Connect with us

opinion

USAfrica: Obama’s veto, terrorism and danger of congressional overreach

Published

on

By DOZIE EZEIFE

Special to USAfricaonline.com

A few hours ago, into the closing days of September 2016, the United States Senate and the House of Representatives voted in near unanimity, overriding President Obama’s veto of a legislation they passed paving the way for relatives of those who died in 9/11 to sue the Saudi government for its alleged complicity in the terrorist attacks of that eventful day.

For the record, like my fellow Americans, I mourn the senseless loss of lives and wanton destruction brought on our country by those terrorists. That said, we should not allow our hearts to supplant our brain on the throes of that tragedy. Our grievous loss should not have been a motivation to torpedo a time-honored rule of conduct amongst civilized nations, to wit, Sovereign immunity. Allowing opinion polls and mundane sensitivity to sway our lawmakers to legislatively strip Saudi Arabia of its sovereign immunity is rather regrettable.[slides title=”USAfrica: Obama’s veto, terrorism and danger of congressional overreach” title_url=”” title_icon=”” title_bg_color=”#09126d” title_text_color=”” title_border_bottom_color=”” main_color=”” thumb_bg_color=”” enable_tab=”” count=”6″ orderby=”latest” duration=”all” show_view_all=”on” cates=”” cate_scenario=”combination” authors=”” exclude_authors=”” tags=”” ignore_sticky_posts=”on” exclude_loaded_posts=”” show_comment=”on” show_readmore=”on” show_author=”icon” show_date=”date” meta_item_order=”a_c_d” show_format_icon=”” show_review_score=”” number_cates=”0″ snippet_length=”0″ thumbnail_height=”400″ show_nav=”on” show_dots=”on” speed=”5000″]

 

Barack-Obama-President_speaknThe Congress acted the way it did although nobody has offered any concrete evidence linking the Saudi government with this heinous crime. I am not unmindful of the fact that there are insinuations that perhaps there may be some connection between the hijackers and some low level officials of the Saudi government. Some have also argued that the fact that the Saudi government and some prominent Saudis may have donated funds to organizations with possible link with the terrorists, that is proof positive of Saudi complicity.

[/slides]

Well, we have to be very careful with such stretches. Someday an organization that the US aids may be linked to some activities and the chicken will come home to roost. We are currently supplying arms and logistic support to Syrian rebels [who the Syrian and Russian governments designate as terrorists]. What will stop any Syrian family suing the United States government for any losses sustained as a result of the activities of the so-called Free Syrian Army?

My distress is heightened by the fact that apparently our lawmakers did not give serious thought to this legislation. That is why hours after the override of the Obama veto members of the Senate wrote to the leadership requesting that the legislation be revised after the November elections. Our Congressmen are elected by us to protect our interests and legislate for the good governance of our nation.

With such a heavy mandate comes an expectation that they should possess the intellect and unsentimental mien in approaching their tasks. To allow emotions, rank sentiment, public opinions and selfish need to enhance their chances of re-election to sway their consideration of legislation that will yet prove to be very consequential for our government and government officials going forward is a crying shame.

We have our military and CIA engaged in both open and classified operations in all corners of the globe. This legislation has exposed them to grave risks and susceptibility to civil and criminal processes in foreign nations. To what end? So we can please those who are itching to rub the noses of the Saudis in it!
*Ezeife, an attorney in the San Francisco – Oakland bay area, is a contributing editor and columnist for USAfrica since 1994 and USAfricaonline.com

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

AFRICA

USAfrica: Time for Nigeria to turn away from analog leadership in digital age. By Donald Duke

Published

on

Time for Nigeria to turn away from analog leadership in digital age. By Donald Duke

Special to USAfrica (Houston) and USAfricaonline.com @USAfricaLIVE

One thing we all can agree on, regardless of our diverse backgrounds, privileges or circumstances, is that we could do a lot better than we currently are accomplishing. We need no soothsayer to tell us that our nonchalance, selfishness and greed are eclipsing our collective future and thereby threatening our very own survival to an extent we can hardly fathom.

Expectedly, the launch of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement, shortly after former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, has elicited diverse commentaries. There is the excitement that something is, at last, happening in the polity that reverses the bore and replacing that with hope. There was also confusion and, of course, condemnation by a critical few.

Good enough, still on another side of the divide, there are also those who proffer no ideas or solutions, but seemingly have the answers to all that should be right and wrong in our country.

I am, therefore, not writing this piece to convince anyone about the merits or otherwise of the coalition, it’s aims, objectives or its founders. No, my primary concern is about the urgency of Now!

There are pessimists in our midst who endlessly criticize, yet do nothing, perhaps condemning us collectively to the point of irredeemability; yet there are others who hold the optimism and hope that somewhere, somehow, someone would rise up to lift the despair and desperate situation that Nigeria is deeply in today. That hope and optimism are what is propelling a tiny few who are ready to pick up the gauntlet and literally take the bull by the horns knowing that there must be a resolution, either in favour of him or the bull.

First, a caveat. I am not here to either burnish or attest to anyone’s character least of all that of Obasanjo. He is too well known and such a unique being that whatever one may say is perhaps a shade, indeed a slight shade of the man. There are those and there are many, including my humble self, that believe he ought to take a back seat in the polity and be the statesman that he rightly is; at least until things get awry, then we would appeal to his wisdom to marshal our collective complaints and speak on our behalf. Like many others, I also have personal axe too to grind. So for now, all this talk of Obasanjo’s involvement is diversionary. The kernel of our discourse is our collective existence.

The discourse today centres around women and youth participation in our politics. After all, their demographics easily account for 70% of the population. Have we, the so-called ruling class earnestly considered handing over the baton of leadership in the near future? Let us consider the recent Nigeria PDP primaries, the same old guards dominated the scene. The average age of the aspirants was not less than 60 years going on to 70. Have we considered that a child born at the return to civil democratic rule in 1999 is a voter today and the one that was ten years old then is likely a parent and now saddled with concerns of the future of his or her offspring? The answer is an emphatic No, we haven’t.

At its last convention, the PDP lost an incredible opportunity to redefine itself. The party could have headhunted a breed of younger, urbane and forward-looking and aspiring leaders of both genders at a parity and accordingly rebranded itself as the new PDP. If it did that, it would have borrowed a leaf from the United Kingdom’s Labour Party of the 90s that was out of power for about 15years. What it did was that it rebranded itself as the new Labour, with a centrist manifesto and showcased new breed politicians by positioning the then dashing duo of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. The optics was great. But for the PDP, no way. The dinosaurs, which are unable to breed, and also refusing to quit, extinguish the entire land. The APC [Nigeria’s ruling] fares no better. Hardly has it showed nor displayed any room nor scope of throwing up a fresh breathe of fresh air by injecting new blood to replace the gerontocrats.

Before we get carried away with women and the youths, let me proudly proclaim that I too was once branded a youth and seen as a member of the vanguard of a new generation. At 30, I was already a state commissioner, at 34, a member of the National Economic Intelligence Committee and concurrently a member of the National Economic Council and at 37, state governor [of Nigeria’s Cross River]. At 45, I was done and pensionable.

The point is, there is nothing unique here, except that I was fortunate to be mentored; whereas, the bulk of our current young people are not consciously being politically mentored, thereby creating a huge lacuna in the leadership structure going forward. Without digressing too far, let me remind us that unmentored youth could be a lethal weapon. The bulk of the folks who orchestrated the 1966 pogrom were in their mid to late twenties. At that age, you are full of unbridled zeal and idealism, yet bereft of any institutional breeding or knowledge of history. The result was a fatal civil war. Catastrophically, we still deny ourselves the knowledge of history, so we seemingly are on the verge of repeating it.

Over the past couple of months, I have met with and spoken to dozens of young people about the importance of their participation in politics. The level of apathy and disenchantment is frightening. For every hundred urban youth, not more than 20% possess a voter’s card coupled with their alarming indifference that it doesn’t matter. Whereas European societies with older population are witnessing a surge in youth participation who go on to elect younger persons to office. But in Nigeria, the reverse is the case and indeed all of Africa harbouring a younger population. Until the recent forceful retirement of Mugabe, the average leadership age on the continent was about 75; it may have dropped to 65 with his departure and the coming on stage of Gambia’s Adama Barrow and Liberia’s George Weah. But then, are we not depriving ourselves of virility?
Muhammadu Buhari himself has admitted that age is a constraint to his performance in office; I needn’t say more.

But my message to young Nigerians is this: political power is never handed over as an inheritance. You plot and seek it as an entitlement. Our forebears in the First Republic did it to secure our freedom from the British. It’s not a moral obligation to handover and or step aside, you have to go for it or aggressively seek it. Between 1996 and 1999 when we assumed authority in Cross River State, we plotted with like minds to overthrow the status quo and they fought back; but with our numbers, careful and strategic calculations, we prevailed. Above all, we sought office for the right reasons.

The society like many other things is dynamic and moves with the times. Today we can rightly distinguish one from the other simply by acknowledging which one is analog and the other digital. The ways our fathers operated certainly cannot be the way we should, that would be stagnation and retrogression.

Every four years or so, there is so much vibes made of youth participation in politics, it’s an attractive sound bite; the difference this time, however, is that there is no longer time on our hands. Young people urgently need to get a grasp of the issues and appreciate that it is their future that is at stake. Participation from the ward to the federal levels is imperative. A young 27-year-old man has impressed me in this regard. His name is Bukunyi Olateru Olagbegi. Olagbegi is certainly not accepting the status quo of his peer group, so he goes about setting up a political party called the Modern Democratic Party (MDP) to create political space for himself and his cohorts. That is consciousness and activism and should be encouraged. We need more of his type in the political sphere to an extent that they can no longer be ignored.

Back to the Coalition for Nigeria Movement; if all it achieves is to rekindle and galvanize the entire strata of the population to becoming politically active, it would, in my opinion, be a huge success. In that quest, all hands ought to be on deck, the good and not so good, for the weight is great. I would be glad to see Presidents Buhari, Goodluck Jonathan, Obasanjo, Abdulsalami Abubakar and as far back to Yakubu Gowon join the movement. Let Obasanjo alone not enjoy the limelight of assuming the position of an all-knowing individual. More than anything else, their experiences ought to be brought to bear.

It is apathy that encourages the governing class to govern with contempt, with the belief that the electorate is too docile and disenchanted to scrutinize or have oversight of their performance. And this is largely true. That it takes someone who is over 80 years old to awaken us to the foibles of governance, perhaps through the experience of his own shortcomings, for me, regardless of his personal reasons, clearly shows that there is a vacuum somewhere that he wittingly fills. Should we on account of that begrudge him the role he is playing? For me, that is a firm no. Rather, let us fill the gap that he recurringly exploits so expertly and adroitly by ensuring that the leadership no longer takes governance for granted, knowing there is an intolerant electorate out there. Then attention will be paid to job creation and not foreign exchange affordability, neither will herdsmen and farmers clash nor retaliating communities dare ransack land, maim, kill, and destroy property with reckless abandon without fear of repercussion from authorities.

Empathy and compassion will be the yardstick for governance and not crass display of insensitivity, hard-heartedness and high handedness. In the same vein, appointments to offices will reflect the diversity of the nation and IDP camps would not be the new horror chamber. Budgets will be presented and passed on time and there would be consequences for failure to perform in government.

We crave a new lease of life in a country where we will cease to live in fear of our personal safety and rather look out for the wellbeing of each other. There is no doubt that ours is a broken society and this is no time to sit back and criticize, no matter how self-satisfying and alluring it may be. Let us save that energy for things that are more vital and urgent.
Obasanjo is transient; Nigeria is certainly here for the long haul.
There is clearly an urgency of Now!                                                                                          •Duke, born 30 September 1961 in Calabar, is a lawyer who was elected and served as the Governor of Cross River State, Nigeria from May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2007. He has been featured here at USAfricaonline.com, USAfrica magazine and CLASSmagazine for championing eco-tourism.

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading

AFRICA

USAfrica: Is Trump justified to label Nigeria a “shit hole” country? By C.K Ekeke

Published

on

Special to USAfrica (Houston) USAfricaonline.com@USAfricaLive

My position is that the Nigerians and other Africans protesting against President Trump’s “shit hole” comment and writing all manner of nonsense on social media platforms are cowards.  They should rather protest against their rulers who treat them as less than humans. Look at Nigeria.  Since Buhari came into office, the radical Islamic Fulani herdsmen have been roaming  around various communities in Nigeria – especially in Middle Belt, Southwest, Southeast and Southsouth regions with their AK47,  assorted weapons and with impunity — destroying farms lands, raping young girls including married women, mothers, and massacring innocent and helpless citizens.

Into the second week of January 2018, the U.S. President Donald J. Trump, reportedly, called out African nations as “shit hole countries.” Trump expressed preference for immigrants from European countries like Norway and opposed to African immigrants as not the kind of immigrants he wants anymore into the United States of America.

President Trump, a man who now sits in the Oval Office has been exposed to the rot of these countries. And so, he has rightly called out Haiti, El Salvador and Africa with Nigeria leading the pack as “shit hole” countries. Trump is absolutely correct.  Nigeria and most of Sub-Sahara Africa are truly shithole nations.

The ‘shithole’ comment may have infuriated many. Some people have spoken out and even condemned the manner in which this global leader has described a continent that ought to be the richest on the planet but because of bad leadership, incompetence, greed, selfishness, stupidity, cowardice, hate, etc., it has remained a bloody squalor, where lives are reduced and caged like animals.  Even animals will not live and suffer what millions of human beings suffer in Nigeria and across Africa.

 You must understand that Trump is not your typical politician.  He’s not a politically correct leader.  The man has seen the corruption, lawlessness, the illegality, barbarism, evil, wickedness, and all manner of atrocities that African rulers have subjected their people to.  He has seen the suffering, poverty, wretchedness, evil and sheer wickedness of the African people, and he could not find a politically correct word to describe their situation than to tell the U.S. lawmakers that he does not want these poverty, diseased stricken people from these shithole countries to be making their way to America anymore.  America, according to him needs educated, civilized and healthy White people from Northern European countries like Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Austria, etc.  In fact, he does not even wants people from Western Europe because they are now in bed with Islam.

In Buhari’s Nigeria, none of these murderers and barbaric Fulani herdsmen has been arrested talk less being punished for their heinous crimes against humanity.

Yet, we have a President who swore an oath to defend the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria and defend her sovereignty. President Buhari and his lawless Attorney General, Chief Justice and murderous Military quickly tagged the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist organization and proscribed their peaceful freedom activities in Nigeria.  Yet, Buhari and his Fulani mafia militants have refused to tag Fulani herdsmen as terrorists.  According to them, Fulani herdsmen are common criminals.  In fact, there is credible evidence that the Fulani recruited in the military are the ones masquerading as Fulani herdsmen and Boko haram going around and slaughtering armless, helpless and unprotected innocent Nigerian citizens – mostly Christians and Biafran people.

Just look at the massacre of innocent church worshippers in Rivers State recently on New Year’s Day Service.  What about the barbarism and mayhem being perpetrated against the Christian population of Benue, Plateau, Kaduna, Kogi States and others.  Yet, Gowon, IBB, Obasanjo and others, who feel entitled to rule Nigeria because they fought the civil war are not saying anything while Christians are being decimated and the conquered territories are turned into Islamic occupation.

The satanic plan to turn entire Africa into an Islamic continent is ongoing.  Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and few other ones are the key targets.  As I write, a tiny Islamic population in Ghana, Kenya, and South African are beginning to push for Sharia and Islamic laws.

After the killings in Rivers and Benue States, rather than arrest and punish these murderous Fulani herdsmen, the federal government is talking about creating “grazing-Cattle colonies” – which is an attempt to resurrect grazing bill which failed in the National Assembly and Senate.

Despite all of our education and bright people in Nigeria and in Diaspora, we cowardly and foolishly elected a man whose first leaving certificate is still in doubt.  We elected a man who feels entitled to rule Nigeria because he fought and won the civil war.  But now, we know that’s not the only reason he ran for president for four times until he was imposed upon us.  He wants to destroy Nigeria by turning her into a thoroughly Islamic country.

The U.S. President is absolutely correct, Nigeria is callously lawless, fantastically corrupt and a shithole nation.  Nigeria is a failed State and needs to be dismembered.                 •Dr. Ekeke, a theologian, is a contributing columnist for USAfricaonline.com

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading

NEWS FIRST

Sex-ual Harassment and the Weinstein allegations. By Attorney Patrick Chukelu

Published

on

harvey-weinstein

Sex-ual Harassment and the Weinstein allegations.

By Attorney Patrick Chukelu, contributing editor of USAfrica

Prof. Anita Hill’s salacious testimony against the confirmation of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court was unprecedented. 42 U.S.C. 2000e ( Title VII of The Civil Rights Act) prohibits discrimination based on gender/sex. A case ( Meritor Savings) interpreted that “Sex” extends to sexual harassment, which was not in the Statute.

This Federal Statute overseen by the EEOC requires a complaint to be filed within 300 days of the discriminatory conduct (time may be shorter under some State’s laws). Timing is critical because of attendant and varying statutes of limitations. The Lawyer representing some of the Accusers in the Weinstein matter was on CNN last week brilliantly “baiting” Weinstein’s legal team to voluntarily submit to an arbitration for a quick trial were he will have his day in court ( on the condition that Weinstein waives any defense of Statute of Limitations). Will Weinstein’s lawyers accept the offer or not?

If complaints are not timely filed ( within the statute of limitations), Judges are supposed to throw out the non-compliant subsequent suit. Bottom line , one victimized is supposed to meet an administrative component before proceeding to a lawsuit. An O’Reilly Claimant’s attorney discussed her experience with the investigating Agency on their complaint.

The sexual harassment legal process is a complex one that does not reward those who sleep on their rights to timely file required administrative complaints and thereafter timely litigate post-administrative discharge of the complaint. Best to timely seek competent legal counsel.

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading

INSIGHT

Why Nigeria is a country divided against itself and cannot stand. By Bayo Oluwasanmi

Published

on

President-Buhari-of-Nigeria-contemplative-pix
By BAYO OLUWASANMI
Special to USAfricaonline.com
We have witnessed the independence of Slovenia from the former Yugoslavia, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the division of the former Czechoslovakia, and the separation of both Eritrea from Ethiopia and South Sudan from Sudan.

Numerous of successful secessions have allowed people greater freedom and self-determination: Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire, the Hungarian split with the Soviet Union in 1989, Singapore’s secession from Malaysia in 1965, Ireland’s independence from the UK, and countless others.

Nigeria’s impotence as ungovernable, divided, separate, hostile, and unequal nation is apparent for all to see. Nigeria, as we know it, is dead! The country is irrevocably broken along ethnic, linguistic, geographical, religious, and cultural lines. The sooner the Nigerian people accept this, the sooner the break-up and the sooner we can move on.

From time to time, the break-up of Nigeria becomes inevitable to many of us who believe that “In the course of human events, it is necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them.” We’re in one of those periods now, and while the reasons are unique, the historical moment is not new. In 1953, the northerners considered secession from the Nigerian colony that would soon be an independent nation.

The words of our founding fathers that Nigeria is not one country remain prophetically instructive.

Listen to them:

“Nigeria is not a nation. It is mere geographical expression. There are no ‘Nigerians’ in the same sense as there are ‘English,’ ‘Welsh,’ or ‘French.’  The word ‘Nigerian’ is merely a distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria and those who do not,” Chief Obafemi Awolowo said in 1947.

“Since 1914 the British government has been trying to make Nigeria into one country,” Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa said, “but the Nigerian people themselves are historically different in their backgrounds, in their religious beliefs and customs, and do not show themselves any signs of willingness to unite… Nigerian unity is only a British invention.”

Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe argued in 1964 that “It is better for us and many admirers abroad that we [Nigeria] should disintegrate in peace and not in pieces. Should the politicians fail to heed this warning, then I will venture the prediction that the experience of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be child’s play if ever it comes to our turn to play such a tragic role.”

The recent proclamation of northern youths and the ultimatum given to Igbo people to vacate the north within three months shed much needed light on why Nigeria is not, and will never be, one united nation. There is no mystery as to how we got to this point. There is also no mystery as to who to blame. There is no need for conspiracy theories. The polarization of public life exacerbated by government corruption and incompetence has become so tense it led to widespread civil disorder, culminating in chaos and crises.

Nigeria is fast approaching a complete collapse. For long, many of us have raised alarm that our government and the way the system is being run are not working, and cannot guarantee delivery of basic essential services. The ominous declaration of the northern youths has left Nigerians in fear of what tomorrow may bring. While all this plays out, Nigerians watch in horror and amazement from the sidelines and wonder when the inevitable will occur.

Inequality between the looting ruling class and the poor has become increasingly intolerable. The native tyrants in the National Assembly, better still, National Asylum, are in stupor of random pleasures and whims, feasting on plenty of food and sex, and reveling in the non-judgment that democracy is civil religion. From all indications, our democracy is in retreat, close to being destroyed by vast corruption, ineptitude, incompetence, and fraud. Those in Abuja couldn’t care less about our people. They couldn’t care less that for 58 years we couldn’t get along.  They couldn’t care less that Nigeria is as good as dead. Nigerians are angry – Igbos, Hausas, and Yorubas. They are all angry for being sick and poor and tired of being cannon fodders. They are tired of being jobless and hopeless. Brother is turning against brother. Killing of families and children are the norm rather than the exception. Nigerians are nickel-and-dimed to death in their everyday life. Workers, if paid at all, are paid peonage wages. The nation’s peonage wage is at subsistence level. This is simply incompatible with self-determination.

With subsistence living, Nigerians are constrained into a desperate state. Their horizon is limited to the present day, to getting enough of what they need to make it to the next. The minimum wage in Nigeria is N18,000 per month. This is criminally below the poverty line. That’s a scrambling, anxious existence, narrowly bounded. It’s impossible to decently feed, clothe, and shelter yourself on a wage like that, much less a family, much less have money to see the doctor,  or pay for your kids college, or participate in any of those good things of life. Down to the peon level, the pursuit of happiness sounds like a bad joke.

The critical mass of our people is kept in peonage. All its vitality spent in the trenches of day-to-day survival with scant or no opportunity to develop the full range of its faculties. That’s why I’m miffed by the numbed-out, dumbed-down, make belief Nigerians who still believe that Nigeria could be saved from falling apart. This is deceptive and uncharitable given our past political history and the present political realities of our nation. Those who see future or unity in one Nigeria are deluded, ignorant, unrealistic. They don’t know what’s real, what’s possible, and can’t differentiate fact from fiction.

How can the proponents of one Nigeria explain the humiliation and insult heaped on Vice President Osinbajo when Buhari’s Chief of Staff Abba Kyari referred to him as “Coordinator of National Affairs” instead of Vice President? The freest and fairest presidential election in our history was won by MKO Abiola. The election was annulled by a northerner. He was robbed of the presidency and he was killed.  If Osinbajo and Abiola were Hausas, nothing of such would have happened to them. Examples of such second class treatment abound. We need not bury our heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich as if all is well with a troubled and traumatized nation suffering from history of division and disunity.

Nigeria is a country divided against itself and cannot stand. Nigeria is virtually bankrupt. The clamor for separation is the manifestation of a nation grounded as it were, without hope of moving forward after 58 years. I believe it’s too late to save Nigeria from disintegration. Our union for the past 58 years has produced no peace, no progress, and no prosperity for the poor majority. The only beneficiaries and the loudest advocates of one Nigeria are those profiteers from the miseries of the pulverized poor – the ruling class.

 bjoluwasanmi@gmail.com.

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading

BUSINESS

Following May 30 successes, will Biafra agitators compel restructuring Nigeria? By Olu Ojewale

Published

on

biafra-protests-ipob-led-onitsha-2015

By Olu Ojewale

Special to USAfricaonline.com  • @USAfricaLIVE

[quote font=”georgia” bgcolor=”#eded9c”]

IT was a day that would be remembered for a long time to come. On Tuesday, May 30, the Ndigbo from different walks of life chose to commemorate the day the agitation for a Biafran state was declared 50 years by the late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, a soldier, politician and statesman.

As it happened, Odumegwu-Ojukwu and fellow agitators after fighting in a civil war that lasted for about 31 months, eventually decided to keep Nigeria as one. Although Ojukwu and probably majority of those who shared his Biafran dreams have all passed away, the younger generation of agitators appear unwilling to let them die.

Hence, all the pressure groups that have been formed over the years came together to declare that all the South East indigenes should participate in the stay home protest to commemorate the day. The protest turned out to be a resounding success as many as 75 countries all over the world participated in the protest. It is now common knowledge that activities, business, social and all others were paralysed in the whole of South East that day. Mercifully, there were no reports of bad incidents throughout the period the protest lasted.

[/quote]

That notwithstanding, the message to the federal government, albeit the political class, was unambiguous: Nigeria needs to change it attitudes to the Igbo nation or give it a country of its own. But it appears that the Ndigbo would need more than such agitation to change the current configuration of the country to suit every segment of the country.

In the past 50 years there appears to be an unending agitation for the realisation of Biafra dream as envisioned by Odumegwu-Ojukwu when he led the region in a civil war in which more than three million people were killed. Since then, the same old issue of marginalisation of the Ndigbo has almost been turned into a sing-song, no matter which government was or in power.

Articulating those issues recently, many Igbo extractions said when the civil war ended in 1970, the then military government had declared a no-victor-no-vanquish situation but the reality on ground have always showed the opposite

President-Buhari-of-Nigeria-contemplative-pix

as Ndigbo were regarded as a conquered people.

Not only that, the apostles of Biafra State have also said that the Ndigbo have been marginalised in all aspects of the Nigerian polity including the economy and politics. They have similarly pointed that despite the pogrom that they suffered, the promise of the Gowon government of reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction were never applied to the people of the South East. Besides, instead of the federal government to harness the industry of the Ndigbo people they are being treated like second class citizens in a country where they should have equal rights.

That, perhaps, gave Uchenna Madu, leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, to say that: “the existence and sojourn of the people of Biafra can be likened to the affirmation of Jesus Christ himself when he compared the Hebrew children to the salt of the earth noting that the earth, would be worthless without its salt.

“Just as the children of light is the salt of the earth, so are the Igbos the salt of Nigeria. Political scene without the Igbo, Nigeria will lose its taste and Nigeria will be no more. In all ramifications, men of goodwill and uprightness know that this assertion is true.”


Madu said trouble appeared to have started for the Ndigbo as far back as before and after the war. He said: “This attempt at establishing an independent state of Biafra was dependent upon the premeditated genocidal pogrom against the Igbo and other people of eastern region of Nigeria then outside of their homeland. This choreographed genocide was followed by the coup of July 29, 1966, during which Nigerian troops of Northern origin systematically killed many southern officers and men, of whom at least three quarters were easterners.

“It is apt to say that the involvement of military officers of Northern extraction in these massacres effectively destroyed the Nigerian army as an effective agent of Nigerian unity.

“The subsequent massacre of citizens of the Eastern region in the north, starting again in September 1966 and the mass migration back to the east that ensued widened the rupture in national unity. It was at this point that issues such as problems of refugees, economic support of displaced persons and intensified fears of citizens of the Eastern region for their personal safety combined to escalate the tension between the Eastern region and central government.

“Nobody could have blamed Ojukwu for declaring Biafra, which was brutally resisted by the Nigerian state but today the situation has not changed. What Ndigbo suffer today seems to be more. Harsh economic policies aimed at reducing the capacity of the Igbo.”

Madu argued that the policies of marginalisation were efficiently and effectively carried out throughout the military era which dominated Nigerian politics at the time from 1970 to 1999. “Interestingly, the current democratic dispensation has also coincided with the emergence of a post-war Igbo generation who do not accept the obvious marginalisation of the Igbos in Nigeria. The manifestation of this resentment is seen in the number of Biafran groups and movements that have emerged to demand for the re-establishment of an independent Biafran state as a panacea to the alienation of the Igbos in the Nigerian polity,” MASSOB boss said.

According to him, the new Igbo nationalism is anchored on a shared vision that the Ndigbo are better off as an independent state than being an integral part of the Nigeria state.

He vowed: “We the people of Biafra will never relent in promoting, projecting and upholding all the legacies of General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the supreme leader and Commander of Biafra Nation.”

Supporting the separatist idea, Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, the founder of Igbo Youth Movement, IYM, said that there was not much for him to say because of the grim situation in the country, especially among the youths. He said: “You need no other barometer to  feel the pulse of the people judging from their feelings of despair. The youths are so despondent that they are now asking to be allowed to opt out of the country. I do not need to say anything further.

“We are a country and but not a nation. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the declaration of Biafra, we remember the time we were invaded; we remember the killing of over three million Igbo and we also remember how we managed to survive. We are asking for self- determination
Kanu

Similarly, Chilos Godsent, president of the Igbo National Council, INC, said in an interview that the economic policies of Nigeria had made things for the Igbo difficult. Godsent expressed the fear the Igbo would continue to find it difficult until the Nigerian  state is liberalised to accommodate every ethnic nationalities in the country. He said he was convinced that the marginalisation of the Igbo people was deliberate.

The INC president said: “I can tell you authoritatively that those issues before and after the Nigeria/Biafra civil war have not been addressed. The issue of lopsidedness of political structure of the Nigerian state is still there. The deliberate marginalisation of the Igbo, the conspiracy of the Arewa and Oduduwa bloc against the Igbo nation is still very strong. Let me tell you that these issues led to the fear of uncertainty and made the Igbo feel so unwanted in the Nigeria federation.

“That was what started self determination, which they eventually called the Biafra Republic. The struggle is ongoing but what we are concerned about is the tactical approach and the existing frame work on the modus operandi of all the organisations that are struggling for the sovereign state of Biafra.”

That notwithstanding, Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, was pleased with the success of the sit-at-home protest, saying the realisation of a Biafra republic was near.

Speaking through Emma Powerful, the IPOB’S media and publicity secretary, Kanu said he was encouraged by the outing, vowing that he would stop at nothing in ensuring that the people of the area were liberated from the stranglehold of their oppressors.

