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The Conundrum In Igboland: How Did We Get Here And What Is The Way Forward? - Politics - Nairaland

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The Conundrum In Igboland: How Did We Get Here And What Is The Way Forward? by Nellyvin(m): 9:11am On Oct 07, 2021
By Aluu Vincent

The present situation in the South East, the DOT Nation and land of my birth is reminiscence of the civil war between 1967 and 1970. It is encapsulated in the words of the late China Achebe in things Fall Apart that, “The falcon can no longer bear the falconer, things fall apart, the centre cannot hold. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the earth” The Igbos are busy killing themselves and destroying their economy to protest what others are doing against us. In 1967 it was on record that leaders of good conscience pleaded with the late Ojukwu not to declare Biafra, to avoid war. He called it bluff and went on to declare Biafra. The result was that we lost 3 million people and all our wealth, including our leadership position in Nigeria, our youths, our girls, our culture and heritage were in shamble. It is also on record that Ojukwu went into exile. Igbos were defeated, humiliated and made second class citizens. Their properties seized and declared as abandoned. All their monies were seized and their children abused and brutalized. In humiliation and humility, they started with nothing and from nowhere to rebuild themselves to a thriving entrepreneurially oriented zone and centre of business and manufacturing in Nigeria.

All these are being wished away following the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. What started as a child’s play is gradually metamorphosing into a full-blown war just like we are having it in parts of the North. The Zone that was known for peace, hospitality and industry has become a fertile ground for arson, killing, destruction of businesses and government properties. Chief Ahmed Gulak was killed on the streets of Owerri, the Imo state Capital; Dr. Chike Akunyili, husband to Nigeria’s icon the late Prof Dora, was gruesomely murdered in his state, Anambra, while receiving a post humous award for the late Wife. There has been other senseless killings and destructions going on unabated and no one has been arrested. Need I mention the sit at home order that has become the norm? There seem to be absence of law and order and the cost of the sit at home is enormous. The question to ask is why and how did we get to this point and who is responsible for all these?

ORIGIN
The conundrum playing out in the South East is a direct result of the inability of the federal government to implement the no victor no vanquished policy of the civil war. A section of the Igbos are protesting perceived injustice, marginalization, disrespect for rule of law, executive recklessness and highhandedness, greed for power by South East Leaders and lack of inclusiveness. All these contributed to the outbreak of the civil war in the late 1960s and are yet to be addressed. The war was won and lost. While surrendering, Gen. Philip Effiong who deputized Ojukwu in the now defunct Republic of Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 to 1970, has said that Nigeria should Treat the surrendering Biafrans well or risk their children rising again”. Today undoubtedly his prophetic postulation has come to stay in Nigeria. “I don’t think we learnt the lessons we were supposed to learn about the war,” says Philip Effiong II, the son of Major General Philip Efiong. “The war was a result of so many things including, ethnic conflict, intolerance, abuse of power and a lack of respect for the democratic process. These things are still happening today. The official policy of “reconstruction, rehabilitation and reintegration” and no victor no vanquished are also widely disputed by many Igbos today. No one was ever held responsible for the pogroms that preceded the war and there have been no apologies neither has there been attempts by the Federal government to rebuild the South East. Some of the actors of the war are superintending over Nigeria today and are still reminding the Igbos that they will teach them in the language they will understand. There was no Truth and Reconciliation-type mechanism to process the brutality of the war; there isn’t even a national museum or monument. In addition, Igbos talk about being both economically and politically marginalised in modern Nigeria and no one seem to listen to them or call them for a dialogue. It is with these in mind that a new agitation for Biafra was started again by MASSOB, which is now followed by IPOB.

