Monday, October 31, 2011

[Nigeria] Nd'Igbo, Persecution, Etc. and Random Thoughts

I am not the only one who had thought the whole idea was crazy, even though I had overlooked it as a rhetorical garbage, hearing about it as a speculation and what the news outlets had gathered.

I am not the only one who felt the pain that a brother in a new line of attack wants his own brother permanently out of his face.

And I am not the only one who had seen the order from Theodore Ahamefula Orji’s administration in Abia State asking non-indigenes of the state to leave his government office jobs alone drawn from the deadly Boko Haram incidents Vanguard’s Pini Jason called ‘Tufiakwa,’ an outright abomination in Igboland.

I am not the only one who had thought the decision of a 21st Century persecution of a group of people profiled for some inexplicable events I’m yet to fathom, was bizarre and should be condemned in its entirety.

And, for sure, I am not the only one who is seeing the ridiculous measure as a tactic to change its subject, hijacking the peoples mandate to run a regime typical of banana republics.

And what would have amounted to such unimaginable action as a move beyond reasoning by Orji asking non-indigenes in his state to leave his civil service alone?

If this clueless ‘executive’ and his action is not an indication of madness and psychological problems, I don’t know what else is.

After giving a thought to Orji’s weird decision, I had hoped it was like another sensationalized story and, thus have this to say: One, I really hope Orji’s cabinet reverses its decision. Two, I hope the decision is not true and had been taken out of context through its legislative process before becoming law. Three, I hope it’s like one of the practical jokes picked up by the tabloids targeting its reading audience for some cheap shots. Four, if indeed it’s true that Abia State had a plan to sack her own kith and kin from a land that was once one entity and a land once a whole before the mean strategy of divide and rule by the colonization powers and military juntas, Igbo, then, should forget about its own national state. And five, if as it has become true and all the Igbo-related states are now bent, watch the forbidden decision unfold in Abia, and do nothing by way of mass movements - demonstrations, sanctions and other related measures to proclaim Abia a pariah state - Igbo should forget its national state, living as predicted and appears; a peoples disappearing cultural heritage and natural being, coupled with the landscape that identifies it as a national state.

That would mean Igbo is done with its nationhood, eventually. It would mean no such thing as Igbo. It would mean Igbo would be extinct as a people, evolving to a blend of other people, culture and languages. And it would mean what its culturally heritage rivals had haggled on, over time in terms of its exceptional culture and tradition, that Igbo never had a unique culture, was never distinct as had been thought, which evidently had become the simple truth.

It is pointblank in this regard that no one should come after me as in the past on my essays, reports and views which caused all sorts of outrage from related events over time, and the analysis following the thoughts I had penned into perspective; issues concerning Nd’Igbo and how to screw in the nuts and bolts needed for a permanently structured place, appropriately. As those thought-provoking papers were directed toward effective leadership which had been lacking, measuring the capability and the capacity of the seriousness in which organized people gets things done. Even though it came with reasonable and logical responses from a very few on the subject matter, many, beyond imagination, chipped in with their ideological views, unrelated and incoherent to the topic in question with quantities of angry mail that flooded my mail box. Some of the bunch were sociological anger by its expression. “Who is it you are writing for?” How much are they paying you for all these your write-ups?” “You have been sent to destroy my political career.” “When you collect, you write good and when you don’t collect, you criticize.” “What did Nd’Igbo do to you?” “I like the way you write but people are complaining that you only criticize Nd’Igbo,” read some of the angry mails and comments.

And with all that hate mails popped out due to the magic pen I had used to write about a peoples social ills, not too many are now raising hell to the line of profiling, bigotry and hatred instituted by the government of Abia State on a people it shares the same lineage. A people culturally and linguistically bonded. A people known to have shared the same ancestors. A people commonly bonded by way of its worship until the advent of the missionaries and the colonial mandates; and a people that have lived, prayed and worked together for onward objectivity.

Many are now tight-lipped for having nothing to say on a variety of reasons - not wanting to be disturbed - being preoccupied with personal obligations, got bills to pay, not the one to fix Igbo problems, none of “my” business and besides, “they should put their own acts together,” and things like that.

Many do not want it mentioned in their face, the in-your-face kind of attitude, for problems heavily accumulated and problems requiring little or nothing, best known to them. Gestured moves like, I don’t have a job and why should I be worried about something that is not going to fetch me a job or pay my bills. Who cares and why couldn’t those non-indigenes stay in their respective states of origin or relocate elsewhere no such laws of eviction exists? Why are all the brouhaha news when there are numerous overwhelming challenges facing them ahead? Why are they in such a bad shape, anyway, and why would all these nonsense stick out when the sitting governor was not legitimately elected in the first place?

Many are moving on, doing their own thing as it pleases them; for their property, life and wealth comes first before any social ills sort of, that will not contribute to their welfare.

Many gave a thought to Abia State’s newest proposition, writing and talking about it as a taboo and should not be allowed to be implemented in the said state; for it would ruin the foundations of Igbo cultural heritage.

And many, as obviously may have been the case, indicated the sanction did not target Igbo indigenes but non Igbo indigenes, and no matter what the decision may have seemed to be, that it included Nd’Igbo on its eviction notice to proclaim the action was not bias, and that realistically, no Igbo had been affected or evicted from the state’s franchise following the strange decision.

Nevertheless, when a government respects the rule of law, upholding democracy its legislative body makes, it should be known that a legislative process in any democratic order involves representations from districts/zones in which proposals are tabled or set in motion for legislation, and when passed on the terms of required figures favoring the proposition which then becomes law, and despite the negating party which may be short of gridlock or fails to garner enough counts to kill such proposition, the yays takes it away, thus making its sponsored motion law, as in all democracies, unless otherwise.

So, as it happened, Abia State in what it had claimed as events that led to evict non indigenes from its governmental offices, the Boko Haram terrorists, it saw threatened the state from its relative bombings elsewhere which ignited the deal of persecution and justifying it with action “timely taken” by Governor Orji.

Persecution had been a classic case of human endeavor. But persecuting a cousin is way out of fashion. I would have been less worried if the Abia State government had been concerned on the mounting pressing problems in the state - widespread scandals of kidnapping, rape, assassinations, civil unrests resulting from related socio-economic problems as part of unending tragedy in the state, rather than its new measure, taking its woes on a people of its kind, moving to where they find life sustainable and comfortable.

In analogy to persecuting people on reasons of faith, language, religion, culture, economics and what have you - the Spanish Inquisition; Adolf Hitler’s persecution of Jews and Gypsies in Europe; and persecutions in related African countries, draws Abia’s “non-indigenes must go” into perspective with a whole lot of questioning, though.

“If we had some sense of shame, I mean even a little, some people called traditional rulers in the state should know they have no business in this matter, and it is totally out of place for them to log unto this dirty side of politicking to champion a cause,” writes Ikenna Emewu (Daily Sun). “So base and inane as this discriminatory policy of a state against its own blood. If indeed, this list of traditional rulers – about 10 of them and some others in the list is real, I really sympathize with the communities they rule.”

The traditional rulers had been something else but total blame should be irrelevant when a cast of administrative personnel lumped together would endorse an arbitrary measure which makes it scary. The traditional rulers, to be precise, are the architects of destruction in Igboland, in every aspect of its civil liberties, even though the enlightened ones among them sit idly and watch these ridiculous measures unfold. What unfolded in Abia State should not be of a “stunning gig “ based on how Ndigbo operates, remarkably with the traditional rulers who have no business in a just, representative and accountability government but the desire to put in monkey wrench to cause havoc in every of its dealings, adding insult to dishonor. And on the claim that Imo was not nice to Nd’Abia on the breaking down and carving out of the state from a previously dissected Eastern Region to East Central State, to Imo State - Yakubu Gowon and Murtala Muhammad military juntas - a plot orchestrated to keep Igbo divided; which should be taken that Abia had declared its isolation from Igbo in its entirety and no longer care..

The point is, nobody seems to be paying attention as to where Orji’s executive order may lead to and when that decision had been to kick the rest of Nd’Igbo out from its civil service, that could also be making a whole lot of stuff clear for Nd’Igbo: that, say, for instance, an Arochukwu is being savagely axed or murdered in the most brutal way, and a fellow Igbo who stood by watch the horrific event take place must not be questioned or blamed in an act of feud across state lines among brothers, because Orji had fired the first shot in what would be a long battle of a brothers war. That when an ethnic slur is rained against an Ngwa at a market square, it would be fine to cheer on remarks of bigotry and hatred, because Orji started it all. That assuming a Bende man got into squabbles of civil unrest in the northern landscapes and about to be lynched for simply being Igbo while an Igbo at the scene could have intervened but didn’t on the grounds of an irrational executive order by Abia State government.

As the list goes, that an Abriba girl happens to be hijacked by a gang of cultist rapists and another Ihiala man was well positioned to have stopped the rapists and wouldn’t do it just to retaliate by way of personal vendetta, getting even as a result of the actions by Abia government against Nd’Igbo. That an Mbano trader could not meet a fellow colleague of Njaba descent on business related talks over pounded yam and ofe olugbo, bitter leaf soup, at an eatery around the block because the restaurateur hails from Ohafia.

Or as we may have discovered the tragic events of our time, that Nd’Igbo whose history has been of political impotence and victims of genocidal campaigns; and all of a sudden, the northern Islamic Jihadists and terrorists begins to sound positively bloodthirsty again, as in the Sharia Debacle of 2000, and had turned en masse against Igbo women, men, children and their properties in another cycle of wanton killings, and demolitions; and as in a new balkanization theory begun by the state of Abia which would justify the gruesome acts of the Islamic “Jihadic” nihilists and hoodlums on the basis “Igbos have no business to where they don’t belong” in supposedly a Nigerian national state having no restrictions on the free movements of peoples.