He used the medium to thank “friends of Biafra and lovers of freedom all over the world for their tenacious efforts that made our Heroes Day Sit-At-Home Order a resounding success.”

The IPOB leader said the fact that people obeyed the order to sit at home “is confirmation that IPOB which I lead has the mandate of all Biafrans to spearhead the ongoing Biafra restoration effort.”

He added: “With near total compliance with this sit-at-home order I issued when I was still in Kuje Prison Abuja, it has proven to me beyond every conceivable doubt that Biafra restoration is a priority to all and sundry and I promise never to let Biafra down even upon the pain of death because you never let me down.

“We must join hands together, with all genuine and sincere individuals and groups, to restore Biafra with truth and honesty.”

However, rather than join hands with the IPOB leader, the South East Peoples Assembly, SEPA, has asked the federal high court, Abuja, to revoke the bail granted Kanu.

The IPOB in collaboration with other groups, on Tuesday, May 30, organised a successful sit-at-home in South East, an action SEPA regarded as a breach of the bail conditions granted Kanu.

Indeed, the IPOB leader has been facing trial for treason and terrorism, being a major sponsor for the secession of South East from Nigeria on the platform of his group.

He was arrested on October 15, 2015, in Lagos, and eventually granted bail in May this year on health grounds with some conditions.

Justice Binta Nyako said that she was convinced that Kanu was ill and needed more medical attention than the Nigerian Prisons was giving him and therefore, granted him bail on conditions that he must not hold any rally, grant any interview or be in a crowd of more than 10 people.


Nyako gave other bail conditions to include three sureties in the sum of N100 million each and ordered that Kanu to deposit both his Nigerian and British passports with the court and that a report on the progress of his health must be made available to her on a monthly basis.

She adjourned the matter till July 11 and 12, for definite commencement of trial.

However, based on the sit-at-home order, the SEPA has accused Kanu of infringing on the bail conditions.

In a letter to Justice Ibrahim Auta, the chief judge of the high court, Chukwuemeka Okorie, president of the SEPA, asked the court, as a matter of urgency, to revoke Kanu’s bail.

He said that Kanu had continued to conduct himself in a manner that was totally at variance with terms and conditions of his bail.

He listed the infractions to include holding rallies, grant of interviews or be in a crowd of more than 10 people.

“Obviously, the recklessness with which he made media statements and even organised the ‘Sit at Home and Stay Indoor’ protest to mark the so called Biafra heroes day on Tuesday, 30th May, 2017, is a threat to the unity, security and peace of Nigeria as a sovereign nation.

“We have no iota of doubt that he is trying to push our dear country Nigeria into an unnecessary precarious situation for his personal agenda and those of his paymasters.

“Sir, our decision to write this demand letter to your good office at this time is to forestall another civil unrest in Nigeria, particularly around the Igbo speaking region.

“As you well know, the struggle by Kanu to be relevant under the guise of actualisation of Biafra does not enjoy the support of right thinking Igbo people both at home and in diaspora.

“That he suddenly addresses himself as the Supreme Leader of Biafra points to how arrogant and disrespectful he is to legitimately constituted authority in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The pertinent question on our minds as stakeholders is: Has Kanu been consistent in providing the court with reports on the progress of his health and treatment on a monthly basis since he was granted bail?

“We fear that if Kanu is not tamed by Your Lordship as a matter of urgency, the IPOB may create a situation where it becomes difficult if not impossible for genuine development to take place in the South East under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“History has taught us that the Civil War of 1967-1970 started gradually and later turned out to be something that caused our people unimaginable losses.

“We cannot afford to fold our arms this time and allow a stooge imported from the United Kingdom by stark enemies of Nigeria to maintain a state of belligerence against the nation and keep the name of Igbo people in the news for the wrong reasons.”

In any case, the SERAP’s opposition has, no doubt, shown that not everyone is in support of the separatist movement of Kanu and his co-travellers.

Monday Ubani, a human rights lawyer and second national vice president of the Nigerian Bar Association, similarly disagreed with the agitation for Biafran state. Rather, he said that the Igbo cause could be better realised within the context of one Nigeria instead of plunging the whole South East into another avoidable crisis.


He admitted that there had been elements of marginalisation against the Ndigbo in the structure of Nigeria, but it was now left for the Ndigbo to build confidence with other ethnic groups in order to get whatever they want.

Ubani said: “If you say you want Biafra, in asking for Biafra what are the plans in place. Have you consulted your political office holders who are holding offices everywhere? Who is going to be the President and then where is the capital to be located? I don’t have any problem with Biafra but I want to see what the plans are. Let’s agree before you pull out.”

He also said Biafra would be difficult to actualise by being hostile and rebellious to other ethnic groups in the country. According to him, the last Biafran war was a waste of lives and opportunities. “I will not at this level of my education now support the Igbo man to go to that level again, war, because I have kids. I will rather like us to get a larger chunk of our right in a more legitimate way in this country God has blessed.

“If you say Igbo should return home because of war, where are the industries to work. Please you don’t sit down and create problems for others and generations yet unborn because you are frustrated. I will advise if we love our land let’s begin to carry our investment home and attract foreign investors,” he said.

Besides, he said that Odumegwu-Ojukwu who started Biafra, before his death said that Biafra was now a thing of the heart. Hence, Ubani said that if Ndigbo want to achieve Biafra “all of us must sit down and work out the modalities of a Biafra state.”

For Nnia Nwodo, president general of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the marginalisation of the South East by successive administrations necessitated agitation by the youths for a sovereign state of Biafra. At the forum of leaders of the South-South and South-East geo-political zones earlier in May, Nwodo noted that he aspired for a country where every part would be fully involved and the future generation would have a better country than the current generation.

“Our children are agitating. Our children do not want to be part of this country anymore because they feel that we are second-class citizens and because they feel that their parents are incapable of standing out for them.

“They want the Republic of Biafra because most of them feel they are discriminated against and are not equal with others,” he said. He, however, argued that the country would be better as one, as the impact of war on any country could never be over-emphasised.

“We think that in the African continent, our size is our asset. We have built a brotherhood over the years since 1960 and we cannot break. Consequently, we have to put our heads together and find a better federal structure, a constitutional structure, which gives every part of this country satisfaction. In weeks and few months to come, the socio-cultural organisations will come together to seek an end to this impending catastrophe,” Nwodo said.

On his part, former President Olusegun Obasanjo said engaging in dialogue with those agitating for an independent state of Biafra would be a sure way to resolving the issue.

At the Biafra conference in Abuja, on Thursday, May 25, the former president said Nigerians must treat the country with care. He recalled what happened during the Biafran war and why such should be avoided.

“I have maintained that the young officers who struck in 1966 were naive but there were some element of nationalism in some of them. Be that as it may, it set us back. The language used in the war did not help matters, the people on the Biafra side called us vandals and we called them rebels…


“We thought we would end the war in three months, but it took us 30 months, and the federal side nearly lost it. Civil war is more difficult than fighting in a foreign land because we are fighting to unite… Some of the people agitating for Biafra today were not even born then. They don’t know what it entails,” he said.

“But I think, we should even appeal to those saying they want to go, we should not tell them to go. We should make them understand that there is enough cake to share. We should massage Nigeria just like in a love relationship.”

Similarly, Balarabe Musa, a veteran politician and a former of Kaduna State, in a newspaper interview, agreed that the Ndigbo have not had their fair share in the scheme of things in Nigeria since the time of the civil war. Musa, however, disagreed that majority of the Igbo are in support of Biafra.

He said: “Sincerely speaking, the South-East has not had a fair-share since the civil war. Their marginalisation is quite obvious. But if the policy of reconstruction, reintegration and reconciliation of General (Yakubu) Gowon and the late General (Murtala Mohammed) Murtala’s administrations had continued, the agitation by the few Igbo for Biafra state would have been a thing of the past. It is the marginalisation that is making a small section of the Igbo to agitate for Biafra.

