportunity of millions of years to master and control their world and should have prevented the asteroids that struck the Earth and wiped them out some 250 million years ago. Only the other night in July 2013 an asteroid flew by the Earth and already human beings have got the capacity to predict and prevent a really destructive one from striking the Earth.
In my opinion such abilities are real power and greatness and not monstrous mounds of thousands of pounds of flesh and cartilages where you will need several thousands of pounds of food every day to merely feed and keep them alive. Such monstrosities and bigness, just for the sake of it, creates slothfulness, sluggishness and lack of creativity. Practically, the entire time is spent foraging for food merely to keep the size alive and no time is left for creative or progressive achievements. Such atrocious bigness cannot produce great arts or conscious and deliberate beauty. Efforts being expended merely to maintain and feed the sacrilegious and outsized bigness of a united Nigeria are simply scandalous and should no longer be sustained. Those things that feed the monstrous black hole that is one Nigeria are nepotism, impunity, corruption, religious/ethnic intolerance, so-called rotational leadership – mediocrity in place of merit, etc. Nigeria’s continued existence as a united country can only breed terrorism, genocides, death and destruction, poverty, bad governance, lack of leadership and direction, lack of progress and arrested development.
The significance and value of all societies or countries can only be measured in the security and wellbeing of the inhabitants. In other words every society or country can only be considered valuable and viable to the extent it is able to preserve and serve the needs of the people in it. Therefore, so long as a society or country is incapable of carrying out this primary duty to its citizens, it does not matter the wealth or other material infrastructure within its boundaries, it ceases to be legitimate and cannot rightly or legally require allegiance from the people. The Nigerian state does not deserve nor can it legitimately demand the allegiance of any of its citizens, especially that of Igbo people and the other Southsouth people. The reason is because the Nigerian state and its other citizens unjustifiably visited on the Igbo and the other Southsouth people the crime of genocide where more than 3.1 million of them perished between 1966 and 1970. (This heinous crime of ethnic/religious cleansing and genocide on Igbo people is still ongoing in Nigeria today).
Igbo people, Southsouthners and other sections of the Nigerian country that have been so mistreated should exercise their right to opt out of the union as quickly as they can. In some quarters today you hear people say things like; Nigerians should try as much as possible to avoid another Biafra-Nigeria war. As 2015 is coming nearer you also hear people saying that Nigerians should not allow the prediction that Nigeria will disintegrate in 2015 to come to pass. The prediction was made by a Washington, DC based private research organization in 2005. Rather than waste time and energy on trying to prevent the occurrence of an inevitable but eventually beneficial event, the people should rather direct such energy to thinking on how to run successfully the new smaller and more realistic countries that will emerge from a disintegrated Nigeria.
Igbo people and other Biafrans are justified and they should use every means necessary to free themselves from the Nigerian union. Should Igbo and other Biafrans choose to make war with Nigeria to free themselves and the future of their children from Nigeria, they will be justified to do so. Given the urgency of the situation and how dehumanizing it is for Igbo people and other Biafrans to remain as part of the Nigerian union it is expected that they should take up arms to fight and free themselves and their land from Nigeria’s occupation. Freedom does not come cheap or free. No person or group stops fighting a war for liberation until they win that war. South Sudan demonstrated this truth in 2011. The South made war with the Arab North starting from 1956 to 2011 when they won their freedom and independence. It is slave mentality and cowardice that tells Igbo and other Biafrans that they should try by all means to avoid another war with Nigeria while agitating for freedom. Igbo and all Biafrans should start preparing for a final showdown on the battlefield with Nigeria for their freedom. Let Nigeria burn. Let Nigeria die. Let Nigeria disintegrate, that is the just and fitting fate of a genocidal state.
Nigeria as a country is a construct that will never work. The earlier it is broken up into the conducive and agreeable sections that have ethnic/cultural affinities the better for everyone. Insisting on the present structure of one-Nigeria is mere wishful thinking. It’s practically impossible to work out any modality that will eventually produce the kind of result that the dreamers of a united Nigeria remotely wish for. The continued existence of one-Nigeria can never produce anything more than death, decay, destruction and retrogression. Nigeria by accident or design was created to produce at its best insecurity, poverty, bad governance and unconscionable political corruption all because of the built-in mutual distrust of the component groups. Nigeria at its worst was created to produce ethnic/religious cleansing, pogrom and Biafra Genocide in which 3.1 million Igbo/Biafrans were murdered as a result of ethnic/religious intolerance, hatred and bigotry.
Solution to Nigeria’s problem is simple if those in positions of authority and media people around the world are willing to see it as it truly is. Divide Nigeria into four or more independent sovereign countries and the killings will stop. Hold a plebiscite or referendum supervised by the United Nations to democratically ascertain from the various peoples the sections or groups they want to go along with. Implement the results by separating the warring groups from one another into the new countries of their choice.
So long as we fail to apply this solution, we will continue to harvest the death of children, their mothers and a host of other defenseless peoples imprisoned in the unfortunate one-Nigerian union. Between 1970 and the present time (2012), a period of 42 years an additional 2 million Igbo/Biafran people have died because of the continued existence of one-Nigeria. These people were killed by Nigeria’s Islamic terrorist groups as well as by the Nigerian state through extra-judicial killings. A responsible world cannot sustain such murderous structure or state for whatever reasons. It’s a shame.
The Nigerian problem is indeed very easy to solve if opinion leaders and policy makers around the world are not merely (mischievously?) over-analyzing the situation. Most observers have been tempted to conclude that the seemingly insincere approach of the world community is because most of the people involved in discussing the issue are completely detached from any direct effect of the dastardly unspeakable events. These analysts are not being directly affected so for them the Igbo/Biafrans’ deaths can as well not be happening. The natural tendency in most people it seems is that once it is not their children or family members that are getting killed then it is easy to analyze endlessly even when all the right cards are clearly on the table.
But for the sake of decency, honesty, justice and doing what is right, we can choose to walk the path of truth and apply the right solution to Nigeria’s problem. We can choose to accept the fact that Nigeria’s problem has nothing to do with poverty, bad governance, corruption or any such mocking phrases being bandied around. We can solve Nigeria’s problem by truthfully accepting that Nigeria’s problem solely consists in the irreconcilable ethnic, cultural and religious disparities that exist amongst the various peoples. We can solve Nigeria’s problem by separating the warring groups into their different independent sovereign countries. Then we would have put a final stop to the seemingly unending one-Nigerian clash of civilizations or collision of divergent cultures. Divide Nigeria now.
Here we are going to consider the theory of a former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo who believes in the divine creation of the Nigerian state. Of course for a man like Obasanjo and the part he has played in the Nigeria affairs it is not difficult to see how it is easy for him to believe as he does. On the two occasions that he had opportunity to head Nigeria’s government, they were both fortuitous moments, all coming on the heels of the death or assassination of his predecessors. The first happened when the villain Murtala Mohammed was killed in office and the second time was even more dramatic. Obasanjo was in prison and when Moshood Abiola, his kinsman was killed by the Islamic North of Nigeria, there was a lot of confusion and Nigeria seemingly came to the brink of breaking up, which eventually will happen soon, they needed to compensate Obasanjo’s Yoruba ethnic group by electing him as the President for 8 years. So, for someone who has been so fortuitously appointed it will take an extraordinarily transcended mind not to believe in miracles and providential interventions in the ordinary things of men and countries.
