Igbo Summit: Confederation Is The Only Option — Group
Confederation is the only options which can secure & promote Igbo lives and property, presently wantonly destroyed in Nigeria
A Memorandum by Prince Chukwuemeka I. Onyesoh, Coordinator, Igbo Right-To-Live Initiative, Enugu to Ohanaeze Ndigbo Summit on “Restructuring” Holding at Awka, Anambra State on Monday 21st May 2018
I write on behalf of IGBO RIGHT-TO-LIVE INITIATIVE to remind Igbo leaders meeting in the proposed Igbo Summit on Restructuring at Awka, Anambra State on Monday 21st May 2018, that Ndigbo have, very often, since after the war, missed the point on how to tackle the most critical and existential threat to the Igbo ethnic nationality in Nigeria – Protection and Preservation of Igbo Lives, Dignity and Property. Two examples of this misdirection are (1) that whereas Ndigbo are facing an existential problem of extinction, some Igbo leaders are still dwelling on time-worn marginalization of Ndigbo instead of Igbo survival and exclusion; and (2) Two Igbo Senators recently proposed declaration of emergency in Benue as a solution to pervasive killings in Benue State, which is tantamount to handing over governance of the State to the killers of Benue people who have refused to protect the people. The Senate completely ignored those calls as coming from novices on the Nigerian scene.
1.1. Overview: In the unfortunate circumstance Ndigbo have found themselves in Nigeria, only a Confederation in which the six federating units (not more) are fully responsible for their security and welfare can secure and promote Igbo lives, dignity and property in Nigeria, leaving out the other viable option of independence for Ndigbo. And these are options which most of the other 376 ethnic nationalities of Nigeria might wish for, in the face of the ongoing Jihad by Cattle Fulani Herdsmen militants, which is bound to either, exterminate or subjugate most of these nationalities. The truth however is that most of these ethnic nationalities are so afraid of the reaction of the Slave Masters of Nigeria that they dare not speak out. Besides, no meaningful restructuring can take place under the present totalitarian regime of President Buhari, before whom the present Enslavement Ordinance branded the 1999 Constitution is an ideal for their preferred Agenda.
Ndigbo therefore, only need to make a historical statement for Igbo youths, who are bearing the present burden of Nigeria’s present emasculation and enslavement.
1.2. My Experience: I was the transition Secretary of Ohanaeze Transition Committee, 2000 to 2003. In a bid to establish the structure of Ohanaeze under the 2000 new Constitution, I toured all the 21 Local Government Areas (LGA) of Anambra State and set up both the LGA and State branches of Ohanaeze. Working with State coordinators, I coordinated the establishment of Ohanaeze State structures in the five states of the South East and relevant LGAs in Delta and Rivers States. And serving as Secretary to the Election Committee at Owerri, Umuahia and Awka, variously, I oversaw the elections of Chief Joe Irukwu, Dr. Dozie Ikedife and Ambassador Raph Uwechue between 2003 and January 2009 to the post of President General of Ohanaeze, one after the other.
Again in the multiplicity of suits in courts and other mobilizations to compel Prof. Irukwu, Ambassador Uwechue, and Chief Igariwey to keep to term limits, I was a principal party to all the suits and provided most of the documentations for both efforts.
I therefore consider it an absurdity that both the Anambra Ohanaeze and the National Ohanaeze found it in the best of Igbo interest to exclude my name in the current Imeobi (a name I gave the inner caucus of Ohanaeze which before I stepped in, was erroneously branded Mkpuke by Igbo elders who were somehow deficient in Igbo culture, Mkpuke being the abode and domain of Igbo women folk). It is my informed opinion that my exclusion from Imeobi Ohanaeze makes sense only among those who have no regard for history. And there is a trite saying that those who ignore history are bound to repeat its mistakes.
I bear no grudge for this travesty. Since 2005, excluding Dr. Ikedife’s tenure, the pettiness in the struggle for term limit prolongation and grandstanding, have taken over Ohanaeze, thus demeaning the noble objectives intended in its establishment. I have from 2000 to 2015, as a member of Imeobi, stoutly fought against those two monsters which have distracted Ohanaeze from its main focus. Recently I found that I can better promote Igbo interest from where I am now, free and unfettered by any alliances or obligations, except Igbo interest.
In spite of the above circumstances, I have repeatedly sought audience with the office of the President General of Ohanaeze to brief and counsel on ongoing international efforts to unslave the Ndigbo. No such audience has ever been granted. Not even an acknowledgement of my book, “TO THE RESCUE”(628 page-dissertation on the Right to Self Determination) which I donated to Ohanaeze through Chief Elumuno on 2nd January 2018 at the Abagana Igbo Leadership retreat on “Ndigbo: Referendum, Biafra or Restructuring; Which Way Forward,” which I chaired in Dr. Nwachukwu Anikwenze’s residence. The same silence accompanied the copy I also donated to the planning committee of this summit.
My views were never invited by Ohanaeze when it planned this summit on Igbo position on Restructuring even though I have researched, lectured and published on the subject, copiously and severally.
I am therefore left with no option than this public communication.
NIGERIA MASSACRE & MAIMING OF NDIGBO MUST DEFINE IGBO RELATIONSHIP IN OR OUT OF NIGERIA
Igbo people are endangered species, killed by Nigerians more than any other ethnic nationality, and quite often for no justifiable reason than to intimidate into Ndigbo into submission.
Wanton and remorseless massacre of Ndigbo in Nigeria by Nigerians dates back to the 1945 Jos riots which took 200 Igbo lives to loss of 150 in the 1953 Kano riots. Apparently in a bid to encourage Igbo killing in Nigeria, the organizer of the Kano riots, Mallam Inua Wada, then Organizing Secretary of the Northern People’s Congress, the North’s regional party that controlled the Northern Nigeria government, was later appointed Federal Minister for Works and Survey and later, Defence 1959-1966 by the Sir Abubakar –led Federal Government. The 1966 pogroms drove the Igbo to demand a loose federation, indeed confederation (Aburi Accord), in which the Igbo could take complete charge of the security of their lives and property (Ref. Onyesoh Chukwuemeka, on Aburi Accord in the 2015 Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) Publication, “IGBO NATION, History and Challenges of Rebirth and Development, Volume One, 2015, pages 419-421). Late H. E. Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, one of the foremost Igbo patriots, reechoed the spirit of Aburi Accord in his proposals to the 1994-5 Abacha National Conference. I am therefore merely re-stating and expanding the views and submissions of two Igbo scions, H. E. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu (in Aburi, Ghana, January 1967) and H. E. Dr. Alex I. Ekwueme.
In 1967, Nigeria rejected this option of a confederation. It instead commenced the starvation hamstrung Eastern Nigeria of its Federal allocation. Desperate for survival, blockaded East which was saddled with over 1.1million returnees scarred by pogrom from Nigeria without any Federal relief, declared Biafra, just as Gowon Balkanized Eastern Region into three states and went to war to force Ndigbo to accept the status of serfs in Nigeria.
All Nigerians joined hands in killing the Igbo either by force of arms or starvation to force Ndigbo to surrender. Starvation of non-combatants in war is torture and UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) forbids torture in its Article 5. Therefore when Nigeria declared starvation of unarmed civilians of Biafra, a legitimate instrument of warfare, it violated the UDHR provision on torture. This crime is awaiting action by Ndigbo against the Nigerian government and peoples.
Brigadier Benjamin Adekunle relished in torturing Biafran prisoners-of- war to death in contravention of the Geneva Convention; whereas Generals Muritala Mohammed and IBM Haruna, unapologetically massacred unarmed non-combatants. Mohammed’s, Haruna’s and Adekunle’s massacre of Ndigbo remain and await justice as war crimes.
Several post-war executions followed after.
We are all familiar with the multiplicity of riots involving massacres and lone or multiple killings of Ndigbo, particularly in the North.
In pages 540-550 of my 2017 book, “TO THE RESCUE,” I highlighted some of the most hideous riots and massacres of Ndigbo from 1945 to date.
Furthermore, as President General of Ohanaeze, Chief Nnia Nwodo narrated in an interview granted to Vanguard newspaper and published on page 42 of Tuesday, 13th June 2017, how Ndigbo are being killed anyhow by Northerners even in the federal capital, Abuja whilst the Nigerian Police conveniently look on with no intention or effort to stop such killings or arrest and prosecute them (See also my 2017, TO THE RESCUE, pages 517-90).
The Apo Six killing of five Igbo boys in their 20s and a Bini girl friend by senior Police officers for failing to concede their Bini girl friend; the cover ups – destruction of evidence (killer’s confessional statement) including the murdering, by food poisoning of a key police officer/witness in so-called police custody; release , otherwise branded escape of a killer senior police officer from the 4th floor CID cell, grant of bail on flimsy grounds in first degree murder trial to accused police officers (already indicted by a judicial enquiry); the eventual discharge and acquittal of the key senior police officer/murderer, who was thereafter promoted to a very senior rank and paid all his arrears of salary (See 343-349 of my 2017 “TO THE RESCUE”).