“If the reconstruction and reconciliation had been sustained, there wouldn’t have been any need for Biafra because the number of those Igbo asking for Biafra is not more than 10 percent. The majority of the Igbo crave for a better Nigeria particularly because of their experience and they are prepared to fight for the unity of Nigeria. Majority of Igbo leaders have said in clear terms that they want a better Nigeria where they can expand because they are enterprising in nature.

“As you are aware, people who are enterprising would prefer a big community as against a small one. Some of them desire a better Nigeria because they don’t want the previous experience of war to repeat itself. But the agitation for Biafra is a ticking time-bomb just as the level of poverty in Nigeria.

“Like I said earlier, the system of development in Nigeria tends to divide the people. There were times in history when the Igbo were targeted and isolated because they were enterprising and because of the system that operates in Nigeria. And probably the system could marginalise everybody until there is a brutal revolution.”

Perhaps, fearing the untold damages that may result from another civil war in Nigeria, the only popular agitation in the country today is restructuring, which appears to be unpopular among some Northerners. But that has not diminished the debate for the need to restructure Nigeria to speed up its development.

Lending a voice to the argument, Olusegun Adeniyi in his newspaper column of May 25, said: “All said, as we reflect on 50 years after the declaration of Biafra and what might have been, I agree with the proponents of restructuring that there are sufficient grounds to question some of the assumptions on which the unity of Nigeria is predicated, especially in the light of our serial failings. But to beat war drums at the least provocation or to continue to marginalise (in critical appointments and projects) a significant section of our country are signposts that we have not come to terms with our past and that we have not learnt enough lessons from that tragic episode in our history to say NEVER AGAIN!”

Indeed, that was the view of the late Odumegwu-Ojukwu, who declared Eastern Nigeria a sovereign state on May 30, 1967, known as Biafra, when he gave his candid opinion on the same agitation in a video that had gone viral on social media.

He said in the video: “I led the first one and I can say I led ‘proudly’ the first one  I don’t think a second one is necessary. We should have learnt from the first one, otherwise, they would all have been in vain.”

But whether the agitators for a Biafran state are going to heed to the advice is another matter. That notwithstanding, the fear of Biafra state, may after all be the necessary harbinger to reconfigure the country and give everyone a sense of belonging.

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading

BUSINESS

USAfrica: While Nigerians, Africans were binding and casting Lucifer, Dubai went into massive infrastructural development. By Prof. Abel Idowu Olayinka

Published

on

abel-idowu-olayinka-CV-UIbadan

While Nigerians, Africans were binding and casting Lucifer, Dubai went into massive infrastructural development.

By Prof. Abel Idowu Olayinka, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, is an applied geophysicist.

After independence, in order to build a great nation, each country went to work. But in Nigeria, after independence (in 1960), our people went to pray and fast.

So, while we were praying, Malaysia came here and took our palm seedlings and built a great factory of it.

While we were praying, Singapore went into investment in technology.

While we were praying, India went into ICT.

While we were praying, China went to massive industrialisation.

While we were  praying,  UAE went into massive infra structural development.

While we were binding and casting Lucifer, Japan went into technological development.

While we were speaking in tongues, Denmark went into education of her citizens.

While we were mounting big speakers in our places of worship, USA was mounting man on the moon.

After our prayers, God, being a wise God decided to reward us according to our labour.

Since those that went into industrialisation, technology, infra structural development, ICT, education etc have been rewarded accordingly. It’s only wise God rewards us with our efforts in prayers.

That’s why today, Nigerian pastors are competing in building the biggest churches. That’s why there are more prayer houses and worship places than hospitals and schools. That’s why people rush to prayer houses for medical and business solutions instead of hospitals.

That’s why we don’t do business visibility before jumping into it since we are going to back it up with prayers. And when it collapses, we blame devil.

That’s why it’s a sin to say anything negative about Pastors and Imams.

That’s why our Pastors don’t consider the opinion of engineers while building and blame devil when the building collapses.

That’s why faith in God replaces building pillars and when it collapses we blame it on Lucifer.

That’s why our Pastors are making sure they plant Church branches instead of schools on every street in Nigeria.

That’s why we always wait for God to do for us that which ability would’ve accomplished.

That’s why we want our teachers to labour on earth and go to heaven for their rewards.

Nigeria is a prayer loving, God fearing nation. Religion has taken the place of technology, infrastructure, education etc.

When travelling, we ignore all the necessary road requirements, servicing of our vehicles and pray. And, once we pray, we can put a half serviceable vehicles on the road and blame our step mothers or mothers in law if anything goes wrong.

That’s why there are more people dying on our roads than wild animals in the forest.

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading

AFRICA

USAfrica: On Racism and Trump, Chimamanda Adichie shuts down white, conservative editor

Published

on

chimamanda_adichie-vs-robert-emmett-tyrrell-on-trump-bbc

On Racism and Trump, Chimamanda Adichie shuts down white, conservative editor on BBC show (video embedded)

By Chido Nwangwu

Special to USAfrica (Houston) and USAfricaonline.com

Award-winning, Nigerian-born author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie joined the debate on whether the U.S President-elect, Donald Trump, is (or has been) a racist.

Robert Emmett Tyrrell, the founder of The American Spectator, a conservative magazine during the BBC show claimed Trump has never ever made a racist comment. “He hasn’t been racist”, he stated.

Adichie, pointedly, told him:

“No, you don’t get to sit there and say that he hasn’t been racist when objectively he has. And it’s not about your opinion. There are objective things. Racism is an objective reality, and Donald Trump has inhabited that reality.”

 


VIDEO #CNN special #CHIBOK Girls n #BokoHaram Live intvw wt the Founder of USAfrica multimedia and public POLICY networks Chido Nwangwu. CNN anchors John Berman n Michaela Pereira.

Forthcoming 2017 BOOK: In this engaging, uniquely insightful and first person reportage book, MANDELA & ACHEBE: Footprints of Greatness, about two global icons and towering persons of African descent whose exemplary lives and friendship hold lessons for humanity and Africans, USAfrica Founder Chido Nwangwu takes a measure of their works and consequence to write that Mandela and Achebe have left “footprints of greatness.”

He chronicles, movingly, his 1998 reporting from the Robben Island jail room in Soutmandela-achebe-chido-book-cover-img_0075h Africa where Mandela was held for decades through his 20 years of being close to Achebe. He moderated the 2012 Achebe Colloquium at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.”I’ll forever remember having walked inside and peeped through that historic Mandela jail cell (where he was held for most of his 27 years in unjust imprisonment) at the dreaded Robben Island, on March 27, 1998, alongside then Editor-in-chief of TIME magazine and later news chief executive of the CNN, Walter Isaacson (and others) when President Bill Clinton made his first official trip to South Africa and came to Robben Island. Come to this island of scourge and you will understand, in part, the simple greatness and towering grace of Nelson Mandela”, notes  Chido Nwangwu, award-winning writer, multimedia
specialist and founder of USAfricaonline.com, the first African-owned U.S-based newspaper published on the internet, in his first book; he writes movingly from his 1998 reporting from South Africa on Mandela. http://www.mandelaachebechido.com/

  •Dr. Chido Nwangwu, moderator of the Achebe Colloquium (Governance, Security and Peace in Africa) December 7-8, 2012 at Brown University in Rhode Island and former adviser  on Africa business/issues to the Mayor of Houston, is the Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks since 1992, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet, USAfricaonline.com; CLASSmagazine, AchebeBooks.com, the USAfrica-powered e-groups and the largest pictorial events megasite on the African diaspora www.PhotoWorks.TV . He was recently profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans. 