For one moment and for the purpose of this discussion alone, we shall pretend that Nigeria, rather than being an arbitrary fabrication of the colonial Britain, was actually created by God. There is nothing wrong with this assumption or even blasphemous as long as we do not attempt to take it to the ridiculous level of taking it seriously or, unguardedly, stake our faith on blatant lies. In the real world even fools have their day on All Fools’ Day, the 1st of every April of each year. And when we look at Nature we agree that sometimes even God comes short of creating many things perfect. The only difference now is that when such imperfections occur in Nature and, they are not rare at all, then it is always the duty of the creatures which are directly affected to try and tinker and improve on the inadequacies of Nature and their limiting or non-conducive natural endowments. This is why some people have argued that human beings were equipped with the unique ability of the creative mind to be co-creators with God. In this way humans are given jobs to occupy their overly inventive minds so that they are not idle and become susceptible to devious and negative inventions. And because much has been given to humans a lot more responsibilities are required of them to fix whatever Nature had overlooked or negligently missed in her original creations. Every honest and sincere observer had long ago accepted the truth that the Nigerian union is one of those imperfect creations of “God” (Britain) that must be rejigged or recreated by the human members of the deadly “divine” misadventure in creativeness.
In furthering our position that it is not a crime against Nature to try and improve the work of God for the purpose of greater enjoyment of nature by the people, we are going to illustrate copiously with the simple things that most of us are familiar with. When the woman for instance who had not originally been endowed with a socially acceptable height wears high heeled footwear or a plainly gifted lady applies beauty enhancing makeups, at least, in sane and advanced societies they are not considered as being irreverent or blasphemous.
The Yoruba nation of the Southwest of Nigeria (Obasanjo’s ethnic group) recently held an ethnic meeting in Ibadan and came out with among other conclusions that there is a “. . . glaring failure of Nigeria’s present federal arrangement,” and that “regional cooperation, collaboration and integration offer the best approach to saving Nigeria, and delivering development and prosperity to Nigerian citizens.” Unfortunately as it is the manner of the typical elite class of Nigeria and the rest of Africa, they came short of being honest and bold enough to call for an outright dismantling of the hitherto unworkable Nigerian union. They said; “That [their call for] regional integration is not to break up Nigeria. It is rather to renew the Nigerian federation and its capacity to deliver the greatest good for the greatest number of Nigerians, in the six geo-political zones.” (Only God knows how that can be done in such a completely decadent and unworkable Nigerian arrangement). But these conferees no doubt know in their inner selves that such deceptive dreams that are founded on falsehood will never come true. They know as well as all other persons who are entrapped in the failed “Nigeria’s present federal arrangement” that the only viable and thoroughly rational option left is to break up the Nigerian arrangement.
Therefore, if the Nigerian arrangement is so flawed and has failed as claimed then it has to be radically improved on or more plainly put, broken down into its original different national components so that the human inhabitants can have the opportunity to design and build societies that are realistic and in conformity with the culture/religion and holistic worldview of the people who are the ultimate direct beneficiaries or losers when mistakes are rectified or sustained. If the Nigerian experiment is not working as centralized then why retain any residual attachment when the regions or ethnic nations can succeed and prosper as separate and independent entities. This is why nations maintain regional cooperative economic/social relationships as neighbors and not necessarily as one meaningless big-for-nothing country. The regional or ethnic/national components of the present Nigeria do not have to maintain any rudimentary sovereignty attachments with any other parts such as what some describe as “true federalism, weak/strong center, 100% resource control formula, Aburi Accord, etc.” The truth is that the Christian people of Southeast or the Igbo/Biafrans have, culturally/religiously, nothing in common with the Islamic North and Southwest of Nigeria. In real life situations such primitive and infantile sentiments have never taken anyone far especially in the critical areas of social engineering.
Still taking us back to the issue of some less perfect creations of God, let’s consider such example of the Siamese twins. In real life, conjoined twins eventually find out how inconvenient and imperfect they were naturally created or their “Godly” attachment can be and by that realization they wisely seek out expert’s help on how to detach and live independently, freely and happily ever after. After the detachment the twins do not necessarily have to become enemies just because they were separated from each other. They do not have to continue sleeping on the same bed or even living in the same house after they have been physically separated. If that is not pictorial enough we can still take another example from nature. We are still talking about birthing or creating of lives or entities.
Midwives are a lovely and affectionate set of the hospital staff. But they are also realistic. They do not let sentiments or the infantile screams of the birthed child deter them from doing the right thing. As loving and kind as they may be but they must of necessity be experts at using the surgical knife, knowing when and how to separate the child from the mother. Every child is born with an umbilical cord which while in the mother’s womb enabled it to get nutrients and nourishment from the mother. Umbilical cords serve as the children’s natural connection between mothers and children. In a realistic life where sentiments are not allowed to get in the way of the people’s freedom, well-being and happiness, after children are born all inconvenient attachments must be severed. The severance of course never really means the ending of the love relationship between the mother and child. (After 50 years of childhood, the child Nigeria is for long ready for the necessary umbilical cord severance and traditional child weaning). A healthy and successful consanguinity relationship has never consisted in any arrangement where parents and children remained under one roof everyday of their lives. It must come a time when families will part ways. Sometimes such separation must happen not because of so much fighting and killings such as the Nigerian mistake but because there is a big world out there that must be explored. It is only the less adventurous ones who insist on maintaining the nonworking, very limited and limiting space/relationship when there is a vast open space out there waiting to be explored and charted. The opportunities out there are enormous and endless and can only be discovered after the severance of the restricting umbilical cords or when the kids leave home.
Independence creates confidence; the belief in oneself which is behind all the progress and successes the world has ever known. Independence gives the independent fellow or society the freedom to exercise those very private dreams and aspirations without being unduly conscious of the feelings of the neighbor. It is also true because most of the critically important inventions and achievements of our world come from, as at the time, unpopular and sometimes non-conformed-to prevailing and accepted cultural norms and traditions. So it is no wonder that great inventions and innovations happen mostly in societies and among peoples with so much tolerances, freedoms and independence of the individuals and groups.
As we conclude, I want to leave us with some salient points and disabuse our minds of the fallacy of ever thinking that God created the Nigerian union, he did not. Nigeria is one of those arbitrary 1884/5 Berlin states creations of the colonial Europe. Then, in that conference, the gathered imperial Europe sat down at a table and arbitrarily penciled and divided up the African continent as it best suited their administrative convenience and without any recourse to how the indigenous societies and peoples were originally culturally and ethnically constituted. So the Europeans of 1884 and 1885 were not Gods neither did they claim to have taken into consideration any realistic feelings of the indigenous peoples at that drawing table of nearly 200 years ago. No, they were only concerned about how to reduce conflict amongst themselves so that one European country did not encroach on the other’s colonial territory.
