In this past one week a crisis of a different kind has engulfed Nigeria; oil subsidy removal. Nigeria is considered as a big producer of crude oil but it spends billions of dollars annually to import the refined and finished products of oil from foreign countries. It is as a result of such cumbersome arrangement that made the country to subsidize the products so as to make them affordable by the people. And as expected some unscrupulous elements quickly buy up the subsidized products and re-export them to the neighboring countries and earn huge profits. So the products are never enough to go round within the country. Now the government feels it has bled enough and wanted to plug up the hemorrhage and so the trouble started.
Several people have been killed and about all economic and social activities became grounded. The price of fuel has suddenly tripled over night with the attendant ripple effects. There is a showdown between the people and the government. Organized labor unions are leading the protests, even the Police force joined in solidarity with those opposed to the sudden resulting price hike. Opinion leaders and writers added their voices in condemning or approving the government’s action. A group of Nigerian writers numbering about 37 are reported to have signed a petition expressing their stand on the issue. It is interesting to note that Chinua Achebe’s name tops the list.
Isn’t it amazing how it’s become convenient for Igbo people of repute to prefer to spearhead matters that concern others while being ashamed to identify with their own people’s problem? It should be noted that a man’s special talent is only worth much when it is used for the benefit and alleviation of the pains and sufferings of others who are less fortunate. Achebe is hugely gifted and he is Igbo. The troubling question on the minds of people everywhere including Igbo people is why is he and others so gifted unwilling to use their position of influence on the behalf of their people, the Igbo. This is not an idle question at all. The reason being that at this very moment Achebe’s people, the Igbo are being killed and bombed into smithereens by the Muslim North of Nigeria but Achebe has not come out forcefully to condemn the atrocities.
Achebe’s people, the Igbo want to get out of Nigeria and become independent as Republic of Biafra and it is shocking to note that Achebe is not saying anything to help push for this noble move. Achebe cannot claim to be a stranger to the present situation befalling his people the Igbo. It must be recalled that Achebe would have fallen victim to the same Islamic fanatics of North and West of Nigeria some forty something years ago when they came to kill him in the offices of Radio Nigeria Lagos where he worked. He was lucky enough to have escaped these Muslim killers but the members of the congregation at St Theresa’s Church in Madalla were not as lucky on the morning of 2011 Christmas Day. They were Igbo people and they were bombed, shredded and roasted by the same Islamic jihadists who had come for Achebe in Lagos Nigeria four decades ago. It must be remembered also that Achebe participated gallantly in the Biafran War as a Biafran and we will forever remain grateful for the sacrifices he and others put in to preserve the Igbo race during those dark days in our history.
But what we are saying is that once is not enough. The Igbo are still being killed and destroyed by the same enemy and we are calling on all men and women of goodwill to get involved in helping to stop this Islamic madness against our people. We are not asking Achebe and others to go into the trenches with us today when the time comes. No, they have done that and proved themselves as men. This generation is proud of their gallantry. We are asking Achebe and others just like the Roman army officer whose servant was sick and when he came to Jesus for help and Jesus volunteered to go with him to his house to heal the servant. The officer marveled Jesus by saying to him, just say the word, you don’t have to go with me to my house. The officer told Jesus that his word has all the power in it to heal his servant even from a distance.
So, what this is teaching us is that no generation of the Igbo people alive today is exempt from participating in the liberation of Igbo people and their land from the Nigerian occupation. Some only need to say the word from wherever they are and Igbo shall be free. But others must get physically and practically involved. It is the combined forces of those in the field and others at rear that will eventually free the Igbo and her land from Nigeria. We challenge Achebe and others to write non-fiction books of one thousand pages in support of Biafra’s independence and Biafra shall be free. We are calling on Achebe and others to support the movement for the actualization of the New Biafra because they will be doing it for the next generation and they will thank them for it. Achebe and any other who thinks along the line are mistaken and he himself knows it that the problem with Nigeria is not bad leadership but political/social structural defect. He knows that the day will never come when the Islamic Nigeria will get tamed enough to tolerate people of a different cultural/religious view. Achebe knows that the problem with Nigeria is its diversity. And he equally knows that the solution to Nigeria’s problem is to divide and partition Nigeria along the naturally occurring national/cultural boundaries. Achebe and others like him have such a powerful and excellent mind to grasp this truth and any belief they hold to the contrary is dishonest, insincere, naïve and selfish.
Achebe and others like him cannot afford to leave the scene without making sure that they created an enabling condition that will lead to the eventual freedom of their people from the evil grip on them by the Nigerian state. That will not speak well in the memory of these great men and women. A time comes for everyone when they contemplate the kind of legacy they will leave behind when they depart the stage. In as much as we should think about our today, the tomorrow we shall not participate in directly should concern us even more. Any extant generation is considered great or not based mostly on the works of the preceding one. If we have had it good or bad the next generation will be better or worse based purely on what we did or did not do today. The truth is that Nigeria will never work as it is presently constituted and Igbo people will never have a future or any meaningful progress being part of Nigeria of any kind. Achebe and others have very fine minds to know this truth and they do know it. Supporting Biafra’s freedom is altruism while rooting for any kind of one-Nigeria or even just criticizing it and not offering the only viable and practical solution (partition) to its problem is selfishness. Support life. Support tomorrow. Support freedom. Support Biafra.