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading

BUSINESS

USAfrica: Biafra agitation, history and Nigeria President Buhari’s disdain for the Igbo. By Arthur Nwankwo

Published

on

Buhari-n-Arthur_Nwankwo-montage_USAfrica

Biafra agitation, history and Nigeria President Buhari’s disdain for the Igbo.                                                                          By Arthur Agwuncha Nwankwo

THAT Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has deep-seated disdain for the Igbo (Ndigbo) is not in doubt, the kind of hubris that birthed anti-Semitism against the Jews. But history is emphatic on the fact that such ingrained hatred for a group of people almost always comes with huge costs and consequences. That Muhammadu Buhari as a young military officer internalized this anti-Igbo sentiment in the North is not in doubt. That Buhari was part of this plot to exterminate the Igbo race during the civil war is stating the obvious. That the same hatred against Ndigbo is still ingrained in him even till date is glaring. That Buhari is today the president of Nigeria does not retract from the fact that Ndigbo disgusts him. The leopard never changes its colour- no matter the weather.

Special to USAfricaonline.com,  and USAfrica multimedia networks, Houston. Follow USAfrica at Facebook.com/USAfricaChido , Facebook.com/USAfrica247 and Twitter.com/Chido247

You will agree with me that so much has been said and written in recent times concerning Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari’s attitude to the Igbo that further commentary on it may seem like beating a dead horse. On this occasion, I tend to differ; essentially, because it is in presenting the precarious situation of the Igbo in Nigeria especially under this administration before the court of public opinion (both domestic and international) that the truth can be deciphered. This truth is both historical and empirical.

              In the African narrative tradition, the bridging of time and space is a common reality essentially because individuals and groups of people tend to retrieve salient facts from their historical past in other to know where they are coming from; where they are and where they are most likely going to be in future.

              For instance, among the Akan tribe of Ghana, the proverb of “sankofa”,(in Igbo: “cheta nyaa” or remember yesterday) harps on the importance of getting from the past the wisdom and guidance therein that may have been forgotten and which is needed to navigate the present and plan for the future. “Cheta nyaa” is a clarion call to

Muhammadu Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari

remember the lessons of yesterday; to rediscover the Igbo spirit of patriotism; to reawaken the pure, sublime, noble and stoic spirit of our forbears in order to restore and make whole again that which have been severed and fragmented.

              Thus, when the Igbo want to speak to a person, especially a stiff-necked person, the discussion is usually encoded in proverbs. For Ndigbo, proverbs are a form of folklore, which are often used during the exchange of formal and informal conversations, story-telling or stating a point of emphasis. The concise structure and the poetic quality of the Igbo proverbs make it a popular and appealing form of oral literature. Thus, Chinua Achebe’s assertion that in Igbo conversations, ‘proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten’ becomes trite. In Igbo cosmology, the profundity and intensity of Cheta nyaa transcends time and space. In situating our position in Nigeria, Ndigbo are guided by this philosophy.

              It is for this reason that I have chosen to speak to you in proverbs. As our people say, to whom a proverb is spoken to and explained, the dowry paid on his /her mother head amount to a waste. A stubborn fowl always end up in the old woman’s soup pot, goes a popular Igbo proverb.

There is gainsaying the fact that Ndigbo have borne the brunt of the Nigerian tragedy for no other reason than they tend to survive where others have failed. This tendency by Ndigbo to weather the odds and make a success of a seemingly impossible situation has excited the jealousy and hatred of less endowed groups in Nigeria. For nearly half a century,the core part of northern Nigeria have not hidden their intense hatred of Ndigbo and, on the slightest excuse; have physically demonstrated their intention to wipe out the Igbo race. It is a historical fact that even under the colonial rule, several outbreaks of violence occurred in the north with Ndigbo as marked target of destruction. The intentional massacre of Ndigbo in Jos in 1945 is a case in point; and what is even more curious is that the colonial authorities at that time never instituted an inquiry into the gruesome massacre of the Igbo’s.

This orgy of massacre of Ndigbo was played out again in 1953 in Kano. Given the intensity of this renewed wave of wanton destruction of the lives and property of Ndigbo in Kano at that time, the British colonial government ordered an inquiry. The report of that inquiry produced incontestable evidence of intention, deliberation and organization on the part of the authorities of northern Nigeria to exterminate the Igbo.

Given the intense hatred against Ndigbo in the north and the consequent externalization of this hatred by the northern establishment, the Atrocities Tribunal was set up to identify the course of this hatred and document the atrocity against Ndigbo in the north. On page 133-135 of the tribunals report, it was stated that the northern Nigerian authorities along with their collaborators have devised a seven point agenda aimed at wiping out Ndigbo living in the northern region and other part of the country.

In March 1964, during debate in the Northern Regional House of Assembly, the prevailing bitterness of the North against Ndigbo was publicly proclaimed and their physical elimination was officially announced. Contribution from members such as Mallam Bashari Umaru,Megida Lawan, Alhaji Yusuf Bayero, Alhaji Usman Liman (Sarkin Musawa) Alhaji Mustafa ismaila zanna Dujuna (then federal minster of establishment and training)and Alhaji Ibrahim musa Gashash (then minister of land and survey) confirmed a deep seated bitterness and hatred against Ndigbo and hinted on their physical elimination. So the military coup of 1966 and its interpretation as an Igbo coup merely provided the widow for the implementation of the northern agenda for the decimation of Ndigbo in Nigeria.

In the early days of Nigerian civil war, radio broadcast from Kaduna confirmed the foregoing programme. To the glory of God, our people bravely resisted the genocidal pogrom orchestrated by the Nigerian establishment and today we are still in the mortal battle to save our skins from death.

I recall that during the war, Radio Nigeria based in Lagos would always broadcast a war song in Hausa (before and after news broadcast), which translate thus: “let us go and crush them! We will pillage their property; ravish their womenfolk, murder their men folk and complete what we started in 1966”. This was the philosophy with which Nigeria prosecuted the war against Ndigbo. For instance, Ganiyu Sodeinde was of the Nigerian army attached to the Nigerian army weapon training depot. His service number is NA/38611. In one of his entries in his war diary, he told his men that it may be difficult to subjugate Ndigbo in the war but even if such prospect was feasible in the war, his fear was that another generation of Ndigbo would wake up one day and pick up the struggle. To forestall that kind of situation, he ordered his men to kill any Igbo person they saw.

That Muhammadu Buhari as a young military officer internalized this anti-Igbo sentiment in the North is not in doubt. That Buhari was part of this plot to exterminate the Igbo race during the civil war is stating the obvious. That that hatred against Ndigbo is still ingrained in him even till date is glaring. That Buhari is today the president of Nigeria does not retract from the fact that Ndigbo disgusts him. The leopard never changes its colour no matter the weather.

If the Igbo view Buhari with suspicion, it is because they are aware that he played an active part in the genocidal atrocities committed against them during the war. For instance it is on record that he was the person who led the federal military campaigns against Ndigbo at Nsukka, Abagana ,Nkpor,Abakaliki and Ogoja. Under his instructions, soldiers under his command touched all the villages around which were occupied by harmless, starved and starving Igbo children, women and the sickly. at the point of the massacre, the soldiers began to jubilate; chanting “Nnewi is next”.