Isn’t that instructive enough for the current political elites in Africa and particularly Nigeria! If the Europeans could so partition their vassal estates in faraway African continent in such a way that the French did not have to fight and kill the English people because they recognized their differences as separate nations, what is difficult in the Christian Igbo/Biafrans recognizing the irreconcilable differences that exist between them and the Islamic Hausa/Fulani and Yoruba ethnic groups.
Obasanjo and all others who believe like him in the divine creation of the failed state of Nigeria are wrong. After the nineteenth century Berlin misadventure, colonial Britain merged the formally separate states of Islamic North and Christian South of Nigeria in 1914 to further make easy their administration of the area. There is equally a lesson to be learned from that action popularly called amalgamation of Islamic North and Christian South of Nigeria. The one important thing we cannot miss is that there are no state boundaries that are drawn in stone. State boundaries are moved, adjusted and redrawn as the need arises. Right now, as it were in 1884/5 and 1914 there is an urgent need to redraw the state boundaries of the ethnic/national members of the present Nigerian union.
Let the peoples sit down at a table and redraw not only the outdated and deadly Nigerian state map but that of the entire Black Africa. They can choose to put the exercise to votes or a referendum. Let the peoples consciously through the casting of their votes decide how they are defined and who they associate with as fellow citizens of the same country. There are some nationalities within the enclave that do not want to be called Nigerians or be associated with it in any form. Nigeria is an imperfect colonial British creation that must be recreated by separating the incongruent federating ethnic nations and giving them back their sovereignties. Let the so-separated nations through their own freewill and self-determination decide their destinies and who they will identify with.
And we must get it clear too, the colonial Britain may have made a mistake about Nigeria but it is never a mistake of the heart. They never set out to punish the indigenous peoples by insensitively lumping them into a deadly union. They were at the time thinking about their administrative convenience, how to minimize the cost of running their government and maximize profit. Now the colonialists have left it is left to the indigenous peoples of Africa to correct the deadly experiment. The indigenous peoples should know what should be good for them. The imposed European Nigerian/African national boundaries may have been unintentionally created by foreigners to be so deadly and destructive to the indigenous peoples’ lives and property. But the peoples that bear the pain of the mistake can do better for themselves now by redrawing more realistic and friendly human-life and property-preserving national boundaries. After all this has to do with us and our homeland and we must decide to get it right for ourselves.
In recent time there has been an increase in the call by the people of Southwest of Nigeria for the convocation of what they term a Sovereign National Conference, SNC. On the surface that may sound impressive, even attractive especially with the level of anxiety on people's minds concerning Nigeria's dire situation. Currently the entrapped peoples within Nigeria are anxious to find quick solutions on how to dissolve the unworkable Nigerian union. In considering viable paths to take and walk out of the deathtrap and dysfunctional madhouse which is also known as the failed state of Nigeria, almost any suggestion appeals to the peoples' anxiety. But the appeal of a SNC lasts until you begin to read further down the script. As you go down the page you start experiencing some discomfort. The stated aim of the much talked about SNC is to review the terms of Nigeria's corporate existence by the various federating nations that are held captive in the god-forsaken union. But this is not time for mere reviews since everyone already knows what is right to do: Divide Nigeria along the existing cultural/religious lines.
The SNC advocacy has its beginning in the 1993 June 12 political crisis when Moshood Abiola's presumed election victory was annulled by Ibrahim Babangida. It was used by the political elites of the Southwest of Nigeria to gain political attention and advantage and, ultimately Nigeria's presidency. As every other thing Nigerian, SNC is a temporary or momentary answer to a very fundamental and permanent or recurring question. The question of why the annulment happened and how to prevent future occurrence was never addressed. It is one of those
temporary palliatives or political trump cards being used by the elite class of the various political blocs of the Nigerian union to gain positions and power. Such ruses as wools are thrown over people's faces and used to win positions and plum advantages for the ruling class to the detriment of the people. They are never conceived to do any permanent good for the majority of the people. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND played a similar card to win Goodluck Jonathan's presidency of Nigeria. That has also given birth to the current jihadist Islamic Boko Haram Movement of Northern Nigeria. With the various bombings and destruction of lives, Boko Haram is playing the same card right now and hoping to win. But these games are leading the people and country nowhere. They are deceptive and dishonest ploys which only benefit the ruling class to the loss and destruction of lives, property and future of the people.
Going strictly by the goal of the SNC, the people will merely sit down today and talk of how to continue with a one-Nigeria or dissolve the union. Of course nothing definite or beneficial would be achieved, then a new meeting would be called tomorrow which will say, let's divide Nigeria or let's have a weak or strong center and on and on. I don't care how anyone thinks about it but the truth is that a SNC with the current agenda is merely a device by some elements that are hell-bent on maintaining the killer one-Nigeria status quo. In my opinion the SNC compares with when you intend to tunnel through a mountain and you remove a few boulders every other year. These advocates are trying to buy time while in the meantime Igbo/Biafran people and other Christians are getting killed by one-Nigeria. SNC is like trying to circumnavigate the long and dangerous terrain instead of using the short and less painful route (separation or Self Determination of the various federating ethnic nations). The SNC advocates continue to say hey let's just make one little adjustment here and there and eventually we will get it right someday. For them they are not in a hurry to get it right any day soon since they have little or nothing to lose. It is not the people from the side of SNC advocates that are getting killed. Their progress and development are not being stunted; they are by all standards OK. So, they can afford to buy time indefinitely.
Every sincere and honest political move should always be aimed towards doing greater good for a greater number of people on a permanent basis. And this is the time to use that approach in dealing with the Nigerian situation. The present Nigerian societies have some fundamental and permanently irreconcilable differences. These differences underscore the very basis for any society's existence. It strikes at the very heart of the reason for a society's being and its collective aspiration. If they got it right then all will be well for them but if they got it wrong as it is in Nigeria's situation then everything will continue to be wrong. The worldview of the various peoples that make up the present Nigerian state are antagonistically opposed and cannot be reconciled. A people's culture/religion is the essence of their being or what defines them and the various ethnic components of the present one-Nigeria cannot be reconciled. It will remain a waste of time, lives and material resources in continuing the pursuit of a never-can-work one-Nigerian agenda. The only honest, sincere and permanent good that will be done to the people who bear the brunt of the callous insistence on maintaining the unworkable one-Nigeria is a clear cut division of the country. Let each group with similar cultural/religious worldview go their separate ways and start their journey in nation building.
At this time in the day the people of the Southeast cannot afford the luxury of a SNC with its current agenda or the so-called "true federalism". Not even the nearly fifty years old Aburi Accord will do the Igbo/Biafrans any good now. There can only be a new and viable roadmap today: Self Determination. If the assumed purpose for the SNC remains merely to decide at the table how the peoples that make up Nigeria will co-exist or maintain a weak or strong center, then for the Southeast it is a waste of time. The position of the people of the Southeast is that any solution to Nigeria's problem that is short of clear division along the naturally occurring national/ethnic boundaries is a waste of time, dishonest and insincere, cannot last and is unacceptable to them. The Igbo/Biafrans want independence and total freedom from Nigeria. They want an arrangement where they can only relate with the rest of the Nigerian components as neighbors and citizens of different countries and no more. This is the era of Self Determination and the Christian Igbo/Biafrans will take the full advantage of the moment to be free from the Nigerian bondage.
The Igbo/Biafrans will not be deceived into anything that looks like the real thing. From all indications the calls for SNC remain nothing short of another veneered deception from familiar quarters, at best a delay tactic. The Southeast is not interested in any arrangement of weak or strong center of a one-Nigeria. The Igbo people of today will not do the job half way and leave it for coming generations to continue grappling with the same problem of a one-Nigeria. No, the Indian/Pakistanis split of 1947 and the Sudanese/South Sudanese split of 2011 are the examples the Igbo/Biafrans are following. It is also interesting to note that these countries as mentioned were also colonized by the British. The only difference is that when the British left the peoples of these countries were honest, sincere and bold enough to revert to their old pre-colonial conducive, convenient and cultural/religious boundaries. They never had to maintain any kind of meaningless "true federalism" or a childish sentimental "weak/strong center". They chose the path of wisdom, the path of dignity, the part to permanent peace, the path to the respect of the sanctity of human life and the path to progress and development. Boldly they did the right thing by walking the honorable road of Self Determination. These countries chose the only reasonable and dignified road; a clear, complete separation and independence from and of one another rather than stay together and kill off each other. No one is bound to win in any ridiculous piecemeal approach to Nigeria's festering problem of diversity. Every honest and sincere player in the Nigerian arena had long come to agree that there is just one solution: Self Determination or the Sudan/South Sudan Solution is the only option available for Nigeria. It can only be delayed but can never be wished away.
Since the formation of the ill-fated Nigerian union (the infamous Amalgamation of 1914) by the imperialist government of Great Britain, the people of the Islamic North of Nigeria have never hidden the fact that they dislike the arrangement and would want to be left alone by the Christian South. Even Lord Lugard the man behind the unfortunate amalgamation acknowledged the impossibility of the experiment when he said; “The North and the South are like oil and water, they will never mix”. And this is how Abubakar Tafawa Balewa put it a few years before he became Nigeria’s Prime Minister at independence in the October of 1960. When Mr. Balewa spoke to the Northern House of Assembly in 1952, he said; “The Southern people who are swamping into this region daily in such large numbers are really intruders. We don’t want them and they are not welcome here in the North. Since 1914 the British Government has been trying to make Nigeria into one country. But the people are different in every way, including religion, custom, language and aspirations. We in the North take it that Nigerian unity is only a British intention for the country they created. It is not for us”.
Indeed, the reality of the Nigerian situation could not have been truer then in 1952 than it is today, 2012. The dissimilarities and incompatibility of the diverse “religion, custom, language and aspirations” of the Islamic peoples of Northern Nigeria and the Christian Southeasterners
(Igbo/Biafrans) have remained very dangerously opposed to each other. As a result, Nigeria’s diversity has remained its greatest undoing; its Achilles’ heel. It must be recalled that soon after Abubakar Tafawa Balewa made that statement in 1952 there was a political dispute in the Southwest city of Lagos the following year in 1953 and hundreds of Igbo people were killed and looted in reaction in the Northern city of Kano. And from that year till now as we write, the killing of the Christian Igbo in the North by the Muslim Northerners have continued unabated every year and in most years multiple times and, in multiple cities and towns of the North. The truth is that from Nigeria’s inception, every political/social dispute or malaise in the country has its root in Nigeria’s cultural/religious differences. And the only genuine and permanent solution to the senseless religious/cultural killings that go on endlessly in Nigeria is the division of the country along the existing cultural/religious divides. Experience has shown that the peoples can never exist peacefully together as fellow citizens of the same country but will make good neighbors as citizens of separate countries. Incidentally it was the Muslim North under Yakubu Gowon in 1966 that first flew a different national flag as a separate country with the conviction; “that putting all considerations to the test, political, economic as well as social, the basis of [Nigeria’s] unity is not there.”
The political/social structure of Nigeria as an artificial creation of the colonial Britain was merely for their administrative convenience while they were around. It therefore boggles anyone’s mind why such an ad hoc arrangement which was cobbled together without giving any consideration to the sensitive differences existing between the peoples inside it should still be held as sacrosanct even when it has been proved as a failed experiment and has continually worked to the detriment of Igbo People. It is a well-known fact that this one act of the colonial Britain has done more violence to human lives and property than any other colonial act anywhere and anytime. It is believed to be the greatest killer-colonial mistake that was ever made. It is sad to note that such an easily correctable mistake has killed more people than any other in human history, all because of human insensitivity to the pains of others. From 1945 till 2012, a period of 67 years, a conservative estimate has it that over 5,000,000 Christian Igbo/Biafra people have been murdered by the Muslim North and West of Nigeria as a direct result of that unfortunate political misstep by the colonial Britain.
So, over the years people have continued to ask; for how much longer and how many more Igbo people need die before that mistake is corrected and the unrelated peoples in Nigeria are re-separated into different and independently administered sovereign countries?
Only recently, amidst tears and cries of “never again” on February 3, 2012 twelve corpses of Christian Igbo people of Southeast were buried in Adazi-Nnukwu their native home. They were killed by the on-going Islamic jihad and campaign for the full shariarization of Northern Nigeria. They were victims of the deadly Islamic Boko Haram movement of the North of Nigeria. Till their death they had been residents of Mubi, a Northeastern town of Nigeria. Here is the list of the names of The Mubi 12 as they are now known: Amaechi Onwukaike, 42, Obinna Okoye Akukwe, 16, Osita Aforka, 52, Ukamaka Aforka, 35, Uchenna Okpala, 45, Ugochukwu Ezenwekwe, 48, John Obiakonwa, 62, Patrick Aghachi, 49, Job Mgbemena, 53, Bede Anagbado, 56, Simeon Asor, 47, Sunday Okoye, 54. All these were Igbo and Christians. Muslims of Nigeria have maintained that they want the entire North free of Christians and other non-Muslim believers. In a very clear language they have always declared that certain death awaits all Christians or non-believers in Islam who defy their wish and order to leave their territory. Before The Mubi 12 were mowed down with machine guns by the members of Boko Haram Movement for Islamic State of Northern Nigeria, (BHMISNN) the group had given a three-day notice to Southern Christians resident in the North of Nigeria to leave or face death. And because the North has been consistent with what they want so some people argue that The Mubi 12 became victims because they were among those Southeasterners who stubbornly fail to heed the warnings constantly being issued by the Islamists who insist that they want a pure Islamic society where they can practice an unadulterated form of sharia laws.
Just as The Mubi 12 of January, 2012 can arguably be said to be victims of their own stubbornness, the same thing can also be said about those Igbo of the Madalla Church bomb Massacre on the Christmas Day of 2011. To their pain and loss, the Southerners refuse to take seriously Balewa’s and those of subsequent Northern leaders’ and spokespeople’s clear warnings. From their actions it looks like the Christian Southeasterners have remained insensitive and unwilling to respect the wishes of the Islamic North. The Northerners want an Islamic state where sharia is the rule of law, and that wish should be respected. And for any people or leaders from the Southeast to insist that the people of the North have no right to demand for what they want or maybe that the North does not mean what they say is being foolhardy. Or, probably, the Southeasterners think the North is not smart enough to know what they want and what is in their best interest. Or maybe they have the wrong notion that Igbo people have equal rights in every part of Nigeria as the indigenous peoples of the places? Well if they should continue to hold that warped opinion then they must be ready to continue paying with the blood of their people or they can choose to move away from the Muslim North and go back alive to their ancestral homeland or to other safer parts of the world or they will always return in caskets or buried in unmarked mass graves out there in the North.
For so long it had been expected of Igbo leaders to take the initiative by taking steps to remove their people from harm’s way but it seems like those leaders prefer to go on condolence visits to the victims’ families, instead. And because these leaders could have done better their condolence pictures look quite trite and hypocritical when they stand side by side with the families of the victims of this endemic Islamic hatred and murdering. These leaders give to the victims a few millions of naira which of course can never compensate for the lost lives. They make their miserable handouts media events so they can be seen as standing by the people. But the truth is that they actually come across, without meaning to, as political sadists since they deliberately keep ignoring the old wise saying which is that prevention is better than the cure of all malaise especially in a matter of life and death as in the continued existence of Igbo people in the accursed one-Nigerian union.
These leaders fail to understand that the genius of true leaders is manifest in their ability to find lasting solutions to the people’s recurring problems and not when they come with tons of sympathies after the heads of members of their constituency are already cut off. The relationship between the leader and the led is contractual. There are expectations from both sides. It is in the interest of the leader to always find out what the people really want. What the people want must always override the political ambitions of the leader. In the case of the prevailing circumstances of the killing and looting of Christian Igbo of the Southeast by the Muslim Hausa/Fulani in the North of Nigeria, what do the Igbo people want? The honest truth is that the people want their leaders to lead them out of Nigeria into a separate and independent sovereign nation. The present Igbo leadership must face this challenge before them right now and boldly tackle it because they will never be able to wish it away, no matter how much they try. At this juncture the people, Igbo people, look up to their leaders for a lead in the right direction: The people expect their leaders to lead them out of the Nigerian quagmire into a safe Homeland of their own.
With the greatest sense of responsibility and honour we see it as a privilege to stand before this great audience today. Brothers and sisters we want to say thank you for coming. We want to thank also those who contributed in no small measure to make this occasion possible. Ladies and gentlemen, we want to acknowledge the great efforts, services and contributions of our political leaders to our Homeland. We want to thank especially our host Imo State and her Governor Rochas Okorocha for the wonderful hospitality we have received from them.
BILIE and Bilie Human Rights Initiative, we must let us know have the backing of the UN having been registered with the United Nations as a civil society organization to represent and push for the interests and rights of the indigenous peoples of Biafra. Here following is the actual mission statement of BILIE as we have it in the United Nations document “BILIE is an Organization for the cultural, social and economic development of the Biafran people, to nurture the needs of Biafran people, to advocate for self-determination and independence of Biafra by legal methods and to bring the awareness of the situation in Biafra to the United Nations and the entire world. BILIE is a National Liberation Movement for the purposes of international law to enforce the rights of the indigenous people of Biafra." We also need to state the fact that BILIE is also registered with the Nigerian Government as a legal entity committed to advocating for the rights of and justice for the indigenous peoples of Biafra. On the whole we are using legal and peaceful means to secure our rights and freedom as a people. We in BILIE are working in association with all advocates for freedom and separation movements in all of Biafra Land. BILIE provides support and guidance of all kinds to all the liberation activists within the region. We are bound together as one people that share common hopes, history, creed, aspirations and a common goal: SELF-DETERMINATION, we want to be free.
Everyday around the world histories are being made and we believe that in the next one hundred years this gathering today will still be remembered. Yes, brothers and sisters we feel very privileged to be part of this history. As we all know, the reason for our gathering here today is freedom; Self Determination for us, our children and their own children. Freedom is one of the most basic instincts of the human nature. Freedom and the right to determine how we use it as human beings are as basic to our existence as the air we breathe and the food we eat. For any individual or a group of people anywhere in the world, freedom is not a privilege but a fundamental right that must be asserted and appropriated for such lives to be meaningful and dignified. No doubt, most of us who are here today must have heard this saying before: Live free or die. What this means is that freedom is superior to life itself.
Brothers and sisters as a people and as individuals to earn the respect of fellow human beings around the world we must collectively come to this most important realization that freedom precedes honour and must come before wealth and even life. This generation of all the indigenous peoples of Biafra is being confronted with this challenge today. How will history write about us? Shall it be said that we chose survival in bondage, deprivation, subjugation, colonialism, despoliation, exploitation, genocides, ethnic cleansing and hatred and denigration, religious bigotry, etc above our freedom and human dignity? God forbid.
Today as we speak, indigenous peoples all over the world are asserting themselves through referendums and even outright declaration of their freedom and independence from oppression and deceit. From Kosovo to South Sudan, peoples everywhere are taking their destinies in their own hands, taking advantage of this time; the era of Self Determination. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the greatest period for all lovers of freedom everywhere, to be alive. So, as a people we have no excuse to continue living, even the next minute, in the Nigerian bondage.
We are here today to tell us that as a people that we can be free, we must be free and we have resolved to be free. The entire world stands behind this decision, this collective desire to be free, wake up, bilite (bilie) from our defeat and resignation to a state of helplessness to that of strength so as to earn our respect and dignity among all peoples of the world. The provisions of the United Nations Charter on Indigenous Peoples’ and Human Rights and African Union Declaration in Banjul on Human and Peoples’ Rights amongst other international legal provisions serve as our bulwark and confidence in this resolve. We have both legal and a people’s popular wish for freedom to back us in this most important pursuit and nobody who has any sense of self-respect has any reason not to be part of this great Project.
But we want to remind us that what comes of this meeting will be determined not by whether we can sit together today, but whether we can work together tomorrow and always to achieve our collective goal. We believe we can. We believe we must. That is what our people expect from us. That is what the rest of the world expects from us. We will move forward together, or not at all. The challenges we face are bigger than any individual’s preferences or political ambitions. It is freedom and the liberation of a people and their Land who have been so cheated, hated, mass murdered, deprived, oppressed and decimated.
We count it as the highest honour to be part of this great Project. We challenge all of us who are seated here today or anyone reading this to get involved and together we can reclaim our sovereignty and freedom. We do not wish to deceive anyone who is here today into believing that any freedom has ever come easy. Just as they say, freedom is never given but taken; we must be ready and work as one people to take Biafra’s freedom. To take this freedom and sovereignty which rightfully belong to us, we must be ready to give it all that we have got. No sacrifice from each and every one of us will be too little or too big. We must accept the challenge and take responsibility and be willing to work together with others as brothers and sisters and as team members. That’s how we are going to achieve this goal. That’s how we’ll win this challenge.