The Dec. 1994 abduction from Police custody and beheading of Gideon Akaluka by Islamic zealots, in full view of Nigerian security agents in Kano for blasphemy, which the Police cleared him of, long after his body had been buried headless in his native Imo state and the non-arrest/prosecution of his known killers till date, are other dimensions of Nigeria demonstrating that Igbo lives do not matter to powers that be. Akaluka’s severed head, which was never matched with his body and delivered to his family for proper burial, was reported as hoisted on a pole in a macabre street procession of triumph right in the presence of law enforcement agencies, during an orgy of Igbo racial baiting and massacre”(See Ohanaeze petition to The Human Rights Violations Investigating Committee (Oputa Panel) on “The Violations of Human and Civil Rights of Ndigbo in the Federation of Nigeria (1966-1999),” 2002, page 53).
The 2016 killing of 74-year old Madam Bridget Agbahime in Kano by Muslim fanatics, the arraignment of the five killers and the ultimate withdrawal of charges and discharge of the killers by Kano State Governor, further highlighted the impunity and scant regard for Igbo lives by Nigeria (See Onyesoh, TO THE RESCUE, 2017, pp. 514-515)
THE MASSACRE OF NDIGBO IN 2008 JOS RIOTS
The 28th-30th November 2008 Jos riots stand out as one of the best documented casualty figures and property lost. The oligarchy openly displayed its endorsement of the killings in typical ways.
The Hausa-Fulani were contesting the election of chairman of Jos North-Local Government Council with the natives of Jos. No Igbo contested, except that Ndigbo struck a deal to support the Jos indigenes’ candidate for chairmanship in return for a number of councillorship seats. The Hausa-Fulani candidate lost the chairmanship election to the Plateau State indigene. Yet when Hausa/Fulani rioted in protest against, they killed 120 Igbos out of a total massacre of 400. The rest were rioters who were mainly killed by security agents when they belatedly came in to quell the riots. Igbo property lost was estimated at over N2.6billion (2008 figures). The only compensation the Igbo got was that most Ndigbo killed in that riot had to be abominably and quickly buried in mass graves to avoid reprisal killing of Hausa/Fulani herdsmen who traverse Igbo land in the South-East and again indulge in raping and killing Igbo women (young & old) in their farms. Till date no one has been convicted for participating or inciting that Jos riot. Not a kobo compensation has, as usual, been paid to the victims or families of that unfortunate incident.
It is interesting that 50 of the rioters who executed the massacre were arrested in Jos, but in order to avoid prosecution in Plateau State High Court by State prosecutors, the Federal Government under a Fulani, President Umaru Musa Yar’dua, ordered the Police to transfer them to Abuja, where they were promptly and unconditionally released on arrival.
For the first time after a massacre of Ndigbo anywhere in the North, the leaders of Igbo Community, Jos, compiled the names of those killed and assessed their losses which they published with details of individual losses Local Governments by local government; and totals in each of the five states of the South-East and Anioma of Delta State and sent to the South East Governors and Ohanaeze. A copy of that summary is attached as an annexure. Till date, no compensations of any kind were paid to victims by any States or the federal authorities.
IPOB MASSACRE IN ABIA STATE BY THE NIGERIAN ARMY
On 13/14th September 2017, the Nigerian Army deployed troops armed to the teeth, to Abia State, apparently with clear instructions to kill at will any persons they deemed fit. Between the two days, Nigerian soldiers invaded the residence of the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, at Afaraukwu, and other people’s in Isiala Ngwa and Aba, all in Abia State and slaughtered people as they wished. The Abia State Governor and other South-East Governors were reported to have approved this invasion. At the end of this massive onslaught, between 100 and 200 Igbo youths were massacred for merely insisting on their rights to self determination. The youths never wounded or killed anybody nor destroyed property. In a bid to cover up this heinous crime, Nigerian soldiers were reported to have recovered the bodies of their victims, dead and half-alive, and buried them in mass graves in their barracks after pouring hydrochloric acid on them, in order to obliterate their individual identities. This kind of desecration of the dead is forbidden in any conventional Army except Jihadist armies.
Nigerians and worst of all Igbo leaders, all pretended as if nothing happened and the Nigerian government, South East Governors and Ohanaeze leadership proceeded to proscribe the activities of IPOB. It is this same government of President Buhari which has tolerated Cattle-Fulani Islamic herdsmen terrorists that have killed several thousands of Nigerians since 2015 and also released thousands of Boko Haram insurgents without trial that has now put a terrorist tag on unarmed rights demonstrators, who have never killed or wounded anybody, probably just for their being Igbo. The Abia state government, otherwise, constitutionally responsible for all lives and property in Abia state in concert with his fellow Governors of the South-East Governors Forum (SEGF) conveniently found explanation to carry on as if nothing happened, in not wanting to be in conflict with rampaging Federal Government. Not even to take a toll of what happened and blame the Army for use of excessive force. The man in the SEGF died. Unlike the Kaduna state governor, in the December 2015 Shiite massacre, who quickly instituted a judicial commission of enquiry on the Shiites killings, the Abia State governor appeared to have treated the killings as getting rid of rodents and conducted no inquiry as the Law enjoins him to do.
The only group in the South East, Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) which had the courage to challenge the massacre in Suit no.FHC/EN/CS/137/2017, the Incorporated Trustees of Alaigbo Development Foundation vs. the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and 2 others, in the Federal High Court, Enugu, was reminded by a Kano State-born Judge that the President is above the Courts and the Law. In an undefended suit that was filed to reaffirm rulings of three Appeal Courts that the President and Commander-in-Chief has no powers to deploy soldiers anywhere in Nigeria without due authorization of the National Assembly, the Judge turned into Defence Counsel for the defendants who were duly served but arrogantly failed to file any defence or put up appearance. After delaying rulings in more than two scheduled dates, the Federal Judge turned up one day and after canvassing unsolicited defence for the defendants, ruled in their favour. It is court rule and practice, the world over, that default judgment is entered against any party that is duly served processes of court but fails to enter defence. The significance of the ruling in that suit is that before a Caliphate Federal Judge, Igbo lives do not matter. The matter however is now on appeal and it is hoped the superior courts will do justice to the matter.
The climax of failure of leadership in Igbo land is that, but for the efforts of some US-based and Nigerian NGOs, no one would have known that the Nigerian Army killed even up to 100 in that arbitrary operation of Sept. 2017. The Lagos media, NGOs, ethnic nationality leaders, the Churches and religious leaders, rights lawyers/advocates etc, who make all the noise for even less than 10 casualty figures herdsmen Islamic massacres in Benue, Taraba, Kaduna or Zamfara states, found no reason to raise their voices, perhaps because Igbo live do not matter anymore.
The good news is that there are at last Igbo groups in USA and Nigeria, IGBO RIGHT-TO-LIVE INITIATIVE, which still put very high premium on Igbo lives, and are determined to compel Nigeria to account for those lives they took.
NIGERIA UNDER JIHADIST ATTACK FROM 1959 TO DATE
The trouble with Nigeria is that imbued with the pacifism of Christianity model or in Igbo traditional worship (the Nri pacifist model) they deceive themselves that Nigeria cannot be completely Islamized, even now that the Islamization project is more than 70% accomplished. With the 1999 Constitution which is Sharia compliant, Nigeria belonging to all important Islamic organizations in the world and now a pro-Jihad government in place at the centre, the deception goes on, particularly the politicians whose stock in trade is deception and bartering of conscience. A number of high lights will however expose the charade under which Nigeria carries on as a so-called Secular State:
5.1.In year 2000, 12 states of the Federation declared themselves “Islamic Republics” under Sharia, in violation of Section 10 of Nigeria’s extant Constitution; and pretentious President Obasanjo, so afraid of Jihad and being a stooge of the Caliphate, wrote off the proclamations as “political Sharia which would soon fizzle out,” as if Sharia was ever designed to be non-political. Nigeria condoned the rebellion of the 12 States against the secularity of the state of Nigeria even though it fought and crushed ‘Biafra” for similar act of rebellion.
5.2. Sharia Law Defined: Sharia is the moral code and religious law of Islam which guides all aspects of Muslim life including daily routines, familial and religious obligations, and financial dealings. Sharia deals with many topics addressed by secular law, including crime, politics, and economics, as well as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, every day etiquette and fasting. Sharia Law is derived primarily from precepts set forth in the Quranic verses (ayahs) and the examples set by the Islamic prophet in the Sunnah (Hadith – the sayings, practices, and teachings of Prophet Muhammad). Where it has official status, Sharia is interpreted by Islamic judges (qadis) with varying responsibilities for the religious leaders (imams). For questions not directly addressed in the primary sources, the application of Sharia is extended through consensus of the religious scholars (ulama) thought to embody the consensus of the Muslim community (ijma). Islamic jurisprudence will also sometimes incorporate analogies from the Quran and Sunnah through qiyas, though many scholars also prefer reasoning (‘aql) analogy. Differences in opinions over “questions not sufficiently addressed by primary sources” between different groups of ulamas (religious scholars) quite often, result in sharp differences/cleavages and frequently lead to violence between the sects led by different ulamas. .”(Onyesoh: “To the Rescue. . .” 2017, pp. 290-291).
5.3. Sharia, the Long Standing Goal of Islamic Movements:“The introduction of Sharia is the long-standing goal for Islamic movements globally, but attempts to impose Sharia have been accompanied by controversy, violence, and even warfare.”(Onyesoh, 2017, p. 291).
