Recently the country was almost engulfed in flames over the marching orders to Igbos to vacate northern parts of Nigeria having overstayed their welcome in the North resulting from the agitation back home in the South East by their kith and kin to secede from Nigeria. A coalition of misguided Arewa Youths northern Nigeria reportedly gave Nigerians of Igbo extraction an eviction notice which heated up the polity amid outstanding clamour and agitation for secession by the latter via well-organized secessionist movements particularly the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and it’s sister group, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) While the writer condemns in the strongest terms the quit order having violated their constitutionally guaranteed rights to live in any part of Nigeria the writer also condemns in its entirety the use of hate speeches, expletives that have set the nation on fire.
There is no denying the fact today that hate speeches abound, to hold a contrary opinion alone is often greeted with yells of hate and damning expletives. Evidence of these abounds on the social media, particularly on Facebook groups and pages.
Nigeria, you will all agree with me, has never been this divided.
President Buhari has been consistently driving everyone nuts by his seeming intransigence on thorny and burning issues that make us differ which are capable of triggering a huge conflagration if not now but certainly later. Adopting a cosmetic approach under the existing circumstances instead of heeding the voices of reason by tackling these problems head on would only lead Nigeria to a disastrous end.
For starters, let us examine these issues in turn. What exactly gave birth to the ongoing separatist feelings, aspirations and consequent agitations, if one may ask? It is none other than the emergence of a particular region and tribe which have resolved to keep the rest of the country and regions under a permanent subjugation. This, you will agree with me, has invariably sparked discontent by the various ethnic nationalities that make up the federation of Nigeria.
Although the problems have always been there unaddressed, they were hardly noticeable until Nigeria was caught in an agonising web, diabolic whims and caprices of an ethnic jingoist, Hausa/Fulani-only paranoiac and a self-appointed overlord whose words and actions reek of nothing but bear the trademarks of intrinsic hypocrisy.
In the year 2014 AD, Nigeria under the leadership of Dr Jonathan called a National Conference to deal with thorny issues that divide us as a people and as a nation via discourse and every section of the country was aptly represented but the report of that Confab was thrown into the trash can by his successor who told a bewildered nation that the report belongs to none other than the archives and the problems which the resolutions and report of the Confab were meant to solve keep rearing its ugly head on the ascending order of magnitude while the government he lead keeps failing at every turn.
President Buhari instead of allowing the sleeping dogs to lie went ahead, damned all consequences and bearded the lion in its den via lopsided appointments, nepotism, favouritism, and suppression of dissent voices under his tsarist regime.
Today, the only corrupt people in Nigeria, according to him, are all in the former ruling party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party hence the clampdown on its members via moles and the like to drive that party into extinction while the governing party, the All Progressives Congress remains at the centre ad infinitum.
There are so many aggrieved and knowledgeable Nigerians who fault the present arrangement, many have genuinely proffered solutions and shortcuts to bail Nigeria out of its current woes but sad to say such calls and solution have fallen on deaf ears, the refusal to implement the 2014 Confab reports because it emerge from none other than Jonathan is a case in point.
These problems keep on resurfacing like a recurring decimal that is increasingly dividing the country as a nation and as a people. Nigeria has never recorded so much bloodshed as it is today via crimes of varying degree, particularly violent ones.
Life has become so worthless in Nigeria that herders take it at the drop of a hat. In this connection, many villages and villagers have been overrun and razed by a band of invading devil-may-care herders who seem to be enjoying the support and protection of an overlord who acts behind the scene.
Only last week some Fulani herders raped and killed women in the northern parts of Edo State and one of the young men among the peaceful protesters against the crying injustice was shot at in the leg by an armed soldier whose leg was later amputated at Federal Medical Centre at Irrua, Edo State.
In fact, a lot of other heinous crimes being committed by the state against its own people have been going on unchecked, more so scores have been killed by the invading band of Fulani marauders.
Any attempt to criticise the infamous policies of the Abuja regime is always greeted with hostility by the Hausa-Fulani via hate speeches on the social media and these were the same people that vomited all manner of expletives when Jonathan was in power. Thus this creates a feeling as to whether Southerners are indeed a conquered people according to the late Saudauna.
Be that as it may, it is high time the Federal Government rebuilt confidence in the minds of the citizenry and took urgent steps to address the thorny issues threatening to tear the nation apart under the existing circumstances.
Only this morning, I read in a national daily the letter written by Arewa Youths to the Acting President on the need to allow Igbos have Biafra in spite of the peace meetings and initiatives by the Acting President to find a lasting solution to the ongoing tension that the quit order to Igbos has created in the country.
It is a thousand pities Nigeria’s sovereignty is being sacrificed on the altar of individual whims and caprices as individuals and groups emerge at will to foist their will on not only their supporters but on the whole country and hate speeches and expletives are employed in this regard which portends nothing but a serious danger to the people.
What is certain here is that the central authority is becoming paralysed by intrigues, maladministration, social upheavals and the gross incompetence of Nigeria’s governing party, the All Progressives Congress.
To the Biafra separatist movements, we must now turn. Although the agitation for Biafra did not start with the Buhari’s administration but the policies being implemented renewed the agitation this time with undiminished intensity.
The reason for this is not far-fetched. Southeasterners have complained of marginalisation which President Buhari has consistently paid deaf ears to and these ought not to be after all. The calls for a restructuring of the country which would have allowed every region to develop at its own pace has equally fallen on deaf ears. Recently, the National Leader of the ruling All Progressives’ Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, lent his voice to the barrage of voices to urgently restructure the country as the only way to end all agitations and save the country from imminent disintegration, Goodness knows if his call will make any impact on the Abuja regime.
No one tribe is greater than the other and no region must be allowed to assume the exalted position of an ‘OVERLORD’. Fortunately or unfortunately, this has been going on for quite sometime now which has given rise to ill-feelings and discontent nationwide.
While the writer joins forces and sympathises with Igbos and other minority tribes to denounce this obviously sad situation, I would enjoin my Igbo folks to remain calm in the face of every agonizing provocation via the use of diplomacy as obtains in civilised societies to fight this grave injustice on them and other minority tribes who have been caught in a similar web.
In doing this, there is, therefore, a compelling need to shun the use of expletives and hate speeches in order not to create room for another avoidable crisis rearing its ugly head on the ascending order of magnitude and the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra who commands nearly 75% loyalty of Igbo youths has so much to do in this regard.
I have often had to speak in person to a few IPOB leaders that I know on the need to discourage their followers on the use of hate speeches and expletives on the social media in the course of the ongoing agitation that has put the Nigeria on the line.
Hate speeches, for all I know, can trigger off a huge conflagration which will consume a whole country, the Rwanda genocide is a sad case in point.
The bomb does not detonate itself nor gun goes off its self but propelled by an external force and the external force is the aggrieved person who detonates or shoots it with malice aforethought.
What is, therefore, the need of fighting to restore Biafra via hate speeches and expletives capable of triggering off another war with devastating effects? Who are the Biafrans that will form the new nation if another war is fought that would annihilate and turn the region into a never-again-to be-inhabited heap of ruins? The present trend can not continue without sparking off another civil war. I repeat with all the emphasis at my regal command that the need to discourage the use of hate speeches is deemed absolutely necessary before we all find ourselves in dishonourable graves.
Written by Iyoha John Darlington, a social activist, political analyst and public commentator on national and global issues from Turin, Italy.