We also challenge you to join forces together as we reach out to all others in other political zones of Nigeria who are also anxious to free themselves from this Lugardist’s bondage of one-Nigeria. We extend to all lovers of freedom everywhere our warm hand of fellowship and promise to work together with them to secure a future that is befitting of our individual’s and collective aspirations. Back home, we need to remind us that it is time for us to shed our perceived differences, from Yenegoa to Enugu and from Obubura to Benin and Asaba, we may never have a better time than now to recover that which had been taken away from us; our very selves, respect, dignity, sovereignty and freedom. And we must not fail to remind us that Biafra of today and as it has always been is a federating of consenting nations of equals who have the greatest mutual respect for one another and a sense of brotherly affection for each other because we know that our fortunes and destiny belong together. We must come together and cooperate as one people to achieve this noble goal. Now, and not any other time, is the time to act. Now is the time for all of us to forge a brotherly bond of relationship based on love, mutual respect and a sense of belonging to get the job done. We must not relent, we will not waver, we must not be distracted and we will win through a collective effort. I urge you today, nay; I challenge us, to speak with one voice and fight as one people and continuously reaffirm our unity of purpose and this honourable and legitimate desire for SELF-DETERMINATION.
As we do this we must leave behind the divisive battles and discordant voices of the past. We must not let outsiders deceive or distract us or infiltrate our ranks, there will never come a day that those detractors will have any genuine intention for us or our children. History remains our best teacher in this regard. True brother remains faithful and will never turn against you no matter what happens. It is time for us to move forward as one united people.
We should have no illusions about the work ahead of us. It will not be easy but we are determined to win and we shall win. It may take some time because along the way there will be so many details and challenges that must be worked out but because we are determined we will neither stop nor be distracted from the great prize; freedom for our people and the Land of our fathers. Standing here today we cannot give us any fail-proof roadmap of how we’ll reach that better place beyond the horizon, the Land of our dreams, but we know and can assure you that we’ll get there. We know we will. The idea and physical/geographical reality of Biafra endures. Our resolve remains firm and our victory more than at any other time in history is certain.
Thank you, God bless you and Biafra.
J. C. Madu, MD.
ON BEHALF OF BILIE HUMAN RIGHTS INITIATIVE INAUGURAL COMMITTEE.
It is reported that the Southeastern states (Igbo states) governors are scheduled to meet in Enugu in a few days’ time in order to take a collective stand on the killings of their people, Igbo and other Christians in the Islamic North of Nigeria by the jihadist group Boko Haram. It is believed by many that this meeting will define this generation of Igbo leaders. One cannot help but wonder if the intended attendees see it that way because that is what it is. The meeting will be the most important of all the meetings that these leaders will ever hold. It will define the direction and the future of the Igbo nation. And everyone is eagerly waiting. Are the leaders going to fail the led? The next few days will tell. No one envies the position of these leaders at this very challenging period in their people’s history. Since the last several months every day that passes see hundreds of dead bodies of their people being transported back to Igbo land from the Islamic North part of Nigeria. This is not counting the deluge of millions of refugees pouring in from the same Islamic North of Nigeria. There are over 3 million stranded in Kano alone, waiting to be evacuated. Today’s Igbo leaders have their plates full and probably ill-equipped to deal with the present dilemma.
Why do we say they are ill-equipped? Because only forty years ago Igbo and other Biafrans got defeated in a genocidal Biafra War in which 3.1 million of their people perished. And like a people’s history is being recycled, every event of today is a sinister replay of all the sordid events of the 1960s that led to the Biafra – Nigeria War. The decision to go to war in the 60s was quicker not because the magnitude of the atrocity was higher but because Igbo leaders then had not been defeated in war in the living memory. They sincerely believed they could take on the world and win especially as they knew they were fighting a just cause; self-defense and self-determination. But eventually they discovered the hard way that victory does not always go to the just. They found out that many times, especially in the world of yesterday, that in the real world cunning, lies and might were the most important assets. So they fought the Biafra War armed only with their belief in the justness of their cause and failed. With this in the background, any of us can easily guess what is going on in the minds of today’s Igbo leaders. Naturally no one likes to fail repeatedly especially when the future and wellbeing of an entire nation of over 50 million people are at stake.
Considering this bitter past of the people’s recent history it is not difficult to see why the terribleness of the situation is failing to elicit the urgent response from Igbo leaders as expected. Their reticence is almost understandable since they don’t want to make the same mistakes again, some people have argued. Those arguments of course can be appreciated since mistakes of this sort can be too costly and responsible leaders always weigh both short and long term effects of their actions. But a time comes when leaders that worth their salt must take their stand in every matter that concern their people. A time comes when making mistakes while acting to solve problems are better than inaction. And right now is that time in the life of the Igbo nation. The Igbo leaders of today as the custodians of the collective wishes of the people cannot afford to toy with this sacred duty of theirs at this time. They must meet and they must take decisions. They must speak the mind of their people to the world. This time calls for bold action. Every true leader knows that his greatest fear is not about mistakes and failure but it’s about not doing something when the situation requires and the people expect to hear what their leader has to say. The next question after asking about what happened has always been what does the leader, supervisor, manager, etc. say or do.
At this time in Igbo people’s history, when they are being killed and looted in their tens of thousands by the Islamic North of Nigeria the question on people’s lips is what does the Igbo leaders say. The leaders in answering the question must not only say something now but they must do something for this generation of their people and for those yet unborn. For the Igbo leaders this is the greatest moment of their lives. How do they want history to record them? This Igbo governors’ meeting of course is belated but must be convened. We hope that the meeting should be merely to formally declare what more than 98% of their people want to hear: The separation of their people and land from the Nigerian state? Anything short of that announcement will definitely be unacceptable and a letdown of Igbo people.
This moment does not call for any timid disposition, half-measures or sentiments from any Igbo leadership. This time calls for bold decisions and truth telling. Apologizing for being alive such as the one heard from Mike Udah, the Press Secretary of Peter Obi the Anambra State governor is demeaning and should be eschewed. The report has it that Mike is denying a story in the Nigerian Compass of January 23, 2012 which quoted Peter Obi as saying that “Boko Haram may divide Nigeria, says Southeast Governors.” Peter Obi happens to be the leader of the Southeast Governors. Mr. Udah repeatedly denied that the governors did not make any reference to the breaking up of Nigeria. He almost made a fool of himself in his very pathetic efforts at self-denials. At the end of watching this undignified display of abject foolery by the Press Secretary many people began to ask the inevitable questions; who is this apology supposed to serve? Where does Igbo leaders’ allegiance lie? Whose interests are they serving? Is it those of the Islamic Northern interests or Igbo people’s interests?
Many people were therefore quick to conclude that if the Igbo governors did not mention the need to break up Nigeria as a result of the activities of the terrorist Islamic Boko Haram group against the Igbo and other Christians in Nigeria then they said nothing and cannot be taken serious. If the governors did not say that Nigeria should be broken up now because over 5 million Igbo lives have been unjustly killed by the Nigerian state and the intolerant Islamic religion of the North and West of Nigeria since 1945 till date, then they must have forgotten an important part of their message, and Mike Udah should have been grateful to the reporter who wrote the story for reminding them of the right things to say at this most important time in Igbo people’s history. He should have been especially grateful to Nigerian Compass for calling to the Southeast governors’ attention the reason why they were elected to be leaders over their people at this particular time. There could not have been a better time to tell the leaders that this is the time for their glory or damnation. What the governors do today on behalf of their people in this situation will define them forever. We hope they will do the right thing and help speedy up the dissolution of the unworkable Nigerian union and free their people forever. Let’s divide Nigeria today.
After reading through Jon Gambrell's piece as published by the Associated Press titled: "Christians, Muslims Unite at Nigeria Protest" one could not help wondering at how low some people in the news media can go to promote falsehood. Could anyone with their eyes open fall into such a maggot-ridden pigsty for any filthy lucre or other such things? The writer claimed that in Kano, Nigeria 20,000 Christians stood guard over the Muslims while they prayed. This is a story that mocks the people's intelligence. At the conclusion of this obviously sponsored advertisement for the Muslim North and to show how poverty is prevalent in the Muslim North of Nigeria the writer told of how a thief in the crowd stole something and was chased and stoned by the crowd till he fell into a feces-filled ditch. Very interesting, but the writer forgot to tell his readers what the thief stole. And without being told we can easily guess what the thief stole. He stole the truth from the people and while trying to escape fell into the fetid ditch of his own distortion. Yes, no story could have been more apt in depicting any writer of falsehood. Such writers with seared conscience steal the truth from their readers and in the process of running away fall into their own dug ditches slushed with feces.
What we are seeing here is the case of hired crowds and reporters. The reporters are hired to feed their readers false information about the Nigerian situation and the crowds to shamelessly act out their badly rehashed parts in this theater of the absurd. For how long do they think they would be able to hoodwink the world? What are they going to do when Nigeria finally breaks up as it will soon? Deceit and lies do not stand the test of time, only truth does.
This brings to mind one of my mother's favorite sayings which is that more often than not, the reckless rascal always learns to become cautious, eventually but usually only after they had most times destroyed beyond repair, the better part of their lives (health). This saying is something like arriving with the "medicine after death", coming up with a cure after the sick has been pronounced dead. But why my mother's saying is even more appropriate here is that in the case of the later loss the dead may not have contributed to the cause of their death. While in this case under discussion the Muslim North and West of Nigeria had been reckless and had completely thrown caution and decorum to the wind while they impudently rampaged and devastated and ran roughshod over their "conquered" Biafran territory and demonized her people. Now it's too late. The Muslim North and West of Nigeria have crossed the Rubicon and burnt all the bridges. They have finally brought the Nigerian ship to its point of no return; The Nigeria ship is at the breakers yard now and it is of no use trying to put together the egg smashed into pieces in their unnecessary fit of Islamic religious bigotry and intolerance. Even conquered booties and territories could have been handled with some respect and dignity.
The article went on to repeat the purported sermon of the Islamic preacher whom it reported to be saying that Nigeria's problem is lack of trust and bad governance. While it totally forgot to add that it's the same mantra that all the Muslim North and West politicians have just started repeating. And it failed to tell the readers that there are no protests for the removal of oil subsidy and the so-called fuel price increases in the Southeast, the traditional home of the Igbo/Biafrans. What that is saying is that there is a deep unbridgeable divide of Nigeria's societies and no amount of distortions of truth can save the unworkable Nigerian union any longer.
At this juncture we all definitely accept the fact that all basis for trust has been lost in the so-called one-Nigerian society and what that means is that Nigeria is now ready to be broken into its separate blocs within which people, as a result of their cultural/religious affinities, can still find basis for trusting one another. The Muslim North and West of Nigeria have nothing in common with the Christian Southeast and Southsouth and so no trust exists between them. Let each part go their separate ways to pursue their separate and divergent goals and aspirations. That is the only reasonable thing to do. That is the truth and that is how to end the carnage; the Boko Haram scourge, the problem of one-Nigeria.
The Muslim North and West have continued to sing that there is a deep-seated lack of trust between the government and the governed and bad governance of the polity by the current leadership of Goodluck Jonathan, a Southern Christian who only got elected as Nigeria's President for less than one year now. The local champions like Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai continue to stretch the strain and shout it as loud as their voice can go. They preach the same even to stones when no one seems to be paying them any attention. They tell of how lack of trust and bad governance have just suddenly become the ugly twin currently bewitching Nigeria and showing themselves in poverty and illiteracy that are mostly visible in the Muslim North of Nigerian. And in the manner of someone who buried themselves their rotten arm continues to show. And they are not telling anybody about what happened in the past fifty years when the Muslim North and West held the power? At least to perfect this their naked dance in the open, they should have been emphasizing that during those 50 years there had been so much trust, good governance, prosperity and education in the Muslim North and West and elsewhere and that all those just changed only in the past one year.
As the Muslim North and West of Nigeria in their last desperate moves go around the world recruiting people to write and defend this fallacy one cannot help but smile at the sudden change. They are also campaigning that the United States and other Western countries should not let themselves be seen as siding with Nigeria's Southern Christian President against the Northern and Western Muslims of Nigeria. That may sound stupid if not denigrating and insulting; asking people not to identify with their traditional religious and cultural persuasion. But the preachers actually believe the sound of their voice.
The shoddiness in the report tells of the level of the desperation and the rush in telling the world of how hopeless Nigeria's situation has reached. Anyone trying to use blatant lies to deceive today's readers who have the capacity with just a few clicks away to get better informed on issues than any sloppy reporter is running a big risk with his or her reputation. I will always advice against that no matter the size of the inducement. At the end of the day it does not worth it.
If there was in actual fact a crowd of 20,000 (of course there couldn't have been more than 20 to 200) would it have been too difficult for any reporter that is worth his salt not to have seen that they were a hired crowd? Just before the article came out fatwa had just been declared on all Christians who lived in the North of Nigeria and most of them had left. And most of the Christians have been avoiding any flimsy gatherings even in their Churches for the risk of Boko Haram's suicide bomb attacks. So where could such a number of a crowd of 20,000 Christians been hired from. Just a few days before the oil subsidy situation Christians had been asked to leave the North of Nigeria in three days by the Boko Haram group or be killed, so how could anyone have been able to gather so many Christians in one place under that condition in Kano of all Nigerian northern cities?
It may be necessary to remind the readers at this point that this present political move by the Muslim North is nothing new; it is the same familiar pattern. In 1966 when the same Muslim North and West of Nigeria were murdering the Igbo and other Biafrans all over Nigeria, the reason that Yakubu Gowon, the then head of Nigeria gave for the killings was that "there was no longer any basis for us to continue as one country". And in pursuant of the country's still current program of cleansing Nigeria of the ethnic Christian Igbo/Biafrans murdered 3.1 million of them from 1966 to 1970. Just as in 1966, there is still no basis today for Nigeria to continue as one country.
