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There is no denying that there is a spectre haunting the Southeastern region of Nigeria and this spectre of disintegration. At no time has the presence of this spectre been so palpably felt than in the last three months.
Every day, the front pages of Nigeria’s newspapers are filled with reports of abductions, kidnappings for ransom, political assassinations, and so on and a majority of these incidents are jam-packed in the Southeastern region of Nigeria. Rather than design and promulgate policies to arrest the deterioration, the President of unfortunate Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari and his clueless, nepotistic aides have been busy searching for people and groups to blame which makes it clear to any objective observer that the president has lost control of the country and the presidency are no better off than moronic apes.
The IPOB and the ESN have been at the forefront of majority of these atrocities and rather than find ways to curtail their activities, the President and the Federal Government have resorted to punishing the Igbos and other indigenes of the Southeatsern region simply because this is where their activities are spanned from. In other words, they are trying to cut off the whole arm simply because of a sore on one finger.
Biafra was an idea, a dream, founded on a shared sense of loss, grief and victimhood by the people of the Southeastern region and some parts of the South-South regions too. Of all the groups alleged to be threatening Nigeria at the moment, none appears to be causing as much concern to the current administration as the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a radical breakaway faction of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) – an openly secessionist movement whose aim is to ‘restore the independent state of Biafra’ in the mainly Igbo-speaking Southeast region.
IPOB is not the only secessionist movement in Nigeria; there is also one in the west – the Oodua Republic movement. Technically, Boko Haram, the extremist Islamic group that has terrorised the northeastern part of Nigeria for more than a decade with aims to create an Islamic State in the territory of Nigeria, is another secessionist group. But none vexes the Nigerian government and some elements in northern Nigeria like IPOB and the Igbo tribe.
For many jobless, disenfranchised jobless Igbo youth, Biafra has become an idea, a dream, an imagined better place than a Nigeria that has shuttered opportunities for them. Unfortunately, Nigerian authorities and Igbo leaders have failed to recognise the new meaning of Biafra as an idea, an aspiration, similar in emotive power as the ‘next year in Jerusalem’ manta was and remains for Jews all over the world.
The agitation for Biafra as the most visible expression of the endless but legitimate complaints by Igbo of marginalisation by Nigeria has created what can be described as the ‘cankerworm that beguiles the Igbos’.
Some commentators have argued that this particular cankerworm was created by the Igbos themselves, a parasite that Igbos inflicted on themselves by staging the first coup d’état in 1966 and then trying to secede from the federation, leading the country to wage war against them. According to these commentators, the Igbo Problem dates back to January 1966 and the civil war that followed.
This could be true in some way. However, it would worthwhile to note that there were pogroms against Ndigbo way before Nigeria became an independent country.
No one will win the argument about which ethnic group is accountable or responsible for the many difficulties of Nigeria and its failure thus far to be a successful country. A debate about the incompetence of the current federal government has quickly degenerated to one of mutual hurling of insults across ethnic lines. Generally, all ethnic groups are affected by the poor state of governance in Nigeria today and are protesting. The most intriguing thing is the discriminatory, nepotistic attitude of the federal government to particular protests and other threats to the integrity of the country. This can be illustrated vividly when the killings by Fulani herdsmen appears to be tolerable but protests by IPOB about the status (and conditions) of Ndigbo in Nigeria are without hesitation classified as a threat of the highest level to national security by the current administration.
The agitation in the Southeastern is now presented by some sections of the country as worse than the longstanding brutal, extremist Islamic insurgency in the North-east, as well as the unbridled banditry and the modern-day inter-tribal wars in southern Kaduna and Plateau State. Some Igbo ‘leaders’ and other sycophants of the contraption called the Nigerian Government have also condemned IPOB and its paramilitary wing – Eastern Security Network (ESN), much more vehemently and unreservedly than many northern Nigeria leaders have condemned Boko Haram in ten years.
The truth is that Nigeria is not working for most Nigerians. Many of the youths, whether Igbo, Yoruba, Izon, or Tivi, do not see any future in the country. Those who have the resources are already leaving the country in droves and others are struggling to find a way to escape the dungeon called Nigeria.
There has to be a stop to this under-performance. If something is not working, it is futile to continue to expend precious and scarce time and resources on it. It is clear that President Muhammadu Buhari and his useless government have an open vendetta against the Igbos but this should not be a reason why they would be singled out to be dealt with by the Federal Government just to teach other tribes a bitter lesson. There are better ways that the IPOB can be dealt with and this entails the use of dialogue, thorough investigations and proper arrests. Suffocating an entire tribe because of a few rotten eggs would only make things worse for the country.
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