What message would Abia State be sending to the rest of the nation when it creates a platform encouraging the northern Islamic terrorists that its acts of terrorism is justified for the purpose of deliberately eliminating its own kind by walling.

Igbo, from generations, not even recorded, has been spoken within the borders in predawn Southern Nigerian Protectorate, a colonial schedule by fabrication - Umunede, Agbor, Asaba, Okpanam, Okitipupa, Igurita, Auchi, Lagos, Abeokuta, Omoku, Ikwerre, Ogoni, Bonny, Okirika, Nando, Ugep, Adadama, Degema, Ogoja, Iva Valley, Enugu, Enugu Ukwu, Ohaji, Egbema, Diobu, Yenagoa, Ahoada, Umuapu, Osina, Akokwa, Umuobom, Arondizuogu, Ikot Ekpene, Nsugbe, Otura, Nnewi, Ogidi, Abagana, Obodo Ukwu, Orlu, Amaigbo, Abba, Ore, Benin City, Warri, Abonema, Obigbo, Umuahia, Uzuakoli, Ogbunike and the list goes on and on - identified with its roots, accent, way of life and tradition.

During the Sovereign National Conferences debates upon the birth of the Fourth Republic when Olusegun Obasanjo who came close to death under Sani Abacha’s gulag, was handed the mantle to take over the affairs of state in a fraudulent election conducted by the Abdulsalami Abubakar’s military juntas, series of groups surfaced on ethnic and tribal lines suggesting the necessities of a sovereign national conference as a road map to a working document for the country. Obasanjo singlehandedly killed that motive.

By then, many groups erupted, waxing stronger save for an Igbo-related group, though the late Stanley Macebuh had earlier founded Post Express, first online national newsreel that provided all around the clock news-related analysis to the nation’s readers. It was during this time I was able to connect with my colleagues piecing together stuff for North Carolina-based Chuck Odili who emerged stronger with the Nigerian World website and the Naijanet discussion group which ignited a new political era for the Fourth Republic with political discourse at its best, before folks who joined lately and hijacked the forums to something else, seeking relevance.

It was also then, that every Nigerian sought the Aburi Accord, the first post-independence conference to resolve the nation’s internal strife and would be breached by the federal Nigerian vandals in its quest for genocide and occupation of Igboland.

Mobolaji Aluko, then Yoruba mouthpiece in its social network began corresponding with me with regards to the Aburi Accord.. Aluko lectured at Howard University, Washington, D.C., and had appeared at Nigerian World related political discourse in an attempt to sell his sovereign national conference campaigns to a young, radical audience that declined to buy his product. Aluko, irratical, angry, mischievous and tribally bent political salesman, left the forum, and in a nutshell, created his own website to promote his agenda and the Yoruba ingrained Awoist principles.

The irony during this period a “reborn” nation was seeking its path to a sound democratic order, Igbos were hovering, knowing not what to do until the Dallas Igbo elites, spearheaded by Acho Orabuchi, founded Igbo Forum, a platform that was way overdue and applauded gracefully. As it happened, it would not be long when the rascals would hijack the place ridiculing the place beyond imagination. Igbo Forum and its sister discussion groups never would be the same again, henceforth.

Sadly, as it developed, Igbo happened to have fallen into a country widely known for its philandering politicians reason why nothing works in its endeavor to get things straight - a brutal police and military force, an Islamic “Jihad” terrorists, a murderous gang of militants, a failed state, collapsed culture and corrupt leaders - virtually in everything that is bad, including the churches all across the land purportedly to have followed the Gospels accordingly, but deviated, misinterpreting the Biblical principles, taking the whole concept to a whole new heights and blown out of proportion. And in some of the bizarre cases, they hold their mouth while the congregational leads are engaged taking advantage of their victims, the gullible and vulnerable ones who had been left with no choices, and who are eventually castigated for attempt to destroying God’s House of Worship by seducing and charming these congregational leaders, offering them what they couldn’t refuse. Such has been the dilemma of these congregational worship centers.

Moreover, as these atrocities and moral outrages are been unveiled, taking other parts of the world, for example, the social media have had a part in changing all that - in their leaderships like in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and now all around the world with Occupy Wall Street, demonstrations, denouncing corporate greed; with an impact already felt and a big ups for digital social media - Facebook, Twitter and other networks.

Are Nd’Igbo using these social media networks effectively?

The answer would be an “absolutely not!” In June of 2010, twenty-eight-year-old Khaled Said from Alexandria, Egypt, was beaten badly by Egyptian Police while witness and several hand held cameras documented the assault. Despite police denial and cover ups by the Egyptian state, contrary evidence was posted by Egyptians on Facebook and Youtube. It was this disturbing development that that twenty-nine-year-old Wael Ghonim, Googles marketing big wig took his expertise to work. He created the Facebook group “We Are All Khalid Said,” for people to join in protest for the case. Ghonim was arrested returning to Egypy from Dubai where he started the movement that eventually ousted Hosni Mubarak. The Internet movement spread elsewhere in the Arab League becoming a phenomenon all around the globe.

Similarly, there has been cases of murder, extra judicial killings in all the Igbo states, corrupt politicians and scores of atrocities all over the land, and yet the only tool left could not be utilized to effect changes as seen in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, the ongoing strife in Syria, Yemen, and several parts of the globe, using the Internet as a force of change and “liberation.”

The arrival of the rascals at Igbo Forum when Igbo elites took things for granted - the inability to set standards with guidelines for decorum and topics to be posted and discussed relative to current trends on all Igbo-related political debates and engaging the politicians in a sense of belonging to their best in providing the structural needs of the people they had been elected to serve.

While Igbo Forum emerged, its counterparts had already concluded its phase of its charter and ready to present its recommendations to the much, looked forward to Sovereign National Conference. By this time, the forum had begun to fall apart for lack of keeping up its archives resulting from non payment of dues. As it happened, a series of Igbo forums begun to surface since the breakouts wanted to go on to the local level - remotely to their enclaves - Nd’Ngwa Forum, UmuAnambra Forum, ASA-USA Forum, Akah Forum, NdiIgbo Forum, Old Orlu Province, Waawa Forum, Njaba South, World Igbo Forum, Igbo Events, Igbo Worldnet Forum and the list goes on and on.

Quite disturbing, typical and indication of a people divided. And when one looks at all the nonsense coming out from Abia and the gang of Orji’s election fraudsters who stole the peoples mandate, one would be wondering if Abia’s really the part of Igboland and origin where prominent Igboist in the likes of Michael I. Okpara, Alvan Ikokwu, Francis Akanu Ibiam and numerous other good men came from.

Until now, Igbo seems not to be getting it, regardless of the ongoing pathetic thirteen years of the nation’s fledgling democracy in the Fourth Republic; that after thirteen years the experiment seems not to be working and an alternative should be sought; which brings to mind Aluko responding to an article I had written years ago giving references to the Holocaust, Apartheid, the Armenian Genocide, the Rwandan Genocide, the Russian Pogrom and Revolution, all all related human atrocities in which the anti-Igbo Pogrom bears the same resemblance, and using the Aburi Accord as an analogy the Nigerian vandals negated; thereby, a sovereign national conference of that nature would not work in a situation no formal apology came forth, effectively. In that regard, I cited sections vii, viii and ix of the Aburi Accord for reference to weigh in the irrelevance of a sovereign national conference. Sections vii, viii and ix of the Aburi Accord:

(vii) With a view to promoting mutual confidence, all decrees or provisions of decrees passed since January 15, 1966, which detracted from the previous powers and positions of the regional governments should be repealed. Law officers of the federation should meet in Benin on January 14, 1967, and list all the decrees or provisions of decrees concerned, so that they may be repealed not later than January 21, 1967, if possible.

(viii) A meeting of Permanent Secretaries of the Ministries of Finance of all the governments in the federation should be convened within two weeks to consider ways and means of resolving the serious problems posed by displaced persons all over the country.

(ix) Displaced civil servants and corporation staff (including daily-paid employees) should continue to be paid their full salaries until March 31, 1967, provided they have not secured alternative employment. The Military Governors of the East, West and Mid-West should send representatives (Police Commissioners) to meet and discuss the problems of recovery of property left behind by displaced persons.

Aluko had written extensively on a working document on behalf of the Yoruba elite, and had concluded it was only principles based on Awoism that would work in a Nigerian entrapment, and considering a modelled Western Nigerian framework, through the profound leadership of Obafemi Awolowo.

At this time in question, Igbo had already been divided on its cause of action in determining if a charter drawn from the various sections of its grouping, suggesting what and what not should be included in the charter. Orabuchi, Francis Elekwachi, Nkem Ekeopara’s “Nd’Igbo Generation 1960-!970, Ralph Uwazuruike’s Movemen for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Oguchi Nkwocha’s Biafraland even though he had consistently been against any decision on a Nigerian national state, Okenwa Nwosu, Iselle Obikpani, Ekwe Nche, Enyimba, M.O. Ene’s Kwenu, Cornelius Akubueze and the rest, took part in what had been an arduous task to bring forth a binding document by way of joint sessions with the related factions. Town after town, hamlet after hamlet, village after village, brothers after brothers and cousins both near and far after cousins of the same lineage, raised their voices and said thus far and no further; that Igbo must come up with a charter in the event of an endorsed sovereign national conference, submitting its own line of constitutional guidelines to be deliberated in what the opposing sides had called “conference of sovereign nationalists.”

I had connected with Elekwachi on a series of hiccups relating to the document he had presented on behalf of Pan-Igbo Constituent Assembly in Diaspora (PICAD), the committee he founded in collaboration with Obi Nwakanma, Cornelius Akubueze and others. Elekwachi had commended my insights when the confusion on who is an Igbo and the full definition and meaning of Igbo Proper, which fired up another cycle of debates and symposiums. I had already been exhausted with these debates that had been mind boggling, looking at how the Yoruba nation fair with its stanby, ready made document to keep a Nigerian national state intact and viable.

With respect to what was about to explode among Igbo elites and the ones so distrust of an Igbo charter on the bearings of the document prepared without appropriate and adequate consultations; I gave a deep thought researching and studying the facts and logic about a Igbo Charter to be submitted on behalf of PICAD and a very few other committees. In an exclusive article which was bordered on a profound Igbo national state, putting together analysis and all the stuff detrimental to a healthy Igbo nation, laying empahasis on Igbo as one infinite, indivisible people. Thus I wrote:

“the Igbos are a people whose origin is of one lineage, their genealogies can be traced back through many generations of forefathers to a common ancestor. This type of societal identification is not the same as a national or linguistic grouping. One can join a nation; one can learn a language; both are voluntary. But in blood heritage, it implies Igbos have an inherited customs and traditions which led to a particular order of social organizations. The Igbo of Nando has the same socio-cultural structure as the Igbo of Abakaliki, Ikwere, Obigbo, Nkwerre, Igurita, Okpanam, Ibuzo, Elele, Omoku, Orlu, Abriba, Waawa, Obowu, Nnewi, Idemili, Ihiala, Nsugbe, Amazano, Awkuzu, Nteje, Okigwe, Eziama Obiato, Onitsha and Abagana, Arochukwu, Ohafia, Amaigbo, Arondizuogu, Owerri, Mbaise, Umuohiagu, Oko, Diobu and any community where Igbos can be found. It is in this vast genealogical structure that provided a simple basis for alliances and inheritance. Lands and rights go to sons and brothers on the paternal side. Residential groupings, too, are familial. Villages, kindred and hamlets are made of men descended from a common paternal line women marry in, though many also are of the same paternal line linked by a lineage traceable back to a primal patrilineal ancestor.

So, too, is the traditional way of marriage as no dating occurs when a man expresses his interest in a woman, parents and relatives arrange marriages. As custom dictates, the groom to be has to go through series of interviews and other custom-related events such as paying dowry to the bride to be family before the marriage can be arranged and finalized.

By this order and method, and as we head to the conference table to write a charter for the Igbo nation, we must bear in mind the above particular order when our decisions and resolve begins to climax. We must also bear in mind Igbo nation is a nation state, and that Nigeria must not be included in her principles. In choosing this method, of not including Nigeria or any other entity in her preamble and the entire document, and by not mixing any political principle that varies with the ideals, customs and traditions of Nd'Igbo, treating at great length the needs or rights supposedly appropriate to Igbos everywhere.”

The article was followed by an overwhelming line of commentaries and rejoinders at a time the simmering sovereign national conference proposals had begun to wane, losing steam from a burnt out flame under Obasanjo’s watch and on the premise there was ultimately no need for sovereign national conference as long as a legislature was in existence, a legislature as in all democratic orders to rewrite the constitution through its representatives. The SNC died a natural death the way Obasanjo wanted it.

As the case turned out, the SNC fizzled out for many reasons. Obasanjo, a Yoruba should continue with running the affairs of state, and with the applications of SNC, Obasanjo’s presidency might be jeopardized on the grounds of presiding on a constitution fabricated by the military juntas, and not through normal constitutional conferences procedure. And also, the Yorubas, in respect, should grip firmly on the presidency on the course of its two-term llimitations, and for the first time in the nation’s history, a Yoruba president that could be costly if given away. Obasanjo knew very well the implications of a dim wit sovereign national conference. He alerted his kinsfolk to relax the pace of their desperation based on complications of the agitation on a so-called “better ways to govern ourselves.” Forthwith, Yoruba and Afenifere backed off.

Some weeks ago, I had gone to Town Hall Meeting in my district on related community projects that would create more jobs within the district and with the only community bank in the neigborhood --Union Bank -- and a long standing commitment to help small businesses grow in the community, hoping favorably on the takes of Councilman Bernard Parks (8th District), Councilman Herb Wesson Jr. (10th District), and Mark Ridley Thomas (Supervisor, 2nd District) in a series of ground breaking projects, all in the community.

While exiting the meeting, I bumped into Derek Brown, pastor, the House of Judah Christian Center, who had recognized me from when we met sometime ago in Los Angeles. Brown was classmate to former Kansas City Chiefs running back, Christian “Nigerian Nightmare” Okoye at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California. Brown, later would move on transfer to University of Oregon, Eugene, to finish up his college scholarship sports program. We spoke at length on gists surrounding his college years at Azusa with Okoye, and how Okoye talked him into Igbo dishes which he is now fond of, patronizing West African-related restaurants in Greater Los Angeles, from time to time. Brown had asked where to locate a Nigerian community in Greater Los Angele, and my answer to his question was a capital “Nada!”

Brown and I talked about a whole lot. His days of flirting with Igbo girls in college and all that cultural stuff; how his dates’ brothers and relatives were always around protecting them. He finally gave up as his routine dating became a trend, the frustrating run around, playing hard to get delay tactics. We also talked about politics and the failed African states. We talked about sports in general and how African athletes were shopped for and picked up at Azusa, for professional and international engagements; and one of the reasons Azusa still stands out for its excelling sports programs in small town San Gabriel Valley. Our hangout was a full historical discussion describing the magnitude of our bonding as one, infinite, indivisible people, never mind the past, that we should work in unity because “working together works!”

Igbo is one, infinite, indivisible people!

Ede chaa nam!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Indigene, non-indigene in Igbo land? Tufiakwa!

By Pini Jason, Vanguard

LAST August the Governor of Abia State, Chief Theodore Ahamefula Orji issued an order sacking so-called non-indigenes from the public service of Abia State.

In a directive dated August 25, 2011 entitled: “Backloading on Transfer of non-indigene in Abia State Public service to their state of origin,” the Governor directed that all non-indigenes working in the public service of Abia State (including Local Government) be transferred to their states of origin effective from October 1, 2011. To be excluded from this purge are non-indigenes in the tertiary institutions in the state.

Question mark on Igbo politicians

This policy has expectedly drawn appropriate flaks from Igbo nation for those affected by this purge are mostly fellow Igbo. There have also been some sympathisers who have tried to rationalise Governor Orji’s action. The main plank of Orji’s defence rests on the need to pay the newly enacted minimum wage of N18,000.

My view is that the purge is unnecessary, inexcusable and puts a sharp knife through the thin ligature of Igbo unity. It puts a question mark on the penchant of Igbo politicians to cry about marginalization and injustice in the Nigerian nation. I have always suspected such cries as self-serving. Orji’s action proves me right.

For a gregarious people who have been at the forefront of the advocacy for Nigerians who have lived almost all their lives in any part of this country to be accorded citizenship rights, I think this purge is not a very thoughtful one. It has a tendency to backfire as I have read somewhere that Anambra State is retaliating Orji’s action! I hope to God that it is not true.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Jonathan/Okonjo-Iweala: An Unjust Vitriolic

By Orji Kalu, Sun News Online

I read two articles last week, which I found very unsettling, unnecessary and unwarranted. One was an attack on President Goodluck Jonathan for the recent detention and release of some members of the Movement for Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
The other was an acerbic attack on the Minister for Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, whose second coming is attracting undue flakes from some people. I must confess that both articles have, up till this moment, left me disconsolate. Author of one of the articles in question was pointblank and unequivocal in his condemnation of the manner the arrest was handled, and how the Federal Government gaffed by allowing the President openly and personally announced the release of the MASSOB members. According to them, the president should have directed the Inspector General of Police (who arrested and detained the men) to order their release.

In my thinking, there was nothing wrong with the president ordering their release, after all the appeals to have them released by prominent Igbo sons and daughters were made directly to him. If he had asked IGP Ringim to announce the release, then the publicity mileage accruing from that action would have gone to Ringim. In such a political game what determines which direction an action goes is what each player stands to gain. In this case the president stood to gain, and he ingenuously went for it.

Can anybody authoritatively say that the president ordered the arrest of the MASSOB men? I was pleased with the dissection done on the matter by a columnist in one of the national papers. The author in question though sympathetic to the cause of the MASSOB members outright condemned the arrest and burrowed into the possible consequences of what had happened. His position was that the arrest of the men, whom he described as innocuous and harmless, was an unnecessary overheating of the polity. I agree no less.

But I was particularly moved by the request made to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, by Justice Eze Ozobu to prevail on the president to get the men released, and the helplessness of the top Igbo who serves in the present cabinet in that circumstance. Justice Ozobu was so irked and dismayed by what happened that he literally took the president to task. He almost berated the president for not living up to the expectation of Igbo who voted massively for him during the last presidential election by not allowing the men to be arrested in the first place.

Even though Justice Ozobu might be justified in his assessment of the evolving situation, I am quick to point out that the president does not owe anybody any allegiance. His allegiance is strictly to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which he has sworn to defend. Did Jonathan sign any agreement with tribal group in the country that he would shield them from arrest if they broke the law or did anything antithetical to the sovereignty and unity of Nigeria? I believe that the president would not be naive to make such a wild commitment. He approached Igbo leaders who, in their own assessment, saw him as the best candidate that would meet the aspirations of Nigerians and therefore voted for him. That action never meant at any time material that the president would kowtow to such people.

Those who try to hold the president responsible for the arrest and detention of the MASSOB members are not being fair and reasonable. Whoever is familiar with the operations of government would agree that the president might not necessarily have to be contacted before somebody who breaks the law is arrested and detained. To me, the blames for the detention of the MASSOB members should be heaped on the doorsteps of the security agents that masterminded their arrest in the first place.

