WEDNESDAY COLUMN BY USSIJU MEDANER
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It is pathetic right now; the politics, sentiments and emotion laden reactions we bring to the factors that are redesigning the unity and sanctity of Nigeria. For political reasons that benefit the country in no way, we crucified the President and the Federal Government ban on Twitter, without any bother to analyse the content – and also the context – of the allegation against the social media giant in the country and elsewhere. How on earth could Nnamdi Kanu freely express his separatist agenda and unpalatable media instigations against the Nigeria security outfits unabatedly on the same media and Twitter management was never aware, enough to delete them – not even for once – until the Nigerian government’s action against the company. The double play, besides the show of disrespect to the government of Nigeria, should be the cause for worry for the citizens but for what political alignments and hatred for the sitting President have done to our oneness and prioritisation of the integrity of the nation above all other considerations.
It is still unbelievable how the Nnamdi Kanu unleashes venom on the country via twitter on a daily basis, setting the entire region of Southeast aflame, under the dictate of the same man; government properties, institutions, including police formations have been under unprecedented attacks. Twitter accommodates all the falsehoods that instigate these attacks on that particular region of the country; internally, resting on sworn hatred for the president and willingness to assume political relevance by all means, yet PDP, the main opposition, Ohaneze, Afenifere, NBA keep mum on one side, condoning and tacitly enabling the villains against the country on the other.
Eventually, the Igbos would be the loser in the game they are orchestrating without constraints now. Without denial, there are issues and difficulties across all the regions, tribes and people of Nigeria, without exception. The citizens overtime have been divided into the haves and the have-nots, with the population of the latter evenly spread across the country – without bias. The Yoruba population of poverty stricken Nigerians have been stricken by the imbalances of wealth distribution of the country as much as their counterparts from the north and the east alike. The hunger and the discriminations are equally felt without borders. All Nigerians, except the very few who benefit from the skewed distribution of the wealth of the nation and the distribution of power, are together in their desire for a redesigned and rejuvenated country that would factor in equality for all its citizens regardless of location, language and population.
And it would be a mere propaganda and political lie to submit that the Southeast of the country has actually been shortchanged in the distribution of recognition, wealth and power in the country. The average Igbo man has benefited more than any other in the Nigeria configuration; accepted in every village and every community across the country, thriving commercially, unhindered in all corners of Nigeria. In today’s Nigeria, Igbo men are landlords and employers of labour in relatively more states outside the Southeast than they are in their home communities. The irony of the argument is that Biafra, as conceived, annexes Bayelsa State in their map and yet not to have seen and accepted the Goodluck Jonathan presidency as their own.
However, the struggle for the emancipation must have rule and boundaries that must not be crossed. And that boundary is what the people of the eastern Nigerian are crossing now. I would state emphatically that the Boko Haram attacks on the country are totally on a different level from what is currently happening in the Southeastern states of the country. Boko Haram is an armed insurrection against the country by indoctrinated religious fanatics. Boko Haram is not a Northern agenda against the country and does not enjoy the support of northerners who have far more victims of the sect. On the other hand, the attacks in the East has been traced to the operations of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, a militant arm of the group called the Easter Security Network, ESN and the Unknown Gun Men, UGM, all of which do not only have roots in the Biafra agitation but are openly claimed by both the leader of IPOB and a huge section of the people of the East, inclusive of leaders and statesmen who should be speaking up against the monster the region is raising.
The moment Nnamdi Kanu openly declare war on the country by arming his IPOB foot soldiers to begin attacks on states’ infrastructures, people and sanctity of the nation, without inside opposition from the people of the East, a new phase of existence began for both the country and the people of the East. Whether we have a reenactment of the 1967 civil war or not would not be the discussion and the import of what is playing out now; but rather how the reorganisation and rearrangement of trust and interrelationships among the federating units will leave the various units in the country and the center when all these are over. While the methods chosen by Kanu and his IPOB believers are never one to deliver the breakaway of the region as planned by the group, it has all the capability to lead to a frontal faceoff between the Nigeria Army and the militant sects, that may lead to yet another mass carnage in the region, against the wish of all Nigerians but inescapable if things were to continue the way they are now.
Where would these leave the Igbo man? That is the question Kanu and all his enablers across the country failed to answer before embarking on the mad spree he is undertaking now. The Igbo is a nation that has outgrown its localised landmass of the Southeast. Currently, while the entire landmass of the Southeast is far less than Niger state in the middle belt, for instance, the real concern is the fact that the population of easterners in Kano alone is likely more than the entire population back at home in Abia state. Immovable Interests and investment of the Igbo people are spread across states in the West, North, and virtually every village and community in the country. And yet, the thought of forcing these millions back to the landlocked five mini states is what preoccupied the unschooled minds of the IPOB sympathisers.
When elements from the Southeast, under whatever nomenclature, gruesomely murdered Ahmed Gulak days ago, a time bomb was set, not just for the Southeast but the entire country. Right now, we don’t know exactly what the breaking point would be for the North, but if we are going to visit history, the probability of reprisals is higher by the day, and we don’t know exactly what provocation would not be overlooked. The same week, a trailer load of onion from the North was hijacked in Imo State, without any statement from leaders from the state or the region at large, only for the Ohaneze to accuse the North’s decision to stop movement of onions to the region as a part of a bigger plan to starve the region in the manner of what reportedly transpired in the civil war – starvation of the region. Also to be mentioned was a viral video of a trailer set ablaze in Anambra and in the trailer were cows seen struggling in agony. This is unbecoming and dastardly to say the least as the target of attacks are assets and properties of members from the other region who go about their legitimate endeavours.
The insensitivity of Ohaneze, as it may appear, portends a bad omen for the region. By choosing to stay mum over incessant attacks on government interests and people of the region in the manner that have been recorded lately, the leaders of the region have sent clear message to all of us that they are in total support of the operation of IPOB and the targeted attacks on government institutions and facilities in the region. The leaders have indirectly declared they are in support of an uprising against the country. Though, this is not surprising; they orchestrated the escape of Nnamdi Kanu out of the country after arranging his bail condition.
GOD BLESS THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA!