Thursday, November 19, 2015

Speak up before it is too late says Ezeife

Former Governor of Anambra State Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife recently said that the unruly and illegal activities of pro- "Biafra" agitators were because President Muhammadu Buhari's "body language" is pushing the South-East Zone to contemplate seceding from Nigeria.

This statement will be remembered for a long time as one of the most irresponsible ever made by an elderly man in Nigeria. Neither Ezeife nor any of the agitators could mention anything concrete that President Buhari did since May to injure the rights of the Igbo or any other section of the country, enough to warrant the threat of secession. The likes of Ezeife are merely inventing offenses related to an undefined "body language."

Despite Ezeife's wild claims, the truth is that agitation for the actualization of "Biafra" preceded Buhari's government by many years. It has been a notorious bargaining chip in the hands of selfish and unscrupulous men who are ready to plunge the country into chaos for their self-aggrandizement. The Movement for the Actualization of Biafra (MASSOB) for example was formed more than a decade before Buhari became president. Similarly, the illegal and cowardly "Radio Biafra" was broadcasting hate messages against other Nigerians even during the Jonathan regime, which was supposed to be politically friendly to the Igbo. The latest uproar was caused by the antics of Nnamdi Kanu of the so-called "Indigenous Peoples of Biafra" who, after breaking away from MASSOB, set up a radio station which he used to spew out hate messages.

It is true that the South East Igbo heartland has many environmental, economic and social problems, but so have all other regions of the country. Their representatives in government have failed to ensure that projects meant for the region are included in the budgets and faithfully executed. Apart from the 1967 Consultative Assembly of Eastern Nigeria which mandated then Colonel Ojukwu to declare a Republic of Biafra, there has not been any forum or platform under which the Igbo people have mandated any person or group of people to agitate for the actualization of Biafra. Before his demise the late Biafran warlord Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu, Ikemba Nnewi contested for the presidency of Nigeria twice, in 2003 and 2007, under the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). He made it clear at the time that the interests of the Igbo speaking peoples lie in fighting for their rights within a unified Nigeria.

However in complete contravention of the Ikemba's wise stand, Mr. Uchenna Madu, factional chairman of MASSOB outrageously claims that the Igbo people have been on the receiving end of marginalization, subjugation and neglect. This cry is completely unfounded. Igbos have participated in the making of all Nigerian constitutions since 1978 and they have been represented at all levels of government since then including as Vice-President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Justices of the Supreme Court, Ministers, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Air Staff, and Inspector-General of Police.

Ethnic groups in the South-South region have quite rightly disassociated themselves from purported inclusion in the map of "Biafra" which is being sold openly in the East. Itsekiri, Ijaw and Urhobo leaders have condemned their inclusion in the proposed Biafra, pledging allegiance to one Nigeria. Indeed it is difficult to understand the logic of the protesters. While they claim to be fighting for their leader's release, the simple fact is that Kanu was granted bail by a court but none of his supporters tried to meet the bail conditions.Instead of helping him to meet his bail conditions, they are mobilizing funds to sponsor protests for his release.

Mr. Nnamdi Kanu made irresponsible and incendiary threats to "kill everybody in Nigeria if they don't give us Biafra" and now that he has been caught, he must be made to answer for his terrorist and treasonable threat. Wild street protests by errant youths are not a substitute for defending himself in court. Meanwhile, we urge all political and traditional leaders of the South East region to call these unruly youths to order before things get out of hand. Governors of the South East and Ohanaeze Ndi'Igbo in particular should speak up now and quench this smoldering fire.

AbleMoJah® Nigeria.

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