Dragging Jonathan into the whole imbroglio is an undue distraction. The president has too much already in his hands to be so distracted. He may have his own limitations as a person, but that is not enough to crucify him as is being done at the moment.
As much as I love Igbo and am ready to continue to fight for their cause, as I have always done, I will never support undue sentimentalism. Why blame Jonathan simply that Igbo voted for him? Were Igbo the only people that voted for Jonathan and may not be getting what is due to them as compensation for their faithfulness and support? Hausa, Yoruba and other ethnic groups collectively made Jonathan president. He is not the president of one ethnic group, not even the Ijaw – his sanguineous brothers and sisters.

My defense of Jonathan does not mean that the president should not do something reasonable for those that supported him at the elections. He can achieve this by integrating their interests in the overall national development plan without necessarily being loud about it. It is natural for a person to show soft spot for somebody that has shown him friendship and kindness. That is where such a relationship should end - at an official level.

This does not mean that the President should not make deliberate effort to redress the injustices done to the Igbo since the civil war ended. It is no longer news that Igbo have remained an endangered species in the Nigerian nation. I know what the fears of the security agencies are that made them arrest the MASSOB men. They had thought that by stopping them from holding their ceremony planned for the recognition of some of their leaders, especially Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, they would intimidate them into dropping any plot to replicate what Boko Haram is doing in the North. But sincerely speaking, they got it wrong. Igbo, as I have always said, are very peaceful, republican and enterprising. They do not just embark on a struggle without adequate reason. They do not believe that their rightful place in the scheme of things in Nigeria will be achieved by violence. As well-educated, resourceful and humane people Igbo are ready to continue to work for the peace, progress and prosperity of Nigeria, even at their own discomfort. Probably, this is what some people interpret as weakness. For all I know, Igbo are not a weak race. They supported Jonathan not because he is an Igbo man (anybody who alludes to that is just being mischievous). Rather they gave him support because they thought he had all the qualities of the kind of president Nigeria needed at this time. By the way, is there anything wrong for Igbo to choose to support Jonathan for whatever reason best known to them?

I know a time will come when Igbo will assume the presidency of this country without raising a sword. They do not need any rebellion or guerrilla warfare, as some militant groups wage currently, to get the presidency or register their indignation over the way the country is run.

I do not subscribe to the arguments making the rounds in the media that Igbo had blown their chances of clinching the presidency in 2015 because they supported President Jonathan in 2011. Those who make these lame arguments have forgotten that it is only God that makes kings. The emergence of Jonathan as president was purely a mandate actuated by God using man as an instrument. How could Jonathan ordinarily have become president from being an ordinary deputy governor in 1999? There are some people who have spent virtually all their active years on earth seeking the presidency without even making it to the vice presidency position. If it pleases God that Igbo will produce the president in 2015, no man born of a woman can obstruct it.
Sincerely speaking, Jonathan owes Igbo a debt of gratitude for their steadfast support to his administration, even when the situation was hazy. They returned over 97% votes for him in the elections. How he does it is entirely his business.

As indicated in the beginning of this article, the second coming of Okonjo-Iweala as Finance Minister is being criticized for no justifiable reason. Those in the vanguard of this undue media attack claim she is overrated. How realistic is their criticism? How can any rational person claim Okonjo-Iweala – a World Bank Managing Director -is overrated? This is what I mean whenever I write that Nigerians are the architect of their own problems. Instead of commending her courage to accept the ministerial offer to come and salvage the nation’s economy her critics have found pastime in chastising her.

Ordinarily, I would have used my precious time for more useful engagements instead of responding to the chattering of some charlatans. That would have amounted to great disservice to the nation that is currently yearning for honest men and women that would help it regain its lost glory. Have these armchair critics asked themselves why Olusegun Obasanjo – against all odds – sought the services of Okonjo-Iweala as his Finance Minister. Obasanjo was richly convinced that he needed an Okonjo-Iweala if he was to bring out the economy from the doldrums. For true assessors of the performance of that administration she did not fail to deliver. We all were witnesses to the shock the economy experienced when she was moved to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as minister. The thinking of Obasanjo was that the reassignment of Okonjo-Iweala to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would help redeem the sagging foreign image of Nigeria.

In any case, the performance of Okonjo-Iweala in the Obasanjo administration was generally perceived as excellent, which was why Jonathan went for her this time round. For those who did not know: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is one of the best brains in the World Bank and the management of the bank had publicly acknowledged this on numerous occasions. In fact, it took her extra two months after she was confirmed by the Senate to assume duties. This was because her employers in Washington needed her to tie up a few loose ends before resuming in Abuja. Would anybody say such a woman is not an egghead?

I believe that her appointment will attract visible changes in the way the economy has been run in the past one year and in the end yield sound policies that will translate into gains for the transformation of the lives of the citizens.

What Nigeria needs at this time is sound fiscal policy predicated on pragmatic economic principles. We do not need parlous economic formula that have exacerbated the woes of the nation. With the resumption of Okonjo-Iweala comes quick response from other indices that measure the performance of the economy. This means that within a short time the economy will be on its way to full recovery.
Let me make it very clear: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s offer to serve is coming at a very huge price. Apart from the big pay packet she is leaving behind at the World Bank (this is estimated at $543,000 per annum) she is going to spend sleepless nights working out modalities on how to revitalize the economy. What is the salary of a minister in Nigeria in accordance with the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission (RMFC) structure? I know it is not up to N5m annually. If that is true, then multiply $543,000 by the current exchange rate of the naira in the international market and you see what I mean. This amount does not include her allowances and other emoluments as a Managing Director in a top financial institution.

I advise her critics to come up with their own answers to the many problems besetting the economy instead of relishing in their devious recreation of trying to damage the reputation of an innocent woman whose only sin is that she accepted the call by her fatherland to help rebuild the battered economy.
As for those criticizing Jonathan for the detention and subsequent release of MASSOB members, let them apply restraint. They should show some patriotism in their attitude to national issues. At this time of our national development, what we need is concerted effort by all Nigerians to find solutions to the endemic problems of terrorism, corruption, poverty, insecurity and greed seeking to destroy the fabric of our dear nation.
For now, let there be ceasefire.

Nd'Igbo Do Not Need Leaders; They Need Opportunities

By Chris Aniedobe, Business Day

Many have billed the lack of a transcendent Igbo political leader as the Igbo albatross. Those who say that do not understand the Igbos. The Igbos are economically efficient, individualistic, non-ideological, rational, resourceful, and always have been and always will be politically risk averse. The average Igbo man feels that he has the skill, dexterity, perseverance, and luck to dare his own failure or his own success, sometimes in spite of the incipient odds of failure. That is why the Igbos are dispersed throughout Nigeria and the world with each person daring his own failure or success. But that which makes us successful as individuals fails us as a group because group dynamics is not always the sum of the parts that make it up.

Ndigbo are yet to evolve a group leadership model that will work for us. Until we attain such a model, we will not be successful in party politics because politics is a game of platforms. We see political parties as platforms for individual opportunities and not platforms for collective tribal political actions. This attitude has so far characterized our attitude towards politics particularly since 1999.

Although Ndigbo may come together during times of crisis, it probably is best at this point to acknowledge that Igbos do not need leaders, and do not believe in leaders in so far as those leaders do not create economic opportunities for them. That transcendent Igbo political leader may still come about but only in the context of a firm belief that tangible economic opportunities may come from his leadership.

Unfortunately, in the minds of a people that tend not to anchor their fate on their leaders, the failure of our political leaders have tended to reaffirm the belief in the Igbo mindset that so called leaders are really of no tangible consequence in their lives. Many of our so called leaders have shamefacedly exploited their offices for opportunities. Until then, a distributed leadership model, where the average Igbo man is in fact given a material leadership role in a highly coordinated system of known risks and guaranteed rewards may be the best leadership model for Ndigbo at this point in time.

While our political theorists deal with the issue of appropriate leadership models for Ndigbo, it stands as a purely elementary proposition that we do better as wealth creators than as politicians and rather than pursuing illusory political goals, we should expend our efforts at utilizing our superior economic skills for rapid regional economic resurgence of our Region.

But Let Us Just Stop Being Naïve about Nigerian Politics, Power Concedes Nothing without a Demand. It Never Did and it Never Will

The talk of Igbo Presidency 2015 is a distraction by people who have not taken a close qualitative look at Igbo assets. Those who believe that Ndigbo should be President in 2015 on moral grounds alone are offering up cheap political blackmail that rings hollow. To paraphrase Frederick Douglass, if NdiIgbo are not prepared to vigorously struggle for it, there is no point talking about it. Those who profess to favor Nigerian presidency of Igbo extraction and yet depreciate the need for deep agitation on a common political platform are people who want crops without plowing up the ground. They must commit to the struggle all the way with the zeal of the Zikist boys who were prepared for either freedom or death.

Until the will is there to stamp our foot on the ground and be willing to lay down our lives for it, talking about Nigerian Presidency of Igbo extraction in the face of the considerable structural limitations that constrain us is a distraction. The political diffidence of Ndigbo is self-evident. Others have found out what Ndigbo will quietly submit to and know the exact measure of political injustice which can be imposed on Ndigbo and it will continue until they are resisted with carefully orchestrated struggle. Right now the will is not there. Ndigbo are happily foraging for opportunities in a platform independent manner and are engaged in anything but platform oriented struggle. There is nothing wrong with that. There is however, everything wrong with thinking that the Presidency will be conceded to us purely on moral grounds.

Not that Ndigbo do not need political power; it is that we cannot attain political power without a road map and that road map must take into account the structural defects of the Nigerian entity in so far as it has constrained Ndigbo, its largest ethnic group, to less than one sixth of the Federation. That road map must be drawn on the fabrics of true federation and true federalism. The execution of the road map will involve both words and blows; words in the sense that we must be willing to mount consistent and sustained assault on the anomalies in the practice of the Nigerian Constitution that preclude Ndigbo from attaining full rights and benefits of citizenship in their States of domicile; blows in the sense that Ndigbo must be prepared to assert their legal rights of Nigerian citizenship in any manner legal or necessarily legal to ensure that their fundamental rights remain inviolate. In fact, in any well conducted election, Ndigbo have the numbers to vote in an outcome determinative power in States outside Igbo land. This is a bargaining chip that other ethnic groups do not have but it is also a chip that must be well-guarded.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Igbo Can't Be President


Former Director-General of the National Orientation Agency, Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuka has picked holes on the power rotation principle of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), saying it was designed to keep the Igbo out of power. Chukwuka, a medical doctor and politician of note, who is now based in the United States of America, also spoke on his political antecedents among other issues. CHIDI NNADI brings the excerpts:

Political tutelage:

When General Ibrahim Babangida dissolved the 13 political parties formed then, and established the National Republican Convention(NRC) and Social Democratic Party (SDP), being a progressive, I quickly registered in the Social Democratic Party (SDP), where I contested and won the state publicity secretary of the SDP in the old Anambra State. Discharging that position with dexterity and unparallel amiability, I became popular with all governments and served in various capacities both in political parties and the government of my state.

At the Jos convention that produced the late Chief MKO Abiola, I won the post of Assistant National Publicity Secretary, but when the convention was cancelled and the re-run election ordered at Abuja Sheraton Hotel, I lost that opportunity to national limelight to the political organogram of the late Alhaji Shehu Yar’Adua. Not deterred by this, I went back to Anambra State, and was later appointed by Dr. Ezeife as cabinet consultant on Health Matters.

Later Colonel Mike Attah appointed me the director general of Bureau of Information and Culture; then Dr. Mbadinuju as Special Adviser on Lands, Survey and Urban Planning, Media and Publicity and Managing Director of ANSEPA. Later, the then President, Chief Obasanjo appointed me the Director General, National Orientation Agency (NOA) when Professor Jerry Gana was the supervising minister. Finally, I worked with Dr. Chris Ngige as Senior Special Assistant on Mobilization and State Orientation.

Passion for politics;

Regrettably, politics has not at all times presented a bed of roses for me. My worst period in politics was when I was dropped as the DG of NOA in Abuja. No sooner was I appointed to the job of orientation than that appointment was lost in a mysterious circumstance which till today remains inexplicable to me. All I know was that my Personal Assistant continued to warn me to hide my intelligence, that Abuja politics is not Anambra politics. Of course, I ignored him to my own detriment.

Yes, Abuja politics is dirty. If you are smart, you will be schemed out of the system. They need idiots, half-baked fools, embryonic politicians that are initiative barren. They hate those who are inherently endowed with visions and dreams to move this nation forward. This is the political quagmire that has for many years stagnated the progress of this nation. Realizing that the orientator has to be orientated in Abuja politics, my PA bought me a book called “The 48 Laws of Power”, which opened my eyes to the fact that my intelligence will soon have a negative impact and cause me to lose my job.

Categorically, he opined that if he was the president of the country, and witnessed what I did at the podium, he would simply drop whoever was the Minister of Information and immediately appoint me in his place. All my pleas to him to take it easy with me fell on deaf ears. He promised to call my minister to remove me as I was after his job. Surprisingly, two days after that encounter, I lost my job in the most mysterious circumstance. No reason was given. That is Abuja politics and I do not regret the impact I made as DG of NOA. If you go to NOA today, I am well respected. My stay in office was barely a year, but the impact was reverberating and the echo and ripple effect were felt in all nooks and crannies of this nation.

So, at what point did you leave the country and why?

Since Dr. Ngige lost his governorship seat in the court in 2006, I travelled to America to study their system, and also disappear from the scene. Having worked in their hospitals, taught in their nursing schools and taught mathematics in their higher schools, I have come to the conclusion that Nigeria is a country endowed with individuals with high acumen. Our children are by far more intelligent than an average American child in secondary school.

Unfortunately, the country is still dangerously verged on a perilous pathway heading to absolute collapse and decay, if something is not done soon. In 2010, I visited my country from USA where I boasted that Nigeria has more agreeable, sagacious and astute politicians who can’t compromise on issues of nation building than the GOP and Democrats in America. But the level of infrastructural deterioration and decay in almost all sectors of the nation is not only humiliating, but an outrageous insensibility on the part of the government to the plights of the common man of this nation that voted them into power.

Impressions about Nigeria;

Let me begin with the road infrastructure. From Shagamu to Benin, Lagos to Ibadan, Enugu to Abuja, Enugu to Onitsha, Enugu to Port-Harcourt, Enugu to Nsukka, Ore to Ondo to Ife to Ibadan, the roads have been ignored by successive governments of this nation is not only criminal, but wicked. I wonder what is in resurfacing a road. Billions of taxpayers’ money are every year appropriated for these roads and yet nothing tangible is done. It is indeed shameful for anyone to call himself a senator or member of House of Representatives, or president, or governor in this nation when these roads are crying and begging for reconstruction. Obviously, our highways have posed terrible nightmares to commuters and road carnages have assumed an unprecedented dimension in the history of this nation. Consequently, I make bold to suggest that all senators, governors and presidents of this nation should as a matter of criminal negligence to their duties resign their positions if they cannot cater for the people and provide adequate amenities for the citizenry.

When Chief Obasanjo came to power he promised that power outage will be a thing of the past within six months of his being in office. Eight years later, he left the country in a comatose state. Power outage became worse than before. As a matter of fact, no nation can develop technologically when electric supply is not predictable. No industries can be sited or built in this nation when power is on and off. The use of computers for global networking and indeed information processing cannot prosper in a paralyzed energy sector.

Today, Nigeria has the most backward police force the world over. Created to control crime and protect the citizens, our police force unlike what I saw in America, is a caricature of crime control mechanics. With shameful roadblocks mounted here and there, sometimes in every kilometer, the police have reduced their status to mere illegal tollgate collectors, and yet everyone ignores this corruptive tendency. As a matter of fact, the road blocks have achieved nothing in crime control.

The Police Force in this nation is begging for reorganization and should be made lucrative. Government should abolish police barracks and allow police to live in neighborhoods for ease of busting and controlling crime. Since the roads are bad and may not be repaired anytime soon, police should now use power bikes to control crime. They should patrol rather than mount road blocks to collect illegal tolls and cause untold hardship to road users. Government should pay police salaries that are commensurate to the job of crime control and the risk involved. This is common sense. Give the police the necessary equipment and tools to perform their duties and reap the imponderable benefits. We can do it. Yes we can, if we have the will and zeal.

Igbo president project in 2015:

The Igbo are finished politically in this nation. It will be difficult in the present political dispensation for an Igbo man to be the president of this country. The present political computation and permutation as arranged by Chief Obasanjo of the PDP does not favour the Igbo who have been marginalized by Obasanjo’s crafty political equation of South South plus South West plus North Central plus North West equal to a win-win for him. That is why in the PDP National Working Committee, no Igbo man is even appointed a sweeper or a messenger. However, all hope is not lost since the Igbo man is as incompressible as water. We surely will rebound at the appropriate time. We have the capacity, capabilities, ingenuity, sagacity and political maneuver to scale this political man-made hurdle and reintegrate ourselves into the national political stream. We refuse to be condemned and confined to the present political incarceration. Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo should wake up and lead appropriately.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Police arrests MASSOB leader Uwazuruike, 250 others, in Enugu


On 24 August, police arrested the leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, along with over 250 members of the organization, in Enugu, capital of Enugu State.

Arrest of MASSOB members

Uwazulike’s arrest followed the earlier arrest of about 200 MASSOB members by the police. The members were arrested as their buses drove into Enugu from different parts of Igboland for the 12th anniversary ceremony of an Igbo youth organization, the Igbo Youth Movement (IYM). The highpoint of the ceremony was to be the conferment of an honour on the ailing ex-Biafran leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, currently in a London hospital after suffering a stroke in December 2010.

The MASSOB youth were apprehended on the highways leading into Enugu, by soldiers who said they were instructed to stop them from entering the city. The soldiers first took the arrested youths to the headquarters of 82 Division, Nigerian Army, there in Enugu, before handing them over to the police.

Thereafter, the soldiers raided the venue of the ceremony, the Hotel Presidential, carrying away about 50 members they found outside, in five Hilux patrol jeeps. Apparently suspecting that some of the MASSOB youths may have gathered at Ojukwu’s residence in the former Government Reserved Area (GRA), the soldiers proceeded to search the house, but found none of the youths there.

Arrest of MASSOB leader Uwazuruike

Sources say after he learnt of the arrests, Uwazuruike went to the Police Commissioner’s office, accompanied by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, and some other leaders. His mission was to ascertain why members of his movement were arrested and to possibly negotiate their release. However, while at the police headquarters, the MASSOB leader was himself arrested and detained around 7.00pm.

Police explanation of the arrests

The State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu, had said the MASSOB members were arrested based on an intelligence report which said they were coming into Enugu to disrupt the peace. He said: “We arrested the MASSOB members who are up to 200, because we don’t know their mission to Enugu. We were informed that they were coming to cause havoc. We have commenced investigation to ascertain their true mission to the state”. Police authorities reportedly said Uwazurike was arrested and detained for “treasonable felony”.

Reactions from MASSOB members

MASSOB activists, however, view the arrests as a further incident of official repression of their group. One member said: “This arrest clearly demonstrates the double standards and injustice applied by Nigerian rulers. Niger Delta militants destroy heavy oil installations and they are rewarded with scholarships to study abroad. Boko Haram fighters bomb police headquarters and the government is begging them to come for peace talks. But MASSOB, which has chosen to be non-violent, is constantly harassed and brutalized by the police”.

At the ceremony which the MASSOB youth were going to attend, IYM honoured Ojukwu with an award as the Igbo Icon of All Time. His wife, Bianca, who came back from London for the ceremony, received the award on his behalf.

Nigeria's Terrorism Against MASSOB: An Affront To The United Nations

By Ikechukwu Eyiagu, Modern Ghana

It's unfair, and the UN knows this well enough. It's gross injustice yet the UN remains silent. The many atrocious and terror acts carried out against MASSOB and its leadership by the Nigerian government is not only highly condemnable, it's a direct affront to the United Nations and everything it stands for. The constant harassing, killing, torturing and detaining of many MASSOB members in the South-East of Nigeria by Nigerian security operatives should and must be condemned in its totality by the UN's body, the United States of America, Britain and other world powers. When an individual or a group attacks a people for no justifiable reasons, it's quickly called terrorism by the international community, but when a state marginalizes, deprives, tortures, kills, arrests and detains peace loving and innocent citizens because they are asking for their rights through due process, what is it called-modern slavery, perhaps? No! It's terrorism; terrorism in the highest order! It's worse that slavery!

In 1960, Nigeria joined the United Nations and consequently became a signatory to the Geneva convention treaty. As a result of this membership, Nigerian government is required by global law of rights and governance to , wholly, abide by all UN accords in relation to how its government is run-whether towards foreigners or its citizens. After the 1967-70 Nigerian-masterminded genocide against Ndigbo, and till date, the very reasons against which the declaration of the Sovereign State of Biafra were made still show themselves; only this time, in a much higher scale. It's only a man without common sense who sits down and allows others to strangle his children one after another right before his eyes without as much as saying a word. Nigeria prides itself in the systematic extinction of the Igbo race within Nigeria, but Ndigbo would not sit down and watch silently why the very reasons we started our journey towards a separate nationhood repeat themselves; should we? By all mean, no!

In line with these United Nations Human Rights declarations, and especially in the general silence of the UN body towards the brutalization, killing and unlawful arrests and detention of MASSOB members by the Nigerian government, I would like to ask from these few articles:

Article 1.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Question: Many Igbo people in the military answer Hausa and Yoruba names simply because the Nigerian government has a standing order against everything Igbo in Nigeria. How has this law been to the interest of Ndigbo in Nigeria as it has been for other tribes and ethnic groups?

Article 2.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Question: Since the Nigeria civil war ended and MASSOB came up to continue the fight for a Sovereign State Of Biafra through a non-violent means, they have been brutalized, killed, arrested and detained in their numbers without any reasonable proof of any sort; is this not an affront to this article of the UN declaration? If this declaration covers every person and state in the world, why has the UN remained unconcerned while the Nigerian government continuously disregard these rules? Since no distinction shall be made of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty, why has the UN thought it unimportant to openly defend the rights of MASSOB but allowed the Nigerian security personnel to carry out, in defiance to this declaration, criminal acts against innocent people?

Article 4.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Question: When the Nigerian government negotiates with and doles out money to Niger-Delta militants, releases without charge and seeks to negotiate with those who murder Ndigbo and other Nigerians all over the North, is it not considered a form of slavery when the same government jumps at will on Ndigbo here and there, throwing them into prisons without charge, and killing some of them even when they are clearly non-violent in their rightful pursuit and determination for a a state where they will be treated as fellow humans?

Article 5.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Question: Is the unwarranted arrests, torture, detention and killing of MASSOB members by the Nigerian government thugs not an enough subjection to torture to bring the UN in?

Article 7.
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Question: When the Nigerian government negotiates with and doles out money to Niger-Delta militants, releases without charge and seeks to negotiate with those who murder Ndigbo and other Nigerians all over the North, is it not seen as a great form of discrimination when the same government, on the other hand, jumps at Ndigbo here and there, throwing them into prisons without charge and killing some of them even when they are clearly non-violent in their rightful pursuit and determination for a state where they will be treated as fellow humans? The Movement for the actualization of the sovereign state of Biafra (MASSOB) is internationally recognized as non-violent; when the government discriminates in their response to non-violent MASSOB from that of violent Niger-Delta militants and Boko Haram, is that not clearly an affront to the UN and all it stands for? When the people of the North in Nigeria jumps on Ndigbo in the North because of or without any slightest provocation from Ndigbo, killing them in their numbers, burning their places of worship and houses, and carrying away their property and goods as war loots while the federal government does nothing but releases the culprits and arrests and detains, instead, the policemen involved in the arrests, isn;t than enough reason for any group, community, or tribe to be frightened in the midst of the people they live?

Article 8.
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Question: If the Nigerian government is a signatory to the United Nation, it invariably means that most of Nigerian constitutions are accepted or under review by the international community; if that happens to be that case as indeed it is, then the Nigerian government is clearly violating the rights of movement, speech and pursuit. Why has the United Nations looked the other side when the Nigerian government flaunt their wickedness against Ndigbo? If people indeed have a right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law, would I be faulted if I said that it's time that UN came in to remedy the many injustice carried out against MASSOB and the entire Ndigbo by the government of Nigeria? Certainly not.

Article 9.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Question: Clearly, this violation of human rights against Ndigbo is perhaps more wicked than terrorist acts. The story of subjected arbitrary arrests, detentions or exiles is a common treatment against the Igbos of Nigeria. Now that hundreds of MASSOB members are in different prisons all over Nigeria, and many other Igbo youths, through many carefully crafted plans by the Nigerian government to achieve its vision of an extinct Igbo race-to achieve the very intent of other states against Israel, have been forced into exiles in different parts of the world, should the United Nations not call the Nigerian government to order and to call for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) without further delay; should the UN not accept the fact that Nigeria is long overdue for a peaceful breakup after years of hot and cold war which have all been to the detriment of Ndigbo in a 'One Nigeria?'

Article 10.
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Question: Every dot in this declaration is clearly bent on maintaining human rights to the highest level. MASSOB members were and still are arrested and detained (for those who managed to stay alive after the indiscriminate shooting from the Nigerian security operatives) without any public hearing. They are kept without any legal rights and against their wish; the UN knows this, why has it kept silent?

Article 11.
(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

Question: According to the Nigerian government, Chief Barrister Ralph Uwazuruike, along with other Igbo sons, were arrested in Enugu on the 24th of August, 2011, as they were going for/celebrating an award to Chief General Chukwuemeke Odumegwu-Ojukwu (retd) and charged with 'treasonable felony;' since these incessant arrests have become a terror act against, not only Ndigbo, but the entire humankind, should the UN not insist that their case be brought to the international court where all the guarantees necessary for their defence will be in place, and treated, once and for all and without further delay?

(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Question: The Nigeria security personnel shoot at peaceful MASSOB members with live bullets and kill many amongst them every now and then even when it's clear that MASSOB does not threaten Nigeria in any way. Those that promised threats to the Nigerian government have been carrying them out and the federal government has been pleading with them while, at the same time, killing, arresting and detaining innocent Igbo people simply because they have refused to threaten any part of the country. With the big offices that UN has in Nigeria, why has it refused to defend the rights of MASSOB and that of Ndigbo; why has the UN not considered the action of the Nigerian government against MASSOB and Ndigbo in general a 'treasonable felony' since it directly undermines Nigeria's signatory to the UN?

Article 17.
(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Question: Before the war, many Igbos have property in different parts of Nigeria; but after the war, even when most of those property were still standing and valid, the Nigerian government refused every step the Igbo owners made towards reclaiming their property even after the said Nigerian genocide against Ndigbo was declared a 'No victor, no vanquished.' The Nigerian government, along with depriving Ndigbo of their many property in different parts of Nigeria outside of the South-East, still deny than it's been guilty against genocide all along. This is very clear; what has the United Nations done about this and why the continued silence?

Article 20.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Question: The United Nations had been before Nigeria became an independent state; this means that the United Nations can't possibly claim to be unaware of matters going on in places throughout the world. Non-violent MOSSOB members have assembled severely in their pursuit for a different state where everyone will be treated with mutual respect and equality; but, with each assembly, has often come a ruthless crackdown by the government of Nigeria. Not only has the government of Nigeria been carrying out this affront against the UN, it has often done it with bloodshed.

Article 21.
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Question: Since the war ended, everyone knows that the Nigerian government has systematically denied Ndigbo of relevance in the Nigerian polity. For forty years and counting, no person of Igbo race has been allowed in the presidency, nor as Nigeria has proven, will ever be elected as a president. A call for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) has been coming out from the great and simple alike in Nigeria, yet the federal government won't hear anything of it. Is the United Nations truly representing the people or is it just a global body set up to further the destruction of the minorities and the downtrodden by the great and mighty?

Article 22.
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Questions: Clearly, everything the Nigerian government does deprives Ndigbo of the South-East of all these above-mentioned entitlements. Ndigbo have been and are still treated as second-class citizens in Nigeria, why has the United Nations kept quiet as these wickedness continue?

Article 28.
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Question: The people of the South-East Nigeria have cried out for close to fifty years against injustice, and insisted on becoming independence; the government of Nigeria refuses and crushes, with every strong measure, the genuine desires of a people driven beyond the banks slavery. In accordance with this declaration, should not the UN rise up to defend these rights and these people deprived in Nigeria?

Article 29.
(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

Question: What wrong has the MOASSOB members in Igboland committed in carrying out the duty of seeking freedom from slavery and marginalization for their community away from the state called Nigeria?

(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

Question: The reason that MASSOB adopted a non-violent approach in their quest is clearly in honor to this declaration, why then has the UN kept silent when the Nigerian government refuses to respect the same law and crashes, every now and then upon the MASSOB members and its leadership?

(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Question: Like already said above, MASSOB follow due process, why is the UN silent even against the wickedness of the government of Nigeria and its unacceptable crackdown on men seeking peace and their human rights in the most peaceful way in a country where violence is the order of the day?

Having weighed in the balance of these UN declaration acts the reactions of the Nigerian government against MASSOB and what MASSOB stands for, I have come to an obvious conclusion and to make this recommendations:

1. That the United nations and the world powers prevail upon the Nigerian government to call for and hold a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) where every community would be made relevant towards the pursuit for any possible future as one truly functional country or as separate states

2. That it's high time the United Nations and the world powers, for peace in this geographical area called Nigeria and in Africa as a whole, stood up to the Nigerian government to demand, once and for all, the freedom of the South-Easterners, their rights to an independent and sovereign state of Biafra

3. That a complete release of all MASSOB members held in different prisons throughout the country be immediately demanded by the UN and effected.

4. I further ask that the United Nations, without undue delay, issue a statement which confirms that Ndigbo, the people of the Sout-East of Nigeria, and indeed, the people who have gone through years of masterminded cruelty and genocide from the Nigeria government, be given a clean bill to further their pursuit for a Sovereign State of Biafra.

5. Among these, I request that those in and out of the Nigerian government who have been accused of the genocide carried out against Ndigbo in the Nigeria-Biafra war be summoned to the Hague to defend their cases without further undue delay.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Texas Court Settles Rift In World Igbo Congress

By Petrus Obi, Sun News Online

A court in Texas, United States has settled the three-year-old rift in the World Igbo Congress and thus paved the way for 2011 Congress coming up in Toronto, Canada, from September 2 to 5.

In a unanimous decision on July 19, from the Texas Fourteenth Court of Appeals, a three Justices Panel, consisting of Chief Justice Hedges, Justice Seymore and Justice Boyce, dismised Joseph N. Etoh’s appeal of Judge Steven Kirkland’s order of January 14, 2010, commanding Etoh, among other things, “to desist and refrain from acting as (an) officer of the World Igbo Congress Inc. (WIC)” and further ordered Eto and his cohorts “to pay all costs incurred in this appeal.”

In a statement, Chairman of the group, Ichie Onwuchekwe, recalled the event that led to the crisis: “Some time ago I made a statement that the events that occurred in Tampa, Florida, in 2008 will make our beloved World Igbo Congress (WIC) stronger. In fact, WIC has not only endured but has grown much stronger. The question has never been whether a man could stumble and fall down. The question has always been what happens after the man falls down and realises that he fell down; how quickly does he get up?

“ The World Igbo Congress is a unique organisation. It has waxed strong through thick and thin. Even during the “dark” hours, the organisation never missed a board meeting or an annual convention.”
He likened the challenges WIC faced to what happened to the Apex Igbo Organisation in Nigeria, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, which was similarly challenged a few years ago. At that time, the president general of Ohaneze used to describe the Ohaneze problem as “distractions.”

“Finally, Ohaneze sought resolution in a court of law and the court restored order in the organisation. We are looking at the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ in the legal tussle within WIC. The Fourteenth Texas Court of Appeals has re-directed us and we need to step back, reflect and refocus on the ‘ball’. For those who have called me and my WIC executive to ‘congratulate’ us on this matter, my response is that personally I see no ‘victory’ in this matter. Neither Joe Eto nor J.O.S. Okeke are enemies of Ndi Igbo. It is now time to rejoin hands and focus on our real challenges within the Nigerian context.

“I call on every Onye Igbo in the diaspora to show up in Toronto, Canada, during the upcoming WIC Convention from September 2 to 5, to re-align the Igbo focus, move the Igbo agenda forward and strengthen the process of healing within the WIC family.”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Do We Really Need An Igbo President?

By Chukwuemeka Umunnakwe, 234 Next

The amalgam of tribes which make up Nigeria are locked in a fierce contest to best one another when it comes to grabbing juicy political offices. Needless to say, these ethnic rivalries are more focused on the offices occupied by the members of these ethnic groups than what the occupants actually do in these offices to better the life of the ordinary Nigerian.

The Nigerian President wields enormous influence no doubt and his office arguably is one of the most powerful democratic offices in Africa. Due to this, which I daresay has been so clearly perpetuated that at times it rivals the absolute monarchy of 13th and 14th century England, the tribes that make up Nigeria are engaged in bickering, struggles and fights to ensure that they produce the President. The tribes also view the office, rightly or wrongly, as capable of having a far-reaching and positive impact on the economic and infrastructural advancement of the tribe fortunate to produce the President.

The craze to produce the Nigerian President has found no more passionate campaigners than the Igbo political elites of the south east region. A good number of Igbo people have been led to believe by their political class that a true integration of the Igbo people in the body polity of Nigeria will occur when an Igbo citizen assumes the office of the President. The Igbo elite and political class have entwined the political, social, educational, infrastructural and economic development of the Igbo tribe with the quest to occupy this office.

Do we, the Igbo people, really need a Nigerian President of Igbo descent? Judging from the performance of past Nigerian presidents in their respective regions, can we honestly affirm that an Igbo president is the silver bullet to the myriad of problems facing the Igbo today? Have we, the Igbo tribe, properly articulated our problems and the solutions to these problems?

Today, the south east reels from lack of basic infrastructure; electricity is epileptic in major cities like Onitsha and Aba and we lack properly equipped hospitals and decent social amenities. The public education is in a shambles while public health is virtually non-existent. Many public institutions crucial for an orderly society are moribund. The state judiciaries have not witnessed any significant investments since the return to civil rule in 1999. Court houses are derelict, court rules are antiquated, libraries are not equipped, judges sit in extreme conditions due to absent electricity and the state universities are glorified secondary schools lacking the requisite manpower and infrastructure.

Unemployment is rife in the south east. The youth that manage to get an education resort to trading while others migrate to Lagos, Abuja or any other part of the country or outside the country, in search of greener pastures. Those unable to get jobs resort to crime. Kidnapping is the new wave.

The south east has the most expensive state schools (secondary and university). There is no free education at the primary or secondary school levels, neither is university education subsidised. Literacy levels have continued to dwindle. There are few major industries in the south east and we continue to witness both manpower and intellectual flight from here to other parts of Nigeria. These are issues that our political class ought to be tackling but they are too concerned about feathering their nests.

Once upon a time, the south east was the most industrially-advanced region in the whole of Africa. Our economy was one of the fastest growing in the world. We were innovative and technologically-driven. However, somewhere along the path, we deviated. We lost our core principles and values of hard work, integrity, independence and intellectual pursuit. Our values became eroded and we imbibed a wanton love for money and material trappings.

We inculcated the habit of worshipping known criminals who made money through atrocious methods; we lost our respect for education and instead placed a high premium on illiterates with bags of money. We elevated illiterates and perennial underachievers to be governors, members of the legislature, commissioners, traditional rulers, among others.

It is time we looked inwards. If we must survive as a people, we must isolate ourselves from the politics of ‘Igbo president' or juicy federal appointments. We must focus on the real challenges facing us. We must articulate an ideology for our advancement which will bind us as a people. There must be a sense of higher duty, higher calling and higher responsibility in our daily existence as a people.

We do not need an Igbo President before our Governors can construct independent power projects, build hospitals, schools, libraries, good roads and provide security. We do not need an Igbo President before the south east states can pool resources together to build an airport, sea port, or railway facilities in our region.

I believe that as an integral part of Nigeria, the Igbo people are entitled to produce the President for the country. We must place ourselves in a strategic position of strength from where we can negotiate. Presently, we are negotiating from a position of extreme weakness and, understandably, we are not being taken seriously. We must first put our house in order. We have to earn the respect of other tribes before we can seriously contest for the Presidency. The Presidency of this country is not for the asking. The rest of Nigeria must see the benefit of having a President of Igbo extraction.

We Don't Discriminate In Admission - UNN Don


Dr Emmanuel Igbo, a Professor of criminology at the University of Nigeria and a major stakeholder in Imo State in this interview with Godwin Oritse said that the expectations of the people of the state are very high and called on the new Governor of the state to ensure that the grass people are carried along in the process of governance. Excerpts:

We hear the management of the University of Nigeria discriminate against non- Igbos when application by students are being considered, is this true?

The University of Nigeria as far as I do know, and I stand to challenged by anybody is very transparent in its admission policy and even handed in the sense that the University follows religiously to the letter the instructions from the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB).

In the admission policy of the University, you have a percentage of those who come by merit, then you have those that come by catchments area of the University, then you have what we call the educationally disadvantage states.

The University of Nigeria, I do not know about others insist very strictly that you adhere to this, if you do not your admission in that department will cancelled.

Merit is merit, if you get admission by merit, nobody is interested in looking at the names in the list.

If the merit is 45 percent for example, you just calculate it, if 45 percent of the quota you have is 20, then you count from one to 20 and rule off, then you come to catchments area , then you go to educationally disadvantaged states then how do you know now discriminate in the admission process?

Anybody who qualified to be in the merit list cannot removed from the merit list or somebody who is qualified to be in the catchments area list you cannot discriminate against the person.

In fact, we are looking for people to fill the spaces in educationally disadvantaged areas.

Anybody who tell you that the University of Nigeria discriminate on its admission process is perhaps is ignorant of the entire process.

What is your impression on the accreditation of courses in Nigeria Universities because this has been a problem that affects nearly all the universities?

Much as we know that there are many candidates at home who want to gain admission into the universities but there are limited spaces available.

What these students do is that once they see an institution, it could be a building or a few building put together and it is called a university and you see students trooping there .

What students should do is to find out whether these universities have the blessing of the National University Commission (NUC), that is very important.

Even the old universities are periodically being accredited in terms of their department, their courses, their lecturers and the infrastructure in place.

Even our law department failed accreditation and was stopped from admitting students.

Even our medical and surgery department failed accreditation and we have stopped admitting medical students.
Relevant Links

Those that complain are those that are actually deficient in almost everything like staff with requisite qualification, in infrastructure.

If you say that you are doing a course like pharmacy, you must have infrastructure like laboratory and these facilities must be inspected and approved by the NUC and Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria just like the medical profession, they have what is known as minimum standards and you must meet these minimum standards.

So those who are talking about not being accredited or asked to go home should find out if the NUC recognize the university and whether they can go there and obtain the certificates.

Do you have cultists in this university?

Yes but their activities are not pronounced because that is how the University's authority want it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Eme: The Road To Biafra

By Kelechi Eme, The Guardian

The title of this piece is an adaptation of an article I read over fifteen years ago. The article was written by the erudite Adebayo Williams in one of the national news magazines. It was captioned “The Road to Kigali” and illustrated succinctly, the consequence of inactions on the part of policy makers and individuals. He aptly drew a parallel on the activities of two distinguished Nigerians on the political terrain after exiting public service at an unusual young age. This was during the turbulent military regime of the 90s that emboldened all manner of pro-democracy agitators (including nation wreckers and ethnic bigots who masqueraded as liberators of the masses). The country was at a dangerous curve and the possibility of full blown ethnic war loomed larger since the end of the Biafran war.

The objects of the writer were the late Gen. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and Gen. T. Y. Danjuma that retired with the first coming of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo on October 1st, 1979. He praised the former for abandoning his comfort zone in pursuit of better governance for Nigerians and castigated the later for his aloofness on good governance and human right matters. His conclusion was that silence in the face of injustice and atrocities breeds radicalism, extremism, ethnic cleansing and call to arms (emphasis mine). The reluctance to speak up was what led to the genocide in Rwanda. This he aptly captured as “The Road to Kigali” in his piece. In the past one year we have witnessed the elevation of terrorism as a means of fighting social and economic injustice by MEND and Boko Haram. These are horrible crimes that every well-meaning Nigerian must condemn. Our collective failures as citizens of Nigeria bred the terrorist groups we appear unable to confront today. Did we tackle the residual issues that threw these monsters at us? This is the question our leaders and policy makers must answer.

It is on this premise that I have decided to bring the ticking time bomb in the South East before Nigerians. The present state of the region is a clear manifestation of man’s inhumanity to man. You will wonder if you were in a different republic. Yes, it is part of Nigeria. Yes, the people are Nigerians. However, the bitter truth is that of a zone systematically neglected and wickedly destroyed for reasons that are ingloriously archaic, incurable hatred and misplaced fears by the ruling class. I have in earlier notes expressed my disgust on the actions of a section of Igbo leaders, but the problem is purely beyond them. Some Nigerians might live under the illusion that the South East problem is not theirs, yet history has shown that ambivalence over the agony of your neighbour might consume you. Two recent developments in our national psyche thoroughly brought this assertion into perspective. The first was the activities of MEND and other Niger Delta groups that were active within their geographical location. Bombs exploded in Warri, Yenogoa, etc without any iota of concern by non-Niger Deltans. The failure to immediately seek for a holistic solution to the decadence in oil producing areas brought the bombs to Lagos (NNPC facility) and Abuja(Independence day bombings). Boko Haram then took the center stage. Their religious agenda which tilted towards social issues were well known and nothing was done to nip it in the bud. I do not really understand what they are demanding in a multi ethnic and religious society. It was a case of misguided elements that were misrepresenting Islam by indoctrinating young and vulnerable youths to batter modernization for medieval existence. They recorded significant success because the youths were disgruntled and unemployed. They killed hundreds in Maiduguri and we pretended nothing was happening. Now we have a national emergency on our hands because they arrived Abuja and targeted the flagship of our civilian protection.

I raised the issue of systematic “decapitation” of the Igbos because there are facts to support that. I am concerned because I have seen the frustration on the faces of young Igbos who have almost lost hope on the Nigerian enterprise. The leaders and policy makers should remember the saying that “he that is down need fear no fall.” The first aberration was committed by the policy of 20pounds handed out to Igbos irrespective of the amount previously deposited in the bank. Even this paltry amount was handed out under the condition that the account was not operated during the war. The economic team of the federal government went a step further to indigenize foreign corporations like UAC, Lever Brothers, Cadbury, PZ, SCOA, the banks, etc. The Igbos had no money to buy shares in these companies and this led to a section of the country having absolute control over the nation’s corporate world. Yet, some Nigerians flaunt hard work before the Igbos. I must commend Gen. Ibrahim Babangida for introducing NERFUND which at least ameliorated the pains of the Igbos. It was through this agency that a company like Emzor Pharmaceutical was established. The harsh post war economic policy immediately converted Igbo businessmen into street hustlers. Those in the corporate world lost their positions and had to begin new professional careers. Importation of stock fish was banned to deny Igbos their only means of protein after the war (Remember that most livestock were lost during the war). This was followed by the problem of abandoned property implemented mainly by the old Rivers state. Nigerians must be reminded that The Distinguished President of the Senate, David Bonaventure Mark actually chaired and rationalized the properties of Igbos in the old Rivers state. A “statesman” like Chief Edwin Clarke was a major beneficiary of the abandoned property.

While the two issues above could be set aside as a watershed in our national evolution, how can one describe the neglect of educational institutions since the end of the civil war? The scare of the war is written all over the institutions. The example of Okigwe Grammar school is a typical example. To make matters worse, The South East was not considered for a new university during the boom of the 70s that led to the proliferation of conventional universities in Nigeria. The situation remained the same until the establishment of Federal universities of technology by the Shagari administration. This resulted in South East students “forcefully” seeking university education outside their homeland. This syndrome contributed to the increased migration of young Igbo intellectuals outside their home states. Prior to the creation of Abia state, the old Imo state accounted for 25% of JAMB applicants. How many of them were admitted considering the presence of only two federal universities in the zone (FUTO had very low admission capacity at the time) and the catchment area policy of JAMB and National Universities Commission)?

The greatest problem is the zero economic activity in the southeast. This is occasioned by the preponderance of zero businesses infrastructure in the zone. All the federal roads are in bad shape and there is not a single strategic national asset located in the region. How many Nigerians still remember that the garden city of Port Harcourt use to be under Owerri province? The city of Port Harcourt deserves more than its present stage of development, why is Owerri stagnant? The systematic neglect has even been extended to harm the economic interest of our dear country Nigeria. Why is the huge Hydro carbon in the South East designated as strategic reserve while oil in other zones is being exploited? The exploitation of this huge resource will create jobs for the teeming youths who might be used by the lunatic fringe elements in the society to ferment trouble. One of the largest Natural Gas reserve in the world is under the belly of Atani-Osamala-Ozubulu corridor and extends to Oguta. There is also the huge oil reserve along the Ohi-Ubomiri-Mbieri-Iho corridor. This oil reserve is under “locks and keys” for reasons known only to the federal government. What about the Aguleri-Umuleri deposit? A situation in which Akwa Ibom received N204.5billion in 2008 from the federation account (largely due to derivation) and the entire south eastern states got N176.2billion justifies the urgent need to commence the Hydro Carbon exploitation of the zone. The need for development of the region is so overwhelming that delay will not be in Nigeria’s interest. The migration of young Igbo men and women can only be curtailed through economic development of the zone.

I want to conclude with the quote by Dr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria: “Having said that, this nation must realise that Igbos have more than paid for their foolishness. They have been defeated in war, rendered paupers by monetary policy fiat, their properties declared abandoned and confiscated, kept out of strategic public sector appointments and deprived of public services. The rest of the country forced them to remain in Nigeria and has continued to deny them equity.

The Northern Bourgeoisie and the Yoruba Bourgeoisie have conspired to keep the Igbo out of the scheme of things. In the recent transition when the Igbo solidly supported the PDP in the hope of an Ekwueme presidency, the North and South-West treated this as a Biafra agenda. Every rule set for the primaries, every gentleman´s agreement was set aside to ensure that Obasanjo, not Ekwueme emerged as the candidate. Things went as far as getting the Federal Government to hurriedly gazette a pardon. Now, with this government, the marginalistion of the Igbo is more complete than ever before. The Igbos have taken all these quietly because, they reason, they brought it upon themselves. But the nation is sitting on a time-bomb.

After the First World War, the victors treated Germany with the same contempt Nigeria is treating Igbos. Two decades later, there was a Second World War, far costlier than the first. Germany was again defeated, but this time, they won a more honourable peace. Our present political leaders have no sense of History. There is a new Igbo man, who was not born in 1966 and neither knows nor cares about Nzeogwu and Ojukwu. There are Igbo men on the street who were never Biafrans. They were born Nigerians, are Nigerians, but suffer because of actions of earlier generations. They will soon decide that it is better to fight their own war, and may be find an honourable peace, than to remain in this contemptible state in perpetuity.”

We have uprising in Niger Delta and the Boko Haram challenge to deal with. These challenges are all pointing to “THE ROAD TO BIAFRA”. A proactive approach to the problem of the South East will make this road a closed alley. A replication of the activities of the two aforementioned groups in any part of the country might unwittingly take us to that road to Biafra. “The Road to Biafra” is a metaphor for agitation for self-determination by any section of the country. This is the time for nationalist to rise and put all hands on deck in steering our country out of this dangerous slide.