Friday, October 21, 2016

Opinion: Who is killing Biafra?

Editor’s note:Since the arrest of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu, pro-Biafrans hold regular marches across south eastern Nigeria calling for independence and the release of their leader.Emeka Asinugoin this piece for the Daily Postshares his views on the issues supposing who is killing the Biafra.Biafra supportersAbout a year ago, I wrote an article titled “Biafra is a Challenge, not a Solution”. In that article which was published in my regular columns in the 28 November 2015 edition of Modern Ghana and The Nigerian Voice newspapers, I partly touched on the reason why the Igbo seem controversially trapped in a social circle that many of their young ones strongly feel should not be the portion of their generation.Today, I would like to revisit some of the salient points I raised then, in view of recent developments.“If you ask me though,” I wrote in thatarticle, “I think the position of the Igbo in the entire Nigerian experiment is very straight forward. Either they are truly One Nigeria or they are not. And if they are not, they should be allowed to go. That is it.“For the Igbo, being truly One Nigeria implies that ethnic chauvinism has to be expunged from the Nigerian national dictionary. It means that anyNigerian child born in any part of Nigeria has legitimacy of citizenship of his or her place of birth. It means that any citizen of Nigeria can live, work and help develop any village, town or city in Nigeria where he or she feels comfortable to live in, without being constantly reminded by those who claim to own the land that he or she is a foreigner in his or her own country.“But whether the Igbo are coming or going, there are fundamental issues to be addressed.“First and perhaps most importantly is the fact that although the Igbo are the ones now being hounded for agitating for the actualization of the Biafra nation, they are also the ones for whom the unity of Nigeria means so much. They are the ones who have made the most enormous sacrifices to keep Nigeria together. They are the ones who have investedtheir money and skills in the development of Nigerian villages, towns and cities other than their own. These facts are incontrovertible.“Secondly, it is obvious that the creation of Biafra can never be a solution to the problems of Ndigbo inNigeria. At best, it will become their challenge.“There is simply no reason for anyone to convince himself that once Biafra is carved out from Nigeria, all the problems of the Igbo will vanish. Not by any stretch of the imagination!“We Igbo still have a long way to go. The Igbo of today are so far in quality from the Igbo before the Nigeria-Biafra war. Before the civil war, an Igbo was his brother’s keeper. Since the end of the war, an Igbo has become his brother’s betrayer. Before the civil war, the Igbo were united and spoke with one voice. Today, they can no longer speak withone voice. Even in the face of the current agitations for Biafra, the Igbo are not speaking with one voice.“The leadership of Igbo in those dayswhich consisted of Igbo elders was known and unanimously recognised and no one argued about the hierarchy. Today, leaderships of sortshave sprung up from every nook and cranny of Igbo land. Everybody wantsto be seen as an Igbo leader. The Igbo are still dancing the discordant tune of “each man for himself, God for us all!” The Igbo of today will be ready to betray each other because of money. Only a generation ago, it was unheard of. It was taboo.“It is also important to note that the Igbo were highly regarded by most ofthe other Nigerians before the Nigeria-Biafra war. Despite the negative impression of being domineering, which some Northern leaders had about them, most Nigerians trusted them. If an Igbo told another Nigerian “this is black orwhite”, and that Nigerian turned it over and over, it couldn’t be different.The fact that they were trusted by theother Nigerians made the Igbo proud of themselves. It was that pride that bestowed on them their unflinching sense of unity.“However, somehow, the Igbo fell short of expectation during the war. The story was that an Igbo who pretended to be dead would jump to his feet at the sudden clatter of coins. To other Nigerians, that meantthat the Igbo loved money even morethan their lives. Once it had become generally touted and people believed that Ndigbo are greedy and uncompromising with their love for money, political manipulators took advantage of their “weakness” to deal them a devastating and sustained blow from which they are yet to recover. “Nigerian leaders tried to settle the Igbo by giving them the opportunity of becoming the Senate President. It was hoped that from that legislative angle, they would be able to effect the necessary changes that would keep Nigeria firmly united and bring the Igbo back on their feet. But they bungled those opportunities.“Soon after a democratically elected fourth Republic was inaugurated, Evan Enwerem, an Igbo who hailed from Imo State became the first Senate President. He did not hold thepost for long. A Senate committee investigated him for fraud, part of the allegation being that he falsified his name. He was removed from office on 18 November, 1999.“The next President was Dr Chuba Okadigbo, another Igbo from Anambra State. Okadigbo was relieved of that office in less than one year, on 8 August, 2000. He was accused of fraud and misappropriation of funds.“He was succeeded by Pius Anyim, yet another Igbo from Ebonyi State. Anyim presided over the Senate for close to three years, from 2000 to 2003.“In 2003, another Igbo from Abia State, Adolphus Wabara, took over. Wabara was there for two years from 2003 to 2005 and gave way to Ken Nnamani, yet another Igbo from Enugu State.“Nnamani presided for two years from 2005 to 2007 when the Presidency went outside Igbo Land, to the Middle Belt MASSOB“David Mark was elected Senate President on 6 June 2007. He completed his tenure of four years and was re-elected in April 2011 for another four-year term. The Igbo had to make do with second positions as Deputy Senate President and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives because they could not hold their ground.“All this shows that Ndigbo need to look themselves up inwardly. They need to address their own peculiar problems. They need to ask themselves pertinent questions. They must recognize that they are soimportant in the economic stability ofthe country that many Nigerians would not want to lose them.”

1 comment:

  1. Pls drop your comments so that we can know how you feel




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