Saturday, 12 August 2017 09:57

Igbos need to learn real politics

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IGBOS POLITICAL NAIVETE AND THE CALL FOR REFERENDUM FOR IGBOS TO SEPARATE FROM NIGERIA

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

Recently, there were changes of governments in the USA, Britain and France. The three countries have new presidents or prime ministers and foreign ministers. These folks will be making decisions that affect Igbos; their positions on whether Igbos should be allowed to have a referendum matters. They are in a position to pressure the Nigerian government to allow referendum or not.

The Hausa Fulani know this fact and so probably are doing something about it. They have stated their opposition to referendum, for it is not in their self-interests to do so; it would lead to losing the Niger Delta hence the source of their revenue.

Yorubas can be persuaded to go along with referendum, provided that they see it as in their self-interests. If Igbos are politically savvy they would concentrate on getting Yorubas to agree on referendum for all tribes in Nigeria to decide whether they would like to stay in Nigeria or leave Nigeria.

Instead, Igbos are busy gratifying their neurotic need to insult Yorubas so as to feel imaginarily superior to them. In putting down Yorubas they lose a potential ally in their struggle for separation from Nigeria.

I bet you that Northern Nigerian governors and or their surrogates have probably met with the new British Foreign Minister, Boris Johnson, and the new US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. They have probably presented to them what they consider to be good for Nigeria, which would be the continued corporate existence of Nigeria as one country. In effect, they have lobbied the rulers of the two significant countries that could make or unmake Nigeria.

There is no way that you can break up Nigeria without British approval, after all Nigeria is their baby, they put it together and as their handiwork they want it to survive. The fact that Nigeria, on paper, is independent does not mean that it can do whatever it wants without the approval of other nations who are vested in its politics.

If you try to break up Nigeria Britain can actually intervene to keep it together; this is called geopolitics and real politics but naïve Igbos apparently think that Britain must hands off Nigeria and thus allow them to just leave the country.

Countries were put together by military force and are only broken with military force, real or perceived. If a state in the USA tries to secede it would learn that democracy is ideal but not reality; Uncle Sam would attack and destroy it; it happened during the American civil war and the South was literally destroyed; the south actually has not fully resurrected from General Sherman's march through it, burning down its cities, including Atlanta that was razed to the ground.

Naïve Igbos talk about Britain giving Scotland the opportunity for a referendum. How do they know that Britain would have accepted a yes vote by the Scots?

How many wars did the English fight to conquer Scotland and bring it under their control? Try looking at five hundred years war, from the 1200s to the final 1707 unification of the two kingdoms...by force!

How do you know that Spain would allow Catalonia to separate from it? Many wars were fought to keep Spain together, beginning with the Reconquista from Muslim Arabs.

Many Igbos take their wishes for a separate country as real politics. Politics is war by other means, as war is politics by other means, Otto Von Clausewitz said in his famous book, On war.

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, USSR, broke up in 1991 because of the relentless efforts by the Capitalist West to destroy it. That is, the country allowed the secession of the sixteen republics that had constituted it because it was weak; it was flat on its back. As Russia becomes powerful and the US' power wanes it might reconstitute its former empire! Ukraine is already feeling the anger of a Russia angry at its shrunken empire!

Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia broke up because they were not countries until after the First World War. Those who put them together, the West, at the treaty of Versailles in 1919, wanted them apart to get at Russia, to weaken Russia, reduce her sphere of influence!

British India was split into India and Pakistan for many inevitable reasons, including religious differences.

Bangladesh was separated from Pakistan by India so it could easily demand and separate from Pakistan.

East Timor separated from Indonesia only after many pogroms. As we talk, Indonesia is killing thousands of Western New Guineans who want to separate from Indonesia and the world keeps silent over their massacre.

South Sudan fought with Sudan from 1956 to 2010 before it was allowed to separate; that is, over fifty years' war.

The Biafran war lasted only thirty months before Igbos gave up! People with a tendency to immediate gratification, as Igbos are, are probably not going to be able to sustain a protracted fifty years war!

No leader wants his country to break apart and only allows it if he is weak and has no choice. Nigerian leaders are not yet that weak to allow Biafrans to leave a country they conquered by force during the Nigerian civil war.

As long as Nigeria has money from oil and can buy weapons its leaders will fight to keep the country together? But when revenue from oil is gone and the country has no money to pay its military, it would be weak and will be forced to concede power to secessionists.

Now, ask if Igbo governors have sought meetings with Tillerson or Johnson? I can confidently say that the answer is no.  Of course they have not met Theresa May and Donald Trump.  They have not presented their agenda to the rulers of the extant world and tried to persuade them to see things their way.

Where exactly are Biafrans figuring on buying weapons with which to fight Nigeria, from the moon? Have they made arrangements with those who are going to supply them with weapons? Are they figuring on fighting with sticks, as they did during the civil war?

Are they planning to sacrifice their people, have them slaughtered by well-armed Nigerians? That is criminal behavior, you know!

This shows Igbo political naiveté. Igbos are too busy struggling to seem individually important by seeking money with which to seem rich to actually do what they have to do for the good of all Igbos.

Nnamdi Kanu is allowed by the powers that be in Nigeria to run around, violate his probation conditions, making noise about Biafra this or that.

It does not take rocket science to realize that Nigerians have short attention span. Nnamdi Kanu will soon fade away. Indeed, the killing at an Ozubulu church has taken attention away from him. We have not heard much from him and his entourage since the Ozubulu tragedy.

The man will retain the attention of the media until there is a different game in town. Perhaps, the powers that be in Nigeria dangle money before him and he takes the bait and it is leaked to the Press who write about it and he is finished.

Something is going to go down and our attention shifts away and we forget about Kanu, as we have forgotten his boss, Ralph Uwazurike of the mobilization for the actualization of sovereign state of Biafra.

A few years ago Uwazurike and his gang were all over Alaigbo demonstrating and the Nigerian police mowed some of them down and the rest of them disappeared from public limelight.

Kanu and his gang are literally acting like thugs; if you are perceived to oppose them you would be beaten up, if not killed. They are using force to intimidate folks into silence. So much for the Biafra that is going to become democracy's haven!

I wrote a piece on the Ozubulu massacre and for some reasons Nigerians liked it and it went viral; it is all over Nigeria, both in print and electronic media.

The Biafrans are angry at me and try to threaten me; indeed, some of them wrote to me and asked we to withdraw it, or else. I smiled.

They have no clue who they are dealing with. They are like the clueless Igbos at Nigerian Internet forums that felt that they could take me down by writing incredible lies about me.

If I am convinced that something is the truth you can stand on your head and oppose me and I would not flinch. Apparently, these folks do not seem to have the ability to read people well and know who to oppose and who not to try to intimidate.

Intimidate me? No man born of a woman can intimidate me. Not even Jesus or God can make me change my mind if I believe that something is true.

Threatening me would do them no good. What they need to do is work with me. If I choose to I can teach them International relationships and world politics (I became a professor of Government at age thirty, and, thereafter, branched off to psychology).

I do not see any Igbo in the horizon who actually understands politics, domestic or international, and if I choose to I can teach it to them.  I can couch them on how to make presentations to decision makers and those listen to them.

This would happen if I supported their secessionist movement. Unfortunately for them, I do not whole heartedly support the balkanization of Nigeria.

However, I want Nigeria to be restructured into about twelve ethnically based states, with Alaigbo, from Agbo to Igwe Ocha and from Arochukwu to Nnsuka to become a state. Each state must have total control of its resources and its citizens pay tax to support the central government. I am talking about something that looks like the USA in its federalism.

Igbos never had Igbo wide political structure; they need to have an opportunity to govern all of Alaigbo and learn how to govern a human polity. They need to do so for a couple hundred years until they acquire political and leadership skills.

I believe that if they precipitously separate from Nigeria, given their political naiveté, they would go over the cliff and descend into darkness, chaos and anarchy.

Given Igbos proclivity to individualism and lack of concern for other people's welfare, Alaigbo could very well become Thomas Hobbes State of nature; each person would be at war with others and life would become nasty, brutish and short; with the absence of a leviathan, a powerful government to constrain Igbos, they would live in perpetual insecurity.

The chaos we see in South Sudan and Somalia might be a child's play compared to what could ensue in Alaigbo.

Igbos need to learn to work for the collectivity; at present they mostly work for the individual and then like children boast about their individual achievements. They don't even want to pay taxes with which public goods like roads, water and electricity are provide for all people.

Each Igbo construes his so-called republicanism as being wild, living in the jungle where each person looks after his self-interest but does not do anything to serve social interests.

Igbos wild, independent egos need to be brutally subjugated to serving the group. Serving the group's interest instead of the individual's interests, alone, is what civilization is all about. Every republic or empire is maintained by those who are dedicated to it, not by individuals talking about their silly individual achievements. At present I do not see Igbos who are dedicated to serving Igbos public good; in effect, I do not see leaders in Alaigbo!

I am writing this little essay to show how politically unsophisticated Igbos are by pointing out that their leaders are not currently networking with the powers that be in the world, the rulers of Britain, France and the USA, the three countries that can make or break their wish to separate from Nigeria or to restructure Nigeria to their advantage.  They apparently believe that demonstrating would force the Nigerian state to call for referendum; it wouldn't.

Neither would their efforts lead the United Nations or Africa Union to call for a referendum in Nigeria.

Talking about the UN and AU, I bet you that Igbo leaders have not   had meetings with the new secretary general of the UN and the Secretary of the AU.

I tell you, Igbos do not understand how real politics works. They really, really could use some couching on the art of real politics; at present they are merely filling the air with hot air that would lead them to nowhere.

Nor is their effort at making Nigerians to feel guilty, by always reminding them that they killed Igbos during the civil war, going to lead Nigerians to do what they want.

Calling Nigerians abusive, put down names actually would make them dig in and they frustrate whatever goals Igbos have.

Igbos have to learn diplomacy and tactfulness; they have to learn to say nice things about their supposed enemies; they have to learn how to schmooze with those who can help or frustrate their goal attainment. Sun Tzu made these points in his book, The Art of War.

PS: Lately, my preoccupation is psychology. Increasingly, however, I feel like putting on my political scientist's hat and giving Igbos some training in real politics; their incessant jabbering on wishful politics, magical thinking, really, irritates me no end.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji, PhD

August 12, 2017

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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: ozodiosuji@gmail.com (907) 310-8176