In the past few days some concerted and vigorous efforts are being made by leaders of the Islamic North of Nigeria to change the world's opinion as to what constitutes the truth about the Islamic fundamentalist group, Boko Haram. The campaign statements of these leaders have been so loud such that in just a few days listeners' ears are almost deafened and the air waves so inundated. Now people are beginning to ask why the sudden shift from deafening silence and, on many occasions even egging on the group, to such a high pitched dissociation or differentiation and explaining. What changed? Before now the rest of the world has continued to ask, what does the Northern leaders say about the excessive Islamic killings and other abhorrent activities of the group which the world community has unanimously classified as an Islamic terrorist group based out of Nigeria's North and modeled after the Taliban terrorist cell of the Middle East/Southeast Asia and North Africa.
Now what you are hearing from the Northern leaders is a complete volte-face of what had been and what the people were used to. It is even being reported that Boko Haram is now disclaiming all their former claims in the recent time, such as the Madalla Church and other churches bombing and machine-gunning of Christians across Northern Nigeria. What a smart move. Jean Herskovits and the rest of them are proving to be smart political strategists but in this case they are a little step behind. The cat is already out of the bag. They will need to try harder to sell this ice to the Eskimos. The script they are reading from is simple enough and does not need much sophistication to unravel.
The script according to Ms. Herskovits and co says to the Muslim North; do not make this battle appear as a fight between Christians and Muslims even though everyone knows that it is. It doesn't matter, the majority of the people is gullible and will always sincerely believe only what you want them to believe. Even when they see, hear and know a different reality, they will only believe what you tell them to believe especially if the telling is coming from foreign "pundits" and news media. Use reputable foreign media outlets like the New Times and tell the world that Boko Haram of the North of Nigeria is fighting injustice.
When they ask you what injustice? Tell them poverty, unemployment and lack of infrastructure in the North of Nigeria. Since it is a Southern Christian President that is in power, you must be careful not to say you are fighting against the presidency of the Southern Christian just because you have always believed that you are born to rule. Tell the world that poverty and underdevelopment are more in the North and that the people there live on $2 or less per day and it is because of the leadership failings of the Southern Christian President who has just been in power for less than two years. You must close the people's mind from remembering that the Muslim Northern and Western leaders had been in power for nearly fifty years out of Nigeria's fifty years of independence. Can any political game plan be simpler than that and be more effective. Of course not, the simpler and more absurd, the more effective it will be, that is the reality of how most backward human beings process social and political information. That is what makes them backward, anyway.
What baffles some of us about Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria's President and the other Christian politicians from the Southeast is that they seem not to understand the game of politics or are too naïve to play the tough game. But the truth is that with the power of incumbency they can do better than what they are currently doing. Look at it, Nasir el-Rufai and the other Muslim North politicians have finally found the lines they think is convincing enough to repeat to a world they presume to be completely bereft of reasoning power. They chant them as by rote at every given opportunity and, for them it's a masterstroke, as they smile and nod to one another at how smart they are and how gullible the rest people can be.
These things are game plans. Before now the Muslim North leaders had seemed to be caught unawares. They would not say much until they could find some plausible explanations. But they have finally found their voice; much of the killings and bombings are after all not the actions of the Boko Haram group. Boko Haram could not have worn jeans; they wear kaftans, so said el-Rufai as he struggled in gallant defense of the Boko Haram group. So, the bombers and killers are not Muslims but Southern Christians, he continues, who bomb churches and kill Christians and impute the crimes on the Muslim Boko Haram. Such claims by the Northern elite and leaders cannot surprise any locals like some of us who have witnessed cases in the local market places when thieves were being chased and in the midst of the crowd confusions, the bold ones would deftly and almost magically melt into the pursuing crowd and shift the crowd's attention from themselves to some unfortunate innocent ones in the crowd and in the process quietly walk away scot-free.
The Northern and Western Muslims of Nigeria have over the years used the oil money to secure the friendship and sympathy of people like Jean Herskovits, John Campbell, the former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Andrew Young and some others who write and get published in reputable news outlets around the world and thereby make their falsified stories about the truth of the situations in Nigeria appear authentic. Why is the table turned this way? Why would not the Southeastern Christian politicians spend a little bit of money on public relations? This is sad. The same mistake was made by Emeka Ojukwu and the others in the Biafra of the 1960s, they allowed the Northern and Western Muslims of Nigeria to use the oil which is located within the Southeastern region, Biafra to negotiate with and secure the alliance of the Western countries such as Britain and the then USSR. Biafra should have mortgaged the oil in their land to secure their freedom but they failed to do just that and the Muslim North and West which have no oil used Biafra's oil instead. Jonathan today has the advantage of history to work with. He must not let himself be slaughtered by the Northern and Western Muslims of Nigeria like they did to Aguiyi Ironsi who refused to listen to the fact that the North wanted to kill him until they did. In spite of all the warnings he still retained around him the Northern elements who would murder him. He acted stupidly on that count. Ojukwu on his part had the advantage of oil within his territory but he failed to avail himself of that advantage and he lost the Biafra War as a result. That was stupid, too.
Jonathan and the rest of the Southeastern Christian politicians must not let the same history to repeat. It would be foolhardy and no one will shed any tears for them. Let them act boldly, be creative, make the first move rather than react to the moves of the Muslim North and West of Nigeria. They should shop around the world for supporters and sympathizers who would write and talk in favor of their own position. They must never make the mistake of thinking that because they are Christians some of the Western nations will support them if they would not negotiate and lobby with the money and oil within their territory. Nigeria will not survive any much longer; they had better get used to it and start winning friends and supporters around the world while they have the time. And these potential friends will not do it for nothing. They will need money for logistics and operating expenses. That my friends, cannot be regarded as corruption.
To gain the confidence and support of countries and corporate bodies around the world you must be very clear with them on what economic gains that they stand to get out of the relationship. The Muslim North that conceived and equipped Boko Haram may still want to hold off for a little longer hence they are using people like Ms. Herskovits to buy time. But it is too late now and the North as always is prepared to fight dirty. Jonathan and co should not be deceived and cannot afford to relax their guard at any time. The Muslim North has got enough war materials and weapons and men to match the so-called Nigerian military in combat for several months if Jonathan and co are banking on that. The people behind Boko Haram are the same people who are out right now campaigning vigorously and disclaiming the claims of the group. Someone would want to ask if their disclamations do not make them look childish and stupid. No, that is politics and some people call such dirty politics but they get away with it and that is what matters.
You can choose to beat them rather than join them. Jonathan and co must put together the only effective plan of action that is available to them; partition Nigeria. Let the groups that have commonality of interests and world views merge if they so wish and go their separate ways. Nigeria as it is will never work. It's absolutely stupid to continue to hold off the day that can as well come today. It's a tough and pragmatic decision like this at a time like this that distinguishes the man. Nigeria's greatest and only problem is its diversity. So, Boko Haram instead of being Nigeria's problem is rather the solution, if Jonathan can do the right thing.