5.4. Secular State defined: A secular state is defined as a concept of secularism, whereby a state or country purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion. A secular state also claims to treat all its citizens equally regardless of religion, and claims to avoid preferential treatment for a citizen from a particular religion/non-religion over other religions/non-religions. Secular states do not have a state religion (established religion) or equivalent, although the absence of a state religion does not necessarily mean that a state is fully secular; however, a true secular state should steadfastly maintain national governance without influence from religious factions; i.e. Separation of church and state. (Onyesoh, 2017, p. 299)
5.5. Religious Extremism and Fundamentalist Islamism’s Compatibility with Secular Democracy:” Islam as a faith or doctrine can be compatible with democracy as in Malaysia and South Western Nigeria; but Islam as a popular reform movement advocating the reordering of government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam, Sharia Law, as the North-West and North-East Moslems are pushing Nigeria, is definitely incompatible with secular democracy; and is in a cultural and/or civilizational clash with the rest of humanity. That is fundamentalist Islam; and Fundamentalist Islam is the cause of the world’s violent upheavals; and Nigeria’s nemesis.
Nigeria cannot get anywhere with fundamental Islamism because Islamic fundamentalism is antithetical to federalism particularly in a religiously plural state. It is intolerant of secularity of any kind in a federal state; and therefore Islamic fundamentalism and federalism in a multi-religious state are mutually exclusive. Wherever they coexist, there is constant friction and consequent instability, resulting in never-ending feuds and conflicts. The situation in Nigeria is worsened with the mix of feudalism, which, in the rural areas, where most Nigerians live, results in absolute monarchial rule, with the monarch being god-heads. The Emirs combine their traditional leadership with religious ascendency.”(Onyesoh, 2017, p.305)
5.6. Fundamentalist Islam as it is practiced in the North-West and North East of Nigeria, recognizes no other State, Constitution or Government except as ordered by Sharia Law. This is why the Nigerian Police is openly subordinated to the authority of the Emirs/Sultan in efforts to rescue abducted under-aged Christian girls, like Ese of the 2016 Bayelsa/Kano abduction saga, who are already confiscated by Jihadists in the North.
The Jihadist War Cry, “Allahu Akbar”, brings to full focus the full import of Islamic fundamentalism in relation to constitutional democracy.
“This war-cry, “Allahu Akbar” is invariably mistranslated in the Western media, including Nigeria, as “God is great.” But the actual meaning is “Allah is Greater Than Your God or Government.”It is the aggressive declaration that Allah and Islam are dominant over every other form of government, religion, law or ethic, which is why Islamic Jihadists in the midst of killing infidels, so often shout it. One primary purpose of this war cry is to ‘strike terror in the hearts of the enemies of Allah.’” (Onyesoh, 2017, p.515).
If Nigerians would understand where the core North politicians are coming from, it would be easier to perceive the gamut of Jihad of Deception permanently going on in Nigeria.
5.6. Northern Leaders have always fought Jihad on the rest of Nigeria. The following quotes from prominent Northerners expose an agenda which gullible non-Moslems of Nigerians, to their detriment, never have been able to comprehend:
5.6.1. Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (March 1947) – Quote: “We shall demand our rights when the time is ripe. If the British quitted Nigeria now at this stage, the northern people would continue their uninterrupted conquest to the sea.” (Trevor Clark, THE RIGHT HONOURABLE GENTLE MAN, 1999, P.99)
5.6.2. Sir Ahmadu Bello (October 1960) – Quote: “The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate from our great grand- father, Othman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power (That is exactly what President Buhari appears to be doing). We must use the minorities in the North as willing tools, and the South as conquered territories and never allow them to have control of their future.” (Parrot Newspaper, October 12, 1960; ).
5.6.3. General Muhammadu Buhari, now President of Nigeria (2001) – Quote: “I will continue to show openly and inside me the total commitment to the Sharia movement that is sweeping all over Nigeria . . . . God willing, we will not stop the agitation for the total implementation of the Sharia in the country.” (Total or full Implementation of Sharia would make Nigeria an Islamic Republic).
“It is the legal responsibility which God has given us, within the concept of one Nigeria, to continue to uphold the practice of Sharia wholeheartedly, and to educate non-Muslims that they have nothing to fear, . . . What remains for Muslims in Nigeria is for them to redouble their efforts, educate Muslims on the need to promote the full implementation of Sharia law.” (Vanguard Newspaper, Dec. 24, 2014).
Speech is a mirror of the mind, is a truism. If you are of the above mindset, and you find yourself in charge of Nigerian affairs, would you whole-heartedly stop Boko Haram and Cattle Fulani Herdsmen Islamic militants from executing Jihad all over Nigeria in pursuit of total Islamization of Nigeria?
True to his espoused values, in May 2016 President Buhari, without the approval of the National Assembly (NASS), announced that Nigeria has joined the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition against ISIS – the IMAFT (Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism).
Imagine a Nigeria Christian soldier sent to the war front against ISIS, in the midst of soldiers all of who are from Islamic Republics, probably Jihadists?
5.6.4. Earlier in 1986 General Ibrahim Babangida had smuggled Nigeria into the Organisation of Islamic Conference, now Cooperation (OIC), the collective voice of the Moslem World, originally formed in 1969 for the sole purpose of recovering the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the 3rd holiest Islamic site from Israel, in clear violation of provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria which guaranteed its secularity and that NASS must approve all such external military alliances and deployments.
Again in 1989 Babangida further squandered millions of US Dollars of Nigerian state resources in hosting the first Islam-in-Africa Conference in Abuja during which several resolutions were taken against the interest of the Nigerian state.
FUNDAMENTAL PERSONALITY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE IGBO & OTHER NIGERIANS
Religion is a personal issue and no force is employed to enforce conversion to any faith.
In Igbo traditional and Christian values, vengeance is God’s, whereas in fundamentalist Islam, to kill for God is passport to paradise. And this disposition promotes all the massacre and instability nationwide.
The Dignity accorded the Human Person including the body of the dead, is fundamental to Igbo cosmology. Among Islamic zealots the kafir has no right to any dignity – alive or dead. Abductions of under-aged girls, the killings, cleaning out of the flesh and therefore identity of the dead before interment of their skeletal remains in mass graves, derive from this mentality.
Repugnance to oppression: It is in Igbo DNA to resist oppression.
Igbo people are naturally freedom fighters – the 1803 Igbo landing episode in Dunbar Creek, St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, USA, the activities of Igbo ex-slaves in the independence efforts of Haiti, Dominican Republic, Latin America, Liberia and Nigeria; and the liberation activities of such Igbo scions as Olaudah Equiano, Edward Wilmot Blyden and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, emphasise the natural disposition of the Igbo to freedom. Self-immolation for liberty, in some extreme cases, like in Dunbar Creek 1803 episode, is also regarded as a virtue. The Biafra war was a kind of mass immolation for freedom. The major tendencies driving Nigeria of today includes modern day slavery. Chibok and Dapchi abductions and the pervasive abductions of under-aged non-Moslem girls, their forced conversion to Islam and marriage of these minors without parental consent are abominable violations in Igbo values.
Value on Life: Life is sacrosanct in Igbo culture centered on Nri values and the indiscriminate massacres of Igbos in Nigeria dating from 1945 to date debase that inherent value.
Women Rights: Women (daughters in particular) share virtual rights with men; and in Igbo cosmology daughters have places even in family altars and community shrines. (Details of 6.1. to 6.7.in Onyesoh 2017, pages 93-114).
Most of Nigeria’s ethic nationalities share some of the above values but perhaps are unable to articulate and offer organised resistant to rampaging violations. As commonly known, these other ethnic nationalities all joined in bringing down the 1967 Igbo revolt against those violations. Having done so in 1967-70, they probably now find it difficult to reverse to a more decent path. It has taken General Danjuma that long to speak out when the respect and honour accorded him by the oligarchy for his services in 1966-70 began to be flagrantly violated by the recent on-going massacre of his people in his home state of Taraba.
MILITARISED NIGERIAN SECURITY AGENCIES, THEIR SHOOT- TO- KILL AND COVER-UP ODDITY
Agitation for independence yields meaningful restructuring in countries like Canada, UK (Scotland) and various others (More details in Onyesoh 2017, pp.171-201).
To make an omelet, an egg must be broken. He who dares wins. The parable of The Talents in Matthew 25:14-30 in the Bible validates the English proverb, which asserts that if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
The present Nigerian regime is both militarist and Jihadist. It obeys no Court orders, has scant regards for the Common Law, except perhaps Sharia Law; and indeed no respect for citizens’ lives. Citizens are abducted by Nigerian Security Agencies at will, detained in underground cells for unbroken periods of years. The Agencies no longer operate by any conventional Codes of Conduct. They massacre unarmed citizens peacefully demonstrating in demand of lawful rights denied; carry away their dead bodies, pour hydrochloric acid on them and bury their skeletal remains in mass graves in guarded settlements, in order to obliterate any identification and evidence of such crimes against humanity – the Shiites and IPOB massacres. Not even minimal decency is accorded the body of victims who are as much citizens as the murderous agents!
Yet, to achieve effective restructuring, agitation for the right to Self Determination including separation is historically a must.
The impression the Security Agencies of Nigeria are selling to Nigerians who know their rights is that Nigerians are entrapped in the oligarchy’s Slave Camp from which there is no escape, as is enshrined in the enslavement ordinance, the 1999 Constitution, on indissolubility and indivisibility.
SOUTH-WEST ZONE OF NIGERIA AS AN UNRELIABLE PARTNER FOR ANY MEANINFUL RESTRUCTURING
South West of Nigeria is the most educationally, commercially and industrially advanced part of Nigeria. Unfortunately it has fallen prisoner to that success – virtual enslavement in pursuit of those successes. The zone appears so afraid of taking any chance on whatever might upset those successes, particularly the mercantilist values.
No South-West leader has ever articulated any program for achieving the right to self determination which is what ignites meaningful restructuring. Afenifere, the South West apex socio-cultural organisation indulges in what can rightly be branded shadow boxing, which is no pathway to meaningful restructuring.
The major political tendency in the South West is controlled by HE Alhaji Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, otherwise national leader of the Federal Government party, All People’s Alliance (APC). It is however commonly known that by acts and deeds, the President of Nigeria is the de facto leader of the APC, the party in power at Abuja and Lagos State. Most importantly, since 2007 when H. E. Tinubu left office as Governor of Lagos State, HE appears to possess a complete grip of the decision as to who becomes the next Governor of Lagos State.
From available records, Lagos is the only viable state of the 36 states of Nigeria, which can survive without monthly federal allocation. To make this happen, after the war the Eastern ports were deliberately strangulated by the Nigerian bureaucracy to a halt in order to engineer the burst in the economy of Lagos whose annual budget, per capita, challenges any budget in Nigeria, worst of all, the Federal Government budget.
Apparently intoxicated by the easy money flowing from the bulging resources of Lagos State government, H. E. Alhaji Bola Tinubu and co. are not interested in the fate and future of Nigerians, including even his Yoruba people, from whom he derives both his political and unlimited financial powers. In the 2014 President Jonathan’s National Conference, he opposed the restructuring of the federation into 6 zones.
His opposition to meaningful restructuring into six zones obviously influenced the confused position of the 7th September 2017 Yoruba Summit, which on one hand proposed the restructuring of the federation into six regions and at the same time insists on retaining the 36 states complete with their present structures and paraphernalia, as federating units of the six regions. This scandalous proposal assumes that the other zones, and even to a large extent other states of the South West, are as viable as Lagos state and can afford the dual expensive bureaucracy at States and zonal levels. The scandalous and burgeoning recurrent expenditures of present states, is the nemesis of present day Nigeria. Most do not and indeed cannot invest up to 20% of their annual expenditure in genuine capital expenditure, which is the engine room for human development. In the face of a minimum population growth and quite often negative or marginal GDP grown, all that Nigeria breeds is forever phenomenal growth in youth unemployment, which contributes ominously to threat of national security.
Finally on May 9, 2018, speaking through his proxy, the incumbent Lagos State Governor, H. E. Akinwunmi Ambode, the opposition to restructuring of any kind by Lagos State tendencies was openly declared. Delivering a lecture titled, “Inclusion: Path to a new Nation” on 8th of May 2018 at the University of Lagos 2018 Convocation Lecture and Investiture ceremony for the 12th Vice Chancellor of the institution, Gov. Ambode declared :
“. . . the clamour for restructuring rather than true federalism, considering the state of the country would be time consuming and costly despite claims that money will be saved. Rather than demand for restructuring he advised Nigerians to strive towards implementing true federalism, saying: “I am concerned about the intense focus on wholesale change to our political architecture. Such a thing is inherently time consuming and costly despite the claims that money will be saved.” (Ref. www.vanguardngr.com/2018/05/herdsmen-attacks-must-look-beyond-hatred-prejudice-ambode/).
The South West cannot be meaningfully in restructuring beyond the influence of Lagos tendencies.
- THE NORTH-CENTRAL & AND NORTHERN MINORITIES ARE UNLIKELY TO OFFER WHAT IT TAKES TO ACHIEVE MEANINGFUL RESTRUCTURING
Considering the virtual colonization of the Middle Biddle Belt and minority areas of the core north by the oligarchy, it is unlikely that the people of the North Central zones and other northern minority areas will be able to muster the nerves for what is required to achieve meaningful restructuring. The fear of Nigeria breaking and their being left with their oppressors; or if granted independence, the misplaced fear of being land-locked, constrains their ability to take any bold stand.
Yet annual reports on human development in the world (2015) show that the presence and appropriate development and deployment of human capital or its absence, determines human development more than coast lines and other natural endowments.