If the Igbo view Buhari presidency with reservation, or accused it of implementing an Hausa-Fulani agenda, it is because they are not unaware of the mindset of many of the core northern heavy weights that masterminded the emergency of Buhari. Just listen to Aliyu Gwarzo’s comments in 2014:

“When I say that the presidency most come to the north next year, I am referring to the Hausa-Fulani core north and not any northern Christian or Muslim minority tribe. The Christians in the north…and all the others are nothing; and the Muslim minorities in the north know that when we are talking about leadership in the north and in Nigeria, Allah has given it to us, the Hausa –Fulani. They can grumble moan and groan as much as they want but each time they go into their bedroom to meet there wives and each time they get on their prayer mat to begin their prayer, it is we the Fulani they think of, that they fear, that they bow to and that they pray for. Some of them are even ready to give us their wives and daughters for one night sport and pleasure. They owe us everything. This is because we gave them Islam through the great jihad waged by Sheik Usman Dan Fodio. We also capture Ilorin, killed their local king and installed our Fulani Emir. We took that ancient town from the Yoruba and their filthy pagan gods. We liberated all these places and this entire people by imposing Islam on them by force. It was either the Koran or the sword and most of them chose the Koran. In return for the good works of our forefathers,  Allah, through the British, gave us Nigeria to rule and to do as we please. Since 1960 we have been doing that and we intend to continue”. It is this kind of mindset that creates anarchy; breeds hate and births Bloodshed.

In 2014, when Buhari indicated his interest to contest for the presidency again, he was asked how he hoped to woo Igbo voters considering his role during the war. Fielding the question on BBC Hausa service monitored in Kaduna, he noted that “the Igbo’s hate him for what happened during the Biafra war’. He went further to say, “I don’t have any regret, and at such do not owe any apology to them, in fact if there is a repeat of the civil war again, I will kill more Igbo’s to save the country”.

It is indeed a shame that some of our leaders could speak in this manner. But the truth is that Nigeria cannot be saved merely by killing of Ndigbo. And that brings me to the question askd by Buhari during his recent media chat on Wednesday, December 30, 2015: “What does the Igbo want?” Whereas the present federal government may close its eyes to the plight of Ndigbo in Nigeria and ask such sarcastic or rather sardonic questions, it does not diminish the truth that Ndigbo have made enormous sacrifices for the good and development of this country.

For anybody and especially president Buhari to ask such rhetorical question begs the issue. What do the Igbo want? I think the answer is fairly straight forward! We want justice. We want equity. We want fairness. We want inclusion. We want a democratic space that will afford our people the unfettered externalization of their creative ingenuity; where they can feather their industry and where they can be protected from the vermin of genocide occasioned by hatred and religious fundamentalism or bigotry.

Is it not obvious that Nigeria is a complex simultaneous equation; an admixture of water and oil. Among mathematician, there is a formula known as “almighty formula” for solving such complex equations; and those who read chemistry will always tell u that for water and oil to mix there must be an emulsifying agent. Nigeria’s “almighty formula” or emulsifying agent does not lie in the massacre of Ndigbo; neither does it lie in voicing or implementing primordial streams of bitterness and hatred against Ndigbo. It lies on a round table dialogue.

Boko Haram, for instance is not a chance occurrence; it is rather a signification of the determination of the fundamentalist Islamic north for the creation of a political space that will guarantee them unfettered implementation of sharia and a pure Islamic state. Thus if the youths in Niger-Delta suddenly rise up in arms  against the Nigerian state, it is because they desire an equitable, just and fair Nigerian society where they would reap the benefit of the resources domiciled in their area. If the Yoruba nation, under the aegis of OPC or Afenifere desires an Oduduwa republic it is because they are minded to know that the events of June 12 signify a lopsided federation where one group is intent on lording it over others. if the Berom in Plateau are constantly engaged in fratricidal strife against the Hausa community in Jos, it is because the Nigerian federation is deficit on the questions of citizenship and indigeneity. Hence if MASSOB or the Zionist movement of Biafra or the independent people of Biafra (IPOB) embark on peaceful protest to ask for a renegotiated Nigeria, they are only echoing the sentiments of the north, west and south. They are not derailing in anyway; and government should listen to their demand. While many Biafra agitators may be slaughtered in cold blood by the Nigerian state, the spirit of Biafra will not die basically because the contradictions that spawn Boko Haram, militancy and ethnic nationalism are as incandescent and virulent as ever. Therefore Ndigbo cannot be made the scapegoat of the Nigerian conundrum. Ndigbo lives!

This is why I have always maintained that Nigerian’s only safety valve lies in a roundtable discussion to fashion out a frame work for the continued existence of Nigeria as a corporate entity. The best we have gotten close to the Republican constitution of 1963 was the outcome of the 2005 National Political Reform Conference and the last one convoked by formal president Jonathan. What Buhari owes Nigeria is the political will to implement the recommendations of those constitutional conferences. Any other way leads to doom and self destruction. And, I dare to ask: do we have any other escape route to this impending implosion? I doubt!                                                                               •Dr. Nwankwo, the Chancellor of the Eastern Mandate Union and Chairman of Fourth Dimension publishing corporation, is the author of several books, political scientist and human rights defender. 

————– 

@Chido247 


Boko Haram: SkyNews London interview wt USAfrica Publisher Dr. Chido Nwangwu on BOKO HARAM vs BUHARI (Nigeria’s President inaugurated May 29, 2015). Interview on May 30 (Houston) May 31 (London) 2015

————–

VIDEO #CNN special #CHIBOK Girls n #BokoHaram Live intvw wt the Founder of USAfrica multimedia and public POLICY networks Chido Nwangwu. CNN anchors John Berman n Michaela Pereira.  

Mandela-n-Achebe-by-Chido-book-frontcover-Lrs and friendship HOLD lessons for humanity and Africans, USAfrica Founder Chido Nwangwu takes a measure of their works and CONSEQUENCE to write that Mandela and Achebe have left “footprints of greatness.”
He chronicles, movingly, his 1998 reporting from the Robben Island jail room in South Africa where Mandela was held for decades through his 20 years of being CLOSE to Achebe. He moderated the 2012 Achebe Colloquium at Brown UNIVERSITY in Providence, Rhode Island.”I’ll forever remember having walked inside and peeped through that HISTORIC Mandela jail cell (where he was held for most of his 27 years in unjust imprisonment) at the dreaded Robben Island, on March 27, 1998, alongside then Editor-in-chief of TIME magazine and later news chief EXECUTIVE of the CNN, Walter Isaacson (and others) when PRESIDENT BILL Clinton made his first official trip to South Africa and CAME to Robben Island. Come to this island of scourge and you will understand, in part, the simple greatness and towering grace of Nelson Mandela”, notes  Chido Nwangwu, award-winning writer, multimedia 
specialist and founder of USAfricaonline.com, the first African-owned U.S-based newspaper published on the INTERNET, in his first book; he writes movingly from his 1998 reporting from South Africa on Mandela. http://www.mandelaachebechido.com/

  •Dr. Chido Nwangwu, moderator of the Achebe Colloquium (GOVERNANCESECURITY, and PEACE in Africa) December 7-8, 2012 at Brown UNIVERSITY in Rhode Island and former ADVISER on Africa business/issues to the Mayor of Houston, is the Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks since 1992, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the INTERNET USAfricaonline.com; CLASSmagazine, AchebeBooks.com, the USAfrica-powered e-groups of AfricanChristians, Nigeria360 and the largest pictorial events megasite on the African diaspora www.PhotoWorks.TV . He was recently profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans.   E-MAIL: Chido247@Gmail.com

 

Facebook Comments
Continue Reading

opinion

Opinion: What happened to Nigeria’s promise?

Published

on



Facebook Comments
Continue Reading

AFRICA

Opinion: Africa Rising? Not for millions in poverty

Published

on



Facebook Comments
Continue Reading
Advertisement

USAfricaTV

Twitter Live

THE BOOK

Trending

error: Content is protected !!
%d bloggers like this: