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I fear going to Biafra – by Prince Charles Dickson

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A coconut shell full of water is an ocean to an ant.

The Indigenous People of Biafra have retained lawyer Prof. Dr. Göran Sluiter [pictured above] to file a complaint against Nigerian President Buhari before the International Criminal Court. He has been instructed to file a criminal complaint against Nigerian President Buhari before the International Criminal Court (ICC), on account of crimes against humanity. That was exactly how ‎Elomba.com, an online news forum put it, last week.

In the mainstream media, interestingly everyday provided fresh news item, either on Biafra as a subject or affiliates, such as the Indigenous People of Biafra, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra. Really if it was not Nnamdi Kanu, in the news, it was Chief Ralph Uwazurike. A case of those for, and those against, interestingly also divided amongst the Igbos themselves.

In most states of the southeast, agitations continue, whether forced or willingly, grudgingly one must agree there seems to be a huge increase in followership for the “cause”. Since the jungle Radio Biafra debuted it is obvious that the Nigerian state has remained at loss on how exactly to deal with the Biafran debacle.

Just a quick glide into history would show that what many think started out as the occasional security clashes between a group of idle minds may soon if not handled with tact and diplomacy become another BH, and for many a student of political history it is so easy to see the trend in comparison to the Niger Delta militants, but this may turn out worse.

The Biafra ‘struggle’ needs to handled, and trust me, it cannot be suppressed in the manner it is being handled, it cannot be waved off by the hands, current strong arm tactics will not work, denying that there is no followership, only reminds one of the first handful members of Yusuf Mohammed. And thinking that the entire drama is symptomic of an episodic ailment may be wrong.

Let me share a piece from the reflective lecture of Maduabuchi Dukor, speaking on Ndigbo: Challenges of youth empowerment.

Philosophically speaking, we recognize that the southeast or Ndigbo is an emerging society, developing society in search of identity in a multi-racial Nigeria state and in the world. This “identity” question is not only omnibus but also a logical challenge because you an Igbo or you are not an Igbo. In this wise it is difficult for an Igbo to deny that he or she is an Igbo because doing so would amount to a contradiction. Identity does not brook any contradiction in the logical sense of the concept. 

Again the fact that it is existential and encompasses a whole personality presupposes that it is defined by the history, culture, economics, politics and education of the people which again logically entails that the challenges of youth empowerment among Ndigbo are the challenges of history, culture, economics, politics, leadership and education.

In the above regard, has the Biafra question been answered…who are the Biafrans, where is Biafra…it is a challenge of history, culture, economics, politics, leadership and education.

Maduabuchi Dukor speaking further “The youth question since after the defunct Biafran and Nigerian war is an unfortunate historically necessitated experience that has left Ndigbo like a rudderless both on Nigeria, Africa and the world. The traumas, alienation, economic, subjugation, discrimination, political marginalization and the consequent psychological dislocation of Ndigbo by successive Nigerian governments until the dawn of the second republic is worse than colour dissemination in United States now and before.

In what Professor Mercy Anagbogu of the Department of Guidance and Counseling, Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka, Nigeria, captured in the metaphor of zero empowerment, the Igbo youth is in “a black box”, a state of mental, psychological tabula-rasa and moral, religious, educational economic degeneration and alienation.

The historical phenomenon of “black box”, state of doldrums and darkness is still with Ndigbo youth in this regime and dispensation. The youth at zero empowerment has no place in the political, economic and educational calculation and space in Nigeria.

This scenario has brought a kind of flux where nothing holds and somewhat state of nature where wickedness, jealousies, confusion, disrespect and loss of Igbo and family values become the other of the day. The consequences or indicative factors again are negative disposition, ritual moneymaking, individualism and lack of corporate business, which are not conducive to the corporate, cultural and political existence of Ndigbo. Unfortunately, inability of Ndigbo leaders to confront and address the historical, existential, cultural, educational, political and economic challenges led to the dispersal of Igbo youth, in search of means of livelihood in Diaspora…and the reason why I fear going to Biafra.

While Maduabuchi thesis has its strong merit, I fear going to Biafra, land of erosions, land of the likes of Rochas the don of double speak, and land that elects a governor while he is in Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, I fear going to Biafra where everyone is a leader, yet no leadership and direction, envied by many, yet not sure of itself.

A land where its greatest enemy is itself, a land where its sons and daughters on one hand are marginalized yet, are in every nook, cranny and corner, of Nigeria doing very well…a people whose sons are doing well in Lagos, and but wont go and develop ‘alaigbo’…but will whine “marginalization”, I fear going there.

Until her sons leave Jos, until Igbo men of goodwill can raise Kanu’s bail money, till it’s leadership gets it’s path right and stop playing third and fourth fiddle, I would fear going to Biafra, until Igbo men write and teach their children their true history, teach their wards the dialect, culture and values. 

I will fear going to Biafra, and while it remains true that Nigeria needs true federalism to thrive, the federating units equally need leadership to get it right, and are sons and daughters of Ndi-Igbo ready to take up the challenge—Only time will tell.

 


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