Photo shows a pro-Biafra protester shot dead by soldiers in Port Harcourt
The Igbo problem in Nigeria is that they walk their talk while the Nigerian standard is to stop at talking. A few examples will be enough:
1. Before the war but after the second coup and the pogrom in which thousands of Igbo folks were massacred in many parts of Nigeria, the East pleaded for a temporary separation of angry parties and went to Aburi, Ghana to secure an accord. They implemented their part of the accord. But the rest of Nigeria stopped at Aburi talks. The Igbo walked the work.
2. When the Aburi Accord was not implemented by Col Gowon, the Igbo promised to walk away from Nigeria. On May 30th 1967 they walked away from Nigeria. They walked the talk.
3. After the war the Biafrans were promised the 3 Rs’, reconstruction, rehabilitation, and reconciliation. The Igbo signed on to the promise. They move back to Nigeria. They moved back to the North and West and reconciled with their partners, re-starting their businesses, joined the political parties and started the participation in the rebuilding of Nigeria. They walked the walk. Nigeria, on the other hand stopped at the talk: No reconstruction and no rehabilitation, even today 2015. Nigeria is stuck at the talk.
4. This is the story of 1951, 1959, 1964, etc., elections; the story of all the censuses since independence, all appointments to federal government offices, creation of states etc. The country promises fairness in all these but walked back in implementation while the Igbo people adhered to the terms. Hence the Igbo which was shown in pre-independence census figures as larger than Yoruba is now fewer in number and the north is now twice as many.
5. The promise immediately after the war was no victor no vanquished. Can anyone in his right mind look back now and say there were no victors or vanquished. The talk and the walk are not the same. Nigeria is stuck at the talk
6. Enough is enough.
The people who talk and walk the talk would always scare others if they talk. The Igbo talk is taken seriously each and every time. Almost all Nigerian ethnic nationalities have at many points threatened secession. The 1966 Gowon speech that there is no basis for unity did not result in any severe actions for the north, Boko Haram has threatened and continue to assert that they would turn Nigeria into a caliphate to align with ISIS but even though they have the arms to do so, and are trying to “actualize” their dream, they are not taken as seriously as IPOB.
The Yoruba have also threatened session but are yet to be considered a threat to Nigeria. Nnamdi Kanu has not said anything that has not been said in Nigeria by Nigerians of other ethnic nationalities but he is the one in prison. Mallam Muhajid Dokubo-Asari of Mends who is of Ijaw nation, often seen in the same light as Igbo, and Uwazuruike of MASSOB are the only other persons who went to prison for their beliefs.
Ken Saro Wiwa, who is Ijaw, often seen as Igbo, was executed 20 years ago for standing up for his people. All the people who feel like, or live close to the Igbo, or who hold the same religious beliefs, or merely look like the Igbo have been treated with “Iron Fists” unlike the rest of the other Nigerians who had acted like they did. It is a case of different strokes for different folks. The Ogoni, the Ijaw, the Ibibio, the Efik, the Ikwerre, etc., ought to be ware.
They should be like other Nigerians. They should not talk because if they talk the walk will be presumed even before they start the walk as Mr. Kanu is now learning.
And that would be trouble.
It will be against the nature of Easterners but it might save their lives.
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba, Boston, Massachusetts