Image: The author, John Okiyi Kalu
There are some facts you shouldn’t bother to deny or defend because doing so is wrong and cast you in bad light as a person.
1. There was a country called Biafra.
2. Every Igbo man belonged to that country called Biafra.
3. Every Igbo man who was part of Biafra was forced back to Nigeria against his/her preferred option of remaining a Biafran.
4. It is not every Igbo who knows he was a Biafran wishes to return to Biafra at this time.
5. Successive Nigerian Governments are afraid of hearing about Biafra because they know that Nigeria failed to re integrate Biafrans and have indeed focused policies and actions to hurt Nigerians from former Biafra.
6. If there is full re integration, equity and fairness in Nigeria most people of former Biafra Republic will rather remain within Nigeria.
7. Agitation for self-determination is not criminalized in any Western country of the world but is deemed treasonable only among under developed countries that are unable to build inclusive systems that guarantee equal rights to all citizens.
8. Any Igbo man who denies having Biafran roots is a fraud and should be handled with extreme caution.
I. The key to ending periodic agitation for the sovereign state of Biafra is in the hands of all Nigerian leaders: treat all citizens equally and remove all discriminatory policies of any sort.
Then you will see the energies of agitators for Biafra, Arewa, Oduduwa and Ijaw Republics channeled towards a common goal of national development. Then it will not be necessary to waste resources on nation building because the Nigerian nation will evolve naturally and excel.
II. Ball is in our court and we can seize this moment to stop living in denial and pretending that all is well because some of us pretend to be “nationalists” or “detribalized”.
Nobody is “detribalized” in Nigeria because we all come from one tribe or the other. What is wrong is the negative employment of tribal sentiments to deny others of their rights, not the fact of our coming from different tribes.
III. Nigeria is still a Federal Republic made up of federating units (tribes or states) and you cannot pretend to love Nigeria more than you love the unit that qualified you to be a Nigerian. Every one of us qualified to be Nigerians courtesy of the fact that we come from one of the federating units.
IV. A good Igbo, Hausa, Fulani or Ijaw is a good Nigerian because Nigeria does not exist in a cloud but is rather made up of all the tribes that make up the country. You cannot be a bad Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa and claim to be a good Nigerian. That’s misguided thinking.
V. Please don’t tell me to support or condemn agitators who are not satisfied with our union. Find a way to satisfy all Nigerians and you won’t need to look for who is an Oduduwa or Biafra agitator. It is really as simple as that to me.
Ball is in our court as individuals and Government.
Onye mara asu ya suo na ikwe, onye na amaghi asu ya suo na apata. E no concern me, either way, because I have never seen a lizard at the salon barbing its hair.
John Okiyi Kalu