IPOB under Mazi Nnamdi Kanu began holding processions, declaring sit at home in a peaceful manner and championing for a nation of theirs since they are not fairly treated in Nigeria. Government did not find it funny. It declared war on IPOB, killed unarmed youths agitating for better life. This led to the arrest of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who was later granted bail. Few days to his appearing in court, the Military stuck; desecrated his father’s compound, killed scores of his followers and in the process, his parents died. Kanu escaped for his life. Federal government went on to proscribe IPOB and later got Mazi Kanu rearrested.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RESPONSE
The manner in which a matter is resolved is as good as the matter itself. One fundamental duty of government is to safeguard the lives of its citizens. This is what gives government moral anchor. Government seems to have failed in this regard. Underneath the issue of insecurity in the South East and elsewhere are unemployment, injustice, marginalization. Instead of addressing these issues as raised by IPOB, government resorted to intimidation, harassment and militarization of the zone. Instead of calling to know what the problems are and how solutions could be achieved, the Nigerian government chose to military might and bullets on unarmed youths. While previous governments did little or nothing to fix the South East, the present government of President Buhari has not helped matters. His utterances have fueled the crisis the more.

President Buhari during an interview with Arise TV said ‘” IPOB is just like a dot in a circle. Even if they want to exit, they will have no access to anywhere. And the way they are spread all over the country, having businesses and property, I don’t think IPOB knows what they are talking about. In any case, we say we’ll talk to them in the language that they understand. We’ll organise the police and the military to pursue them.” President Buhari’s statement, according to analysts, showed clearly that the President does not understand that Igbo Ethnic bloc is different from the secessionist group known as the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB. This has not gone down well with the Igbos who have criticized the government of being insensitive to the situation on ground. Whose father is it that will support one of his kids against the others. Yet the President is seen as always supporting Boko Haram, herdsmen and bandit activities up North. He has never condemned their activities in public. While IPOB was proscribed, Boko Haram members were provided with amnesty and empowerment. Killer herdsmen were provided state cover to snatch lands from indigenes while banditry has become official business. To add salt to injury, government is threatening a state of emergency in Anambra with an election less than one month away. Is there a plan to overrun the East whereas Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and Plateau have more security concerns with telecommunications completely shut down and schools not in session?

SOUTH EAST LEADERS RESPONSE
Leaders of the South East have failed woefully in ensuring peace in the zone. The governors have also failed in their duties to secure lives, ensure development and prosperity and guarantee the greatest good for the greatest number of people. They have little control over the people anymore having failed to protect their interests. While the crises raged on, no strong representation was done to the federal government. We have the South East Governors Forum, the South East Caucus in the National Assembly and Ohaneze Ndigbo but they all speak in discordant tunes. Although they made efforts to broker a truce with Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the effort was not effective. The Governors have also failed to develop their zones. Apart from Governor of Ebonyi State, other governors are found wanting. They have not created the congenial environment for the youths to better their lives. They have contributed to the injustice and marginalization of the zone. It is only recently that they have spoken with one voice against the activities of IPOB and is now calling for calm and dialogue as well as setting up Ebube Agu, a security outfit. The South East Caucus in the National Assembly led by Senator Ike Ekweremmadu has also been visible of recent but it seems the efforts are coming rather late. Have you now wondered why the IPOB will issue sit at home order and the people obey but won’t obey instructions from the leaders? The leadership has lost credibility and are carried away by the siren and appurtenances of office.

NNAMDI KANU MADNESS
Nature abhors vacuum. The lacuna created by seeming absence of leadership in Igboland, marginalization and injustice gave birth to Nnamdi Kanu. He has built a cult followership for himself; become a hero and freedom fighter promising his people that Biafra Nation will be achieved. While not against the agitations of IPOB, everything seems to be wrong with the modus operandi. Nobody is an island unto himself. You cannot get Biafra without the consent of the people. Mazi Kanu has refused to sit with the leaders of the South East. He calls them all sort of names and see them as his enemies. He forgets that he is a non-state actor and needs state actors to achieve his aim. He is busy commanding the youths to destroy government buildings, kill security forces, and take up arms against constituted authorities. Yet he himself was not even in Nigeria to lead the fight from the front. He was in the United Kingdom dishing out orders and the gullible youths obey without asking questions. Is that how to fight for freedom of their people? Now the youths have turned their anger and barrel of the gun against the very people they claim to be fighting for. Does freedom fighting involve intimidating, harassing and killing your own blood, destroying their properties and means of livelihood? This is madness, irresponsibility, insurrection that deserves the condemnation of all right-thinking South Easterners. The perpetrators deserve a spot at Kirikiri prison.