If sea access were the sole determinant of human development Switzerland, Luxemburg, Liechtenstein, Czech Republic, Slovakia,, Serbia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan,, Macedonia, Zambia, Botswana, Moldova, Paraguay and Bolivia, all land-locked countries, would not have achieved the rankings of Very High Human Development (VHHD) to Medium Human Development (MHD), whereas Nigeria with all natural endowments and 837 kilometers of ocean coastline, permanently wallows in the world human development category of Low Human Development (LHD) (More details available at Onyesoh, 2017, pages 230-232).
- SUMMARY: THE IGBO POSITION MUST THEREFORE BE – CONFEDERATION OR INDEPENDENCE
The present structure of the federation benefits the oppressors of the Federation and like all privileged people, they are not in any hurry to dismantle the privileges which the defective structure confers on them. Most people, including perhaps, all of us, in their shoes, would resist any change. That is the immoral disposition of human nature.
As it is obvious from 2 to 9 above, neither Southern Nigerian leaders nor Middle Belt leaders understand and accept the four mandatory steps that lead to meaningful restructuring of a troubled polity in the 21st Century, namely (a) Agitation for the Right to Self Determination; (b) Litigation for Citizens’ rights, internally and internationally; (c) Publicity, including enlightenment – locally and internationally; and (d) Lobby, otherwise Diplomacy – Local and international.
In Nigeria, what would have been the main change agent, the young people of the South East, were misguided and refused to recognise that Nigeria is presently occupied by a blood thirsty and brutal tyranny which needs some tact to maneuver agitation for rights. Furthermore, the youths failed to factor in, the docility of leaders, particularly the political and business elite, even in the South-East. Unfortunately these elite instead of recognizing the agitating youths as change agents adopted the oppressors’ view of the youths as irritants. Consequently the South East leadership, out of fear of violence from the centre, erroneously joined the oligarchy in an oppression which amounted to throwing the baby away with the birth water, when they endorsed the very corrupt proscription of IPOB as a terrorist organisation. A yawning void now exists in the self determination effort without which all the on-going commotion for restructuring is like putting the cart before the horse (Details in the Epilogue of Onyesoh 2017, pages 590 to 599).
The tyranny has won a temporary victory and therefore is under no pressure to restructure anything. President Buhari said so in a recent interview, in which he referred all who care to listen, to refer to the enslaving document – the 1999 Constitution howsoever amended for any restructuring of any kind.
In present circumstances, it is very unlikely that any restructuring can take place without an informed leadership at the centre and an enlightened work plan from the South and Middle Belt. The present regime at the centre offers no hope for any change in the structure of the federation. The South-West, which twice has played key roles in restoring tyranny at the centre (1967-70 and 2015), must get its act together, including organizing meaningful agitation for the right to self determination etc. Experience has shown that whenever the Southwest means genuine business, the North listens, even if to corrupt South West’s original intensions.
The Igbo Summit must therefore chart a course for IGBO future. That course must be acceptable to IGBO YOUTHS who totally bear the brunt of the TOTAL EXCLUSION OF THE IGBO IN NGERIAN AFFAIRS (not marginalization) AND THE BRUTALITY OF TYRANNICAL REGIMES IN NIGERIA (a total of 420 of them mowed down since June 2015, and most of them, their dead bodies dissolved in hydrofluoric acid so as to permanently obliterate their identities in the unmarked mass graves where their remains are recklessly dumped).
Igbo youths are the ones who excel in entrance examinations to unity schools; WAEC, JAMB and degree exams in Nigeria and world wide, but get discriminated against and rejected in employment in Abuja and Lagos (details in Onyesoh, 2017, pages 572 to 577). There are no big industries in the east to hire them. They therefore straggle for opportunities all over the globe. Some die in the deserts; others drown in the oceans; whereas some get sold into slavery in Libya and the rest of the middle east.
The Summit must therefore come to a decision on the future of Igbo (youths) – a future that must assure them of their lives and prosperity.
There is no other option than: a confederal Nigeria in which each of the six (not more) federating units is completely responsible for its security and welfare. The Swiss model would meet all the aspirations of Igbo youths. The only alternative to confederation is total independence of Igbo land (ref. Aburi accord of Jan. 1968 and Onyesoh, 2017 pp. 578 to 585).
Ojukwu proposed it in January 1967 Aburi meeting. Nigeria agreed on it. Gowon truncated it.
Ekwueme resurrected it in the Abacha 1994-95 National Conference.
Igbo Right-To-Live Initiative merely urges Ndigbo to muster the courage to adopt it as Igbo long term plan.
Igbo leaders are reminded of Gahandi’s eternal advice for those who seek liberation:
‘The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall. He frees himself and shows the way to others. Freedom and slavery are mental states.”
(Mahatma Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi(1869-1948); Non-violence in Peace and War ).
By OkpalaEzeNri Emeka Onyesoh
Coordinator, Igbo Right-To-Live Initiative, Enugu