CONSEQUENCES OF THE CONUNDRUM
There are severe consequences of the present imbroglio going on in the South East. Apart from the fact that the zone is already marginalized, unjustly treated, and has near collapse of government presence, it is approaching a Hobbesian where life has become short, brutish and anarchy reigns supreme. It is a sad reminder of the consequences the Igbos went through during the Civil War. Fear and insecurity have taken over the entire South East. Conducting elections in Anambra and in the near future seems a tall dream which may lead to a constitutional crisis. The economy of the zone is nosediving due to constant orders to sit at home by IPOB. It is estimated that more than 100 billion naira have so far been lost by various individuals and businesses due to the sit at home order while several other billions are lost due to destructions and investors presently avoid South East. Lives of innocent citizens are daily being wasted by both security forces and IPOB. Need I mention the fact the marginalization and injustice will continue.

THE WAY FORWARD
In any crisis situation, the need for dialogue, negotiation and compromise cannot be over emphasized. Methinks it is time the federal government came down from its high horse and call the leaders of IPOB and South East to a sincere round table. You cannot hold Mazi Kanu in DSS custody and expect his followers not to react. Kanu and his followers in prison custody should be unconditionally released to the leaders of the South East while a political solution is modelled out. Late President Yardua applied the carrot and the stick approach in the Niger Delta and it worked. President Buhari should follow suit. This will douse the tension and stop the killings. Militarising the East does no good. Also, Mr. Presidents should mind his utterances henceforth. The genocide in Rwanda was fueled by utterances of the leaders. Mr. President cannot be preaching peace when it comes to matters concerning Boko Haram, Killer Herdsmen and Bandits but threatens fire and brimstone when it concerns IPOB. This is double standard of the highest order. If Boko Haram, Killer Herdsmen and Bandits are granted amnesty and empowered with tax payers’ money, IPOB deserves same or better treatment. The South East Development Commission should be established same way the Niger Delta Development Commission and North East Development Commission were set up to address needs of the affected zone. Since after the war, nothing has been done to assuage the feelings of the Igbos who still the brunt of the war. It is important for us to provide a space for conversation and reflection with the intention of creating a productive space for mutual understanding. The official policy of “reconstruction, rehabilitation and reintegration” should be reenacted, apologies rendered and compensation provided where necessary. Truth and Reconciliation-type mechanism to process the brutality of the war; should be established while the much talked about marginalisation and injustice should be addressed. Mazi Nnamdi Kanu should call his followers to order by asking them to stop these senseless killings and wanton destruction. Why will you order the killing of those you claim to be fighting for? For the political jobbers and choppers of Igbo extraction who are looking the other way, your days of reckoning are fast approaching. You shall all pay for your sins one after the other unless you retrace your steps and tow the path of peace, development and prosperity for the people of South East. Posterity will judge you all if you do not rise to defend the course of Ndigbo. Like the APGA motto says, “Be your Brother’s Keeper”

Aluu Vincent PhD (In View), public affairs analysts and social commentator is the Publisher of Naija Eye Witness News
Re: The Conundrum In Igboland: How Did We Get Here And What Is The Way Forward? by Segzy22: 9:11am On Oct 07, 2021
No way forward my broda until you people stop hating and wailing ASAP

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Re: The Conundrum In Igboland: How Did We Get Here And What Is The Way Forward? by OneTemplate: 9:14am On Oct 07, 2021
Segzy22:
No way forward my broda until you people stop hating and wailing ASAP

Precisely. When hate for others and expansionist covetousness of the asset of others is the only commodity you are selling, and have always sold historically, then you must expect them to be wary and disdainful of you.

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Re: The Conundrum In Igboland: How Did We Get Here And What Is The Way Forward? by Ladumaa: 9:17am On Oct 07, 2021
Ask umahi
Re: The Conundrum In Igboland: How Did We Get Here And What Is The Way Forward? by proeast(m): 9:20am On Oct 07, 2021
It's all a storm in a tea cup. Some people in authority brought in fake anarchy hoping to cash out from it but now it has failed, they will get tired eventually and leave Igboland.
Re: The Conundrum In Igboland: How Did We Get Here And What Is The Way Forward? by Sufferingboy(f): 6:59am On Oct